Thing Indonesians Dislike: Masuk Angin

Masuk angin is a native Indonesian illness that I found hard to described. Masuk itself means enter, while angin means wind. Thus, it is a condition where the body has too much gas and causing diarrhea, burp, vomit, trouble to fart and hiccups. I talked to a doctor and discussed about this illness and according to her,  masuk angin is not a medicine term. In medicine field, it is called common cold. Though Indonesians are concern about this illness, they never bother to ask doctor to cure them. Most of the time, Indonesia self-diagnose the illness and decide the best medicine to cure it.


One can prevent the wind to get into the body by avoiding staying late (outside the house). If staying outside couldn’t avoided, then one must wear a jacket, a thick one. Standing in front of fan is also believed to be caused of masuk angin, so no matter how hot the weather is, staying away from the fan is a must.  Some people also blame room with AC, gladly,  I am not one of them.

Another secret to prevent masuk angin is to put thick jacket when riding a motorcycle. The jacket will not only prevent masuk angin but also reduce the change of getting dark from the sunlight. Parents also forbid their kids to drink cold water and playing water. However, they could go to swimming pool. And finally, one should always avoid walking under the rain and immediately grab an ojek payung. Let the ojek payung guy gets masuk angin.

Transition season, between dry to wet is often considered as the season where people easily get sick, so a real Indonesian would always staying away from the things mentioned above.



There are few traditional ways to cure masuk angin, including the famous Kerokan. It is the action to draw with pressure, using coin and balsam on the back, neck and also upper arms.


picture was randomly taken from the internet

Is it painful? I do not know, because I have never experience it and not interested to. However, I read that it is dangerous, because the friction between coin and the skin might causing wound. Hence, open invitation for bacteria and virus to have a party in the body. I am sure though that this is a very rare case. Kerokan also widened the blood vessels, that is why the skin becomes red.

Something Warm

Indonesians believe that masuk angin should be cured with something warm. So apart from drinking ginger, people rub oil to their body. The common oil that people use is cajuputi or telon. We likes oil so much that after a bath, a kid will be rub with telon oil to keep them warm.

Tolak angin

Tolak angin is a herbal liquid that use to combat masuk angin. I’ve only known this herb couple year ago, when I suddenly thrown up. A dear friend diagnosed that I had masuk angin and introduced me to the magical tolak angin. I love it so much that I brought two boxes to Ireland.

In its advertising, foreigners from all over the world  thanks Indonesia for inventing tolak angin. Two weeks ago, someone googled (and was directed to my blog) about:  bule minum tolak angin. This person might be watched the ads but did not believe that bule take tolak angin. I was thinking to ask Mr. G to drink tolak angin for fund, but then I found out that Abang Mike, a colleague and also a friend, likes tolak angin.



So meet Mikel everyone, a foreigner bule who enjoys Tolak Angin especially when he has too much gas in his stomach (It’s call masuk angin Mikel). Anyway, Abang Mike isn’t the only person who enjoys Tolak Angin because her mom enjoys it as well. Well done Mama Mikel, we are so proud of you!


How do you cure masuk angin?

Disclaimer: the view expressed in this post doesn’t represent the view of neither Indonesians nor bules. Author is neither marketing nor a buzzer of tolak angin. Should the marketing of Tolak Angin decides to send few boxes to the author and Mikel, both of them will welcome it with open arms.