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What is Gurah?

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  • Written By: Jillian O Keeffe
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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Gurah is a herbal treatment originating from the island of Java in Indonesia. The treatment involves rinsing out the mouth and respiratory tract with a mixture of herbs. Gurah also refers to other cleansing practices using herbal medicine, such as vaginal cleansing. It also can also be used to refer to capsules containing the herbal mixture.

To make gurah, a practitioner grinds and powders certain herbs and mixes them together. This herbal mixture uses the root of the sirgunggu tree, also known by the scientific name Cherodentum serratum, as an essential part of the mixture. This root contains the substance saponin, which has soapy, foamy properties. The root might increase mucus production and enlarge blood vessels.

The gurah practitioner then drops the herbal mixture, or the root powder alone, into the nostrils of the person who is undergoing the procedure. The person swallows the powder and waits about 10 minutes. The powder is to encourage the production of mucus and tears, and this part of the procedure lasts about 90 minutes, during which the patient is massaged.

The mucus produced during the treatment is thought by practitioners to contain impurities and toxins. Therefore, the treatment is recommended for sinusitis, asthma and other respiratory problems as well as for people who want to improve the tone of their voice. Migraines, allergies and smokers are also treated using this method.

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There is no evidence that gurah treatment works to cleanse the respiratory tract. On the other hand, there is no evidence that the treatment is harmful. Javanese medical researchers have been investigating the treatment for benefits and side effects.

The term "gurah" also is used to refer to the herbal mixture in the form of capsules. These capsules are available for sale on the Internet and are claimed to have many beneficial effects, but there is little research on the treatment and the herbs used, so any claims should be approached with caution. In addition, no gurah remedy has been approved or tested by the United States Food and Drug Administration, which is an important organization in the field of global drug approval.

The concept of gurah can also extend to other cleansing treatments such as vaginal cleansing. This type of cleansing uses herbal jamu mixtures, but there has been little research conducted on this practice. Vaginal cleansing might increase the likelihood of sexually transmitted disease transmission by altering the natural state of the vaginal environment.

Gurah is believed to have been created in the 1940s by a teacher in an Islamic boarding school. The aim was to give students clearer voices to read the Koran. A village called Giriloyo in the areas where the treatment was first invented is now a major center for the treatment in Java.

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