Seemingly Insignificant, The Bagflower Shrub Comes to a Respiratory Rescue [Healing with Gurah]

Clerodendrum serratum (Photo credit:

Clerodendrum serratum, a species of Bagflower, or also known as glorybower, commonly found in Southeast Asia especially Indonesian regions, went unnoticed until the scientific world began to put more emphasis on alternative healing to substitute the high-cost modern medicines and practices. Locally known as srigunggu, the plant’s medicinal history goes back to the early 1900, when someone named “Marzuki”, who lived in Bantul, Central Java, developed a traditional healing mechanism called gurah using extracts of the plant roots.

What is Gurah?

Literally means to cleanse, gurah makes use of extracts of srigunggu roots to clean breathing passage including the nose and the throat. Traditionally, the plant roots are soaked in water and dried before they are ground until foams are produced. The resulting liquids are subsequently strained to obtain a clear substance, to which boiled water is added. Drops of this liquid mixture are what conventional gurah practitioners insert into their patients’ nostril.

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When the herb mixture takes effect, patient typically undergoes an about two-hour process of excreting excessive amount of mucus from both their nose and mouth. During this rather gruesome therapy, a masseuse usually performs massage to help relax the patient and relieve the pain.

Due to the large amount of fluid loss (from the mucus excreted), patients are required to drink plenty of water before and after treatment.

Who is it for?

At the time it was developed, gurah was solely meant to help qari – Qurán reciters particularly those who participate in Qurán reciting competitions – recite clearly. As civilisation progresses, nationwide singers, puppet masters, public speakers and government and military officials become regular patients at various gurah centres across Indonesia.

More importantly, many others subscribe to this method of treatment upon testimonials of previous patients that regular gurah therapy has also proven to cure various respiratory diseases such as sinusitis, rhinitis, bronchitis, asthma and other respiratory problems including those due to air pollution, nicotine contamination and smoking.

Sinden, the Javanese traditional singer, subscribes to gurah therapy to help maintain clarity of her voice (Photo credit:

Modern gurah: Gruesome? Not at all!

Once scientific researchers started to study and confirm the effectiveness of gurah to cure respiratory diseases, they have also begun to look at ways to make the procedure less gruesome and less painful than it used to be. Hence, various gurah products come to surface. From gurah syrup, capsules, to gurah stick for external usage.

My son has been coughing for almost a week. However, one day after we began to give him a spoonful of gurah syrup three times a day, his cough was completely cured.

Containing srigunggu extracts as the main ingredient, gurah syrup and capsules offer similar positive outcome without patients going through the exhausting ordeal of excreting mucus for hours. Instead of excreting mucus immediately via the nose and mouth, these medicines dissolve mucus in the body and excrete them via sweats and urine.

In addition, these herbal products may not only contain one ingredient. They are, in fact, usually mixed with other medicinal herbs such as habbatussauda (nigella sativa), honey, turmeric and galangal extracts, cinnamon and ginger extracts, and many more for even more encompassing benefits.

reduced rhinitis


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