Nothing has changed in 500 years. Like in the 15th century when the Dutch discovered that these Eastern islands were a treasure trove of useful aromatic plant species, Indonesia still today is an incredibly rich source for herbs of therapeutic value.
Take for example phyllanthus urinaria (called rumput menir or meniran in Indonesian). This amazing herb has been known for hundreds of years to cure kidney and gallbladder stones, and at the same time help those with liver disease.
And the efficacy of both applications have been proven in numerous scientific studies. But this is not all. The benefit phyllanthus urinaria provides in cases of liver damage is mostly due to the plants anti-viral activity.
Now, there are not many strongly anti-viral compounds at the hand of mankind. We have managed to discover and manufacture antibiotics to fight bacteria, but against viral diseases, we are almost weaponless.
Take HIV or the various hepatitis viruses. Or take the simple flue, or the bird flue. Or herpes. There are some pharmaceutical products that are prescribed by physicians but typically, while they can provide some relief, their curing effect is by far not as dramatic as that of antibacterial or antifungal medications.
And many antiviral products of the Western pharmaceutical industry have disturbing, or worse, side effects. Unlike artificial pharmaceutical products, phyllanthus urinaria is practically free of side effects.
So, why is phyllanthus urinaria, or meniran, not a standard treatment for HIV-AIDS or hepatitis? Well, there is one substantial disadvantage of phyllanthus urinaria. The US-based and multinational pharmaceutical corporations haven't found a way to make money out of phyllanthus urinaria.
The herb grows in remote Asian tropical regions, mostly in the sea breeze climate of the Indonesian islands. The herb is also found in Southern India (which, by the way, shares a common oceanic border with Western Indonesia).
So far, there are no plantations for phyllanthus urinaria. Nowhere in the world. And the herb would not survive the seasonal weather of the US farm belt. Until now, phyllanthus urinaria, or meniran, is collected primarily by Indonesian practitioners of traditional medicine, so-called dukun, and by young people in remote tribal areas who help them. Even though Western scientists have proven in peer-reviewed studies (published in the most renown scientific journals) that phyllanthus urinaria could provide definite relief and even a cure in viral disease, this magnificent herb has never really been available to patients in the West.