The Role of Sumbawa Oil in Developing Sumbawa Island as a Destination for Traditional Health Tourism Based on Sasambo Culture


The development of tourism is currently a priority for governments in Indonesia, especially the Sumbawa Island. Tourism begins to glance at other sectors or areas not only about the natural scenery but also begins to extend to traditional health tourism by taking advantage of local culturally based local medicinal plants. Considering in Indonesia, especially the Sumbawa Island have an abundance of medicinal plants. It has been promoted as one of the first steps in promoting tourism. The effort and measures involved the use of Sumbawa Oil that is known to have many medicinal properties and to be popular in the community because it has proved capable of being a cure. Sumbawa oil is one of the superior products of the Sumbawa Island which is produced by local communities by utilizing the surrounding natural resources. This oil is not just a traditional medicine but also a local culture obtained from ancestors. All production processes, from the selection of raw materials to processing are carried out based on knowledge from generation to generation. Some producers even have traditional rituals performed during processing. This traditional ritual is believed to be able to increase the medicinal properties of Sumbawa oil. Sumbawa Oil could be a flagship for by-products and traditional medicated educationers that could boost the desire of tourists to visit the Sumbawa Island.

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Hakim, A. , , J. , Idrus, S. and Ganevo, M. (2021) The Role of Sumbawa Oil in Developing Sumbawa Island as a Destination for Traditional Health Tourism Based on Sasambo Culture. Natural Resources, 12, 250-256. doi: 10.4236/nr.2021.128018.

1. Introduction

The world of tourism industry has started to appear efforts in developing health tourism, especially traditional health tourism in accordance with the tourism area itself. Health tourism is an alternative tourism activity with the main objective of improving the quality of their health by utilizing tourism facilities [1]. This is an alternative to developing other tourism products that are not only based on nature or views but also take advantage of the natural resources in the area itself with a local cultural approach. Medicinal plants are defined as plants that have certain properties or substances that can be used to treat or cure certain diseases. Medicinal plants are plants that can be used as medicine, either intentionally to be planted or grow wild in nature. These plants are used by the community to be formulated and served as a useful medicine for healing [2]. According to Siswanto [3], medicinal plants are plants or parts of plants that can be used as ingredients for traditional medicine or herbal medicine, which can be used as starting materials for medicinal raw materials. The same thing was also conveyed by Nasruddin [4] which defines medicinal plants as plants that have medicinal properties or can be estimated to have healing properties as medicine and their properties have been known from the results of scientific studies which have been clinically proven to be beneficial for health and based on previous people’s stories or its users. Based on this, what is meant by traditional medicine is a concoction derived from traditional plants that has medicinal properties. According to the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia in Prananingrum [5] what is meant by traditional medicine is finished medicine or ingredients derived from natural ingredients in the form of plants, animals, minerals or even a mixture of these ingredients that are used traditionally for treatment based on experience and trials for their use. The fact is that the most widely used traditional medicinal ingredients are derived from plants compared to animals and minerals, so that the term for traditional medicine is identical to being called a medicinal plant.

The health tourism industry is estimated to generate annual revenue of up to US $60 billion, this contributes to tourism growth in a year by as much as 20% [6]. The development of the tourism sector development itself is part of the priority targets in the work program of the President and Vice President Jokowi-Ma’ruf in the 2019-2024 period. Based on this, not only the development of tourism infrastructure will be intensified, but also local empowerment is needed in increasing tourism and the local economy by developing traditional health tourism based on local culture. One form of efforts to develop a traditional health tourism destination on the island of Sumbawa based on the Sasambo (Sasak, Samawa, Mbojo) culture is to use Sumbawa Oil as a product of traditional health tourism itself.

The great opportunity in the untapped health tourism industry in Indonesia can be done by expanding its business enhancement in developing its potential traditional health tourism through 4 ways, namely: 1) increasing the number of foreign tourists countries taking traditional health tours to Indonesia; 2) deter domestic tourists to take traditional health tourism abroad. It can be done by improving the quality of traditional health tourism in the country; 3) increasing the length of stay of foreign tourist visits in Indonesia; 4) increase spending tourists on each travel thematic pattern of traditional health tourism other than that the development of traditional health tourism is expected to be able to create a multiplier effect to foster interest in investing in traditional health tourism services getting higher in Indonesia. Thus the value of economic benefits is driven by the traditional health tourism sector will contribute significantly to national development, improving the quality of traditional health services and community welfare [7].

This is in line with the form of efforts to utilize medicinal plants in Indonesia, especially the island of Sumbawa, which is still rich in nature with medicinal plants that can be processed into Sumbawa oil with extraordinary properties in helping the community’s traditional medicine. The use of medicinal plants to cure disease and treat health has been carried out for centuries based on stories and uses passed down from the ancestors of each family. From historical records, in general, people understand many things about plants that can be useful as medicine and how to use them. Plants which are the raw material for traditional medicine are scattered throughout Indonesia, including the island of Sumbawa. In Indonesia’s tropical forests, there are 30,000 species of plants. Of these, around 9600 species are known to have medicinal properties, but only 200 species have been used as raw materials in the traditional medicine industry [8]. Medicinal plants are plants that have medicinal properties and are used for healing and prevention of disease. The understanding of the nature of medicine is that it contains active substances that function to treat certain diseases or if it does not contain certain active substances but contains the resulting effect/synergy of various substances that function to heal. Medicinal plants are defined as partial plant species, intact plants and/or plant exudates used as medicine, ingredients, or herbs [9].

2. Methodology

The data collection method in this research was carried out through field studies, interviews, and literature studies. Field studies were carried out in 28 Sumbawa oil producing villages and 15 potential tourism areas for the integration of sumbawa oil which is the priority of the West Nusa Tenggara provincial government based on Regional Regulation No. 9 (1989). There were nine on Lombok Island and six on Sumbawa Island. The tourism area on the island of Lombok consists of Sire, Gili Air, Senggigi, Suranadi, Gili Gede, Selong Blanak, Dusun Sade, Kuta, Tanjung A’an, Mount Rinjani, Gili Sulat, Gili Indah. The tourism area on the island of Sumbawa consists of Maluk Beach, Pulao Moyo, Mount Tambora, Hu’u Beach, Bima Bay, and Sape. Interviews to determine the potential for Sumbawa oil to be integrated into tourist sites were conducted on 124 people from Sumbawa oil-producing villages and tourism priority locations of West Nusa Tenggara Province. The method used for literature review is display, reduction, and conclusion in order to get the role of Sumbawa oil in developing Sumbawa Island as a traditional health tourism destination based on the culture of Sasambo (Sasak, Samawa, Mbojo).

3. Results and Discussion

The development of plants or traditional medicines can be used as superior products in increasing tourism in traditional health. This is an effort to increase the local economy based on local culture as well as being able to utilize and introduce the existing natural wealth. Indirectly, this is also able to change the perspective of the community that tourism is not just a sight that they can enjoy but also local products in the form of cultural-based traditional health which are very beneficial for its users. Health Tourism brings a very promising trend in the future, especially traditional health based on culture, Wong (2014) revealed that the global health tourism industry is predicted to generate revenues of USD 38 to USD 55 billion annually [10]. America has provided projections of revenue that will be generated from this health tourism sector, which will reach US $ 80 billion per year in 2017 [11]. This value shows that a country like America has also seriously worked on the sector this and it is hoped that it will be able to uphold the economy of this superpower. This also means that globalization in the health sector is an advantage for America in the tourism industry. Therefore, in an effort to improve traditional health tourism destinations based on the culture of Sasambo on the island of Sumbawa, Sumbawa should be able to be supported by Sumbawa oil which is known by the general public to have extraordinary medicinal properties.

Sumbawa oil is one of Indonesia’s original traditional medicines, to be precise it comes from Sumbawa as the oil’s name. This Sumbawa oil is believed to be able to be a medicine both internally and externally. This oil is made from various types of plants native to the Sumbawa region. This oil is not only known locally but has also been known to foreign countries. In addition, Sumbawa oil has also been officially registered with the Indonesian Ministry of Health [12]. Sumbawa oil is believed to have properties in reducing the symptoms of rheumatism, sprains, lumbago, wounds, ulcers, burns, toothaches, mouth sores, increasing male vitality, treating insect bites and accelerating the recovery of postpartum mothers. This Sumbawa oil is used by the general public to reduce pain and swelling in bones, joints, muscles and accelerate the healing of various kinds of wounds. The way to use this Sumbawa oil is by rubbing it on the part that has an abnormality or drinking it to get its systemic effect. In addition to this, Sumbawa oil also has properties as a wind laxative (carminative), seizure reliever (antispasmodic), fever (antipretic) and an appetite enhancer (stomakic) [13]. Based on the promotional brochure for sumbawa oil distributed by Mr. Abdullah, it is explained that sumbawa oil has benefits as a topical medicine for pain such as muscle pain, rheumatism, lumbago and back pain, stiff pains, wounds (in the form of burns, abrasions or even hot water), fractures, ulcers, itching, being bitten by venomous animals, as a drinking medicine to cure chest pain, shortness of breath, stomach and heartburn, appetite enhancer, medicine for beriberi and for women after childbirth (to clean the blood). In addition, there is another brochure produced by Mr. Sanapiah Tembo informing that sumbawa oil has many benefits, such as for curing diabetes, jaundice, hemorrhoids, rheumatism, ulcers, stomach aches, lumbago, stiff pains, coughing, vomiting blood, fever/chills, maintains stamina, lack of lust, drug or food poisoning, whiplash, stings from venomous animals, itching and is very good for women to drink before and after childbirth [14].

Sumbawa oil contains a component of Cymbopogonis folium [13]. The Cymbopogonis folium component contains geraniol and citronellal. In addition, sumbawa oil also contains flavonoids and polyphenols in it and contains saponins and tannins. Saponins are surfactant compounds, which are hypocholesterolemic, immunostimulatory and anti-carcinogenic. Saponin anticarcinogenic mechanisms include direct antioxidant and cytotoxic effects on cancer cells. Saponins are considered capable of inhibiting colon cancer growth efforts and making cholesterol levels normal. Saponins can be consumed at 10 - 200 Mg per day according to the type of food consumed [14]. Based on the results of an interview with one of the meatball traders in West Sumbawa Regency with the initials A, it was stated that at that time A’s brother who was making meatballs was accidentally scalded right on his hand, then A poured the Sumbawa oil directly into the scalded hand.. After this, it turned out that there were no scars on the hands of A’s brother and after that the family of A always kept the sumbawa oil as a form of traditional health applied to the family of A. In addition, A also recommended this sumbawa oil to A’s family which is in East Java by making Sumbawa oil as a souvenir. Based on this, the family of A was impressed and believed that Sumbawa oil had extraordinary properties.

Apart from A, an interview was also conducted with one of the students who came from Lombok with the initials R. R stated that sumbawa oil is commonly used as a topical medicine and wound healing, it is also used by the whole family by always keeping a stock of sumbawa oil in her house and used as souvenirs for families who come from outside the region. This is done because the R family believes that sumbawa oil has good healing properties as well as traditional medicine that the R family can rely on. In addition, R also feels that this sumbawa oil is very worthy to be recommended to others and is ready to promote this Sumbawa oil well in Indonesia peers, or in certain activities that are followed at regional, national and international levels.

Tourism that is growing rapidly in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), especially on the island of Sumbawa, can increase its efforts in developing the island of Sumbawa as a destination for traditional health tourism based on the culture of Sasambo by utilizing Sumbawa oil which has clear properties and is known by many people, both local and outside the region to foreign countries. This can be done by making sumbawa oil as souvenirs and allowing tourists to try to see first hand the process of making sumbawa oil and try it firsthand and feel its efficacy by proof of itself. The development of MSMEs and industrialization in NTB Province must also be able to prioritize the development of Sumbawa oil as one of the superior products of traditional health tourism based on the Sasambo culture in increasing tourist destinations to the island of Sumbawa.

4. Conclusion

Sumbawa oil with all the properties and beliefs of its users can play a role in increasing the traditional health tourism destination based on the Sasambo culture on the island of Sumbawa. Sumbawa oil is considered capable of attracting attention with the benefits it provides and is able to attract tourists to believe that traditional medicine can be a treatment or cure with relatively small side effects. This is also considered capable of being a form of increasing tourism on the island of Sumbawa and supporting the local economy based on its Sasambo culture. In addition, this can also be used as an educational tour related to traditional health by utilizing the Sumbawa oil that exists in the Sumbawa island. Traditional health tourism must be able to become one of the leading priorities with the advantages of Sumbawa oil as a tourism product.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.


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