Are Halal Herbs and Herbal Medicines Consumed? This is the MUI explanation


Herbs and herbal medicines are often an alternative choice besides taking chemical drugs. However, not all herbs and herbal medicines are halal.

Jamu has long been used as herbal medicine to treat various diseases. Moreover, in Indonesia, many herbal concoctions are intended to maintain health as well as treat diseases with herbal ingredients.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, herbal medicine is on the rise again. Many people look for herbal concoctions to strengthen their immune system to prevent exposure to viruses. Moreover, if you look at the raw materials that come from natural ingredients, herbal medicine is believed to have milder side effects than chemical drugs.

Even though they come from natural ingredients, are herbs and herbal medicines guaranteed to be halal?

Herbal Medicine Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto/marilyna

Reporting from Halal MUI (28/2) most herbs or herbal medicines produced in Indonesia utilize a variety of plants and spices that are believed to have many benefits, such as ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, and so on. Basically, these plants or spices are included in the list of non-critical products, aka halal. However, it will be a different story if these materials undergo processing.

To determine whether a herbal medicine product is halal or not, it is necessary to first confirm the raw materials, especially for mass-produced herbal medicine. Herbal medicine is also usually mixed with other ingredients that may come from animals. So it must be ensured that the mixed ingredients come from halal animals slaughtered according to sharia.

It should also be noted that there are herbs that use a mixture of ingredients from the organs of wild animals. So that its halal status can be doubted, or even become haram for consumption for Muslims.

Ir. Muti Arintawati, M.Sc., Deputy Director of LPPOM MUI, explained that there are herbal medicines from China, which are widely used for patients after major surgery. For example, for mothers after cesarean section, or patients with appendicitis surgery. That said, consuming herbs or traditional Chinese medicine can speed up wound recovery.

“After reading the ingredients carefully, it turns out that herbs or medicines called herbs also contain animal ingredients. Among them are snake blood, crocodile tangkur, tiger nails, bear liver, and so on,” said Muti.

Apart from raw materials, another thing to consider is capsules for packaging herbal medicine. The capsule shell material is generally made of gelatin, and most gelatin is made from animals.

“Until now, there is no producer that produces collagen commercially in Indonesia. Nearly 60% of the world’s use of collagen and gelatin comes from pigs,” said Dr. Mala Nurimala, S.Pi., M.Sc., Lecturer of the Department of Aquatic Products Technology, Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences, IPB University as well as a researcher at the Halal Science Center of IPB.

Herbal medicine production facilities are also noteworthy. “Some companies use third-party facilities. This third party may receive orders not only from one company. This means, one factory can produce for ten companies,” explained Muti.

JamuHerbal Medicine Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto/marilyna

Furthermore, Muti explained that there is a possibility in one factory there are products made from halal, some contain unclean ingredients. If contamination occurs, it can cause products that were previously halal to become contaminated with najis, so that the law becomes non-halal.

Based on the guidance of the Qur’an and Sunnah, it is actually very easy to determine the halalness of a drug. This is especially true for herbs and herbal medicines, where all plants (except those that are harmful) are guaranteed to be halal for consumption.

However, the involvement of rapidly evolving technology and free trade make this assessment difficult. There are many aspects that must be met and reviewed by experts before traditional medicines and herbs are declared halal.

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