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Sunday, 28 October 2018

Ayam Cemani from Indonesia

Ayam Cemani from Indonesia: Health Benefits or Magical Power?

Chicken is certainly the most popular poultry in the world. Many people love it. However, did you ever head the term cemani chicken from Indonesia? Yes, there may be many chicken species, but cemani chicken is different, in not only physical characteristics but also the mystic and magic values behind it. The local community in Indonesia believes that cemani chicken has some properties and magical power in addition to its nutritional contents.

What Is Cemani Chicken from Indonesia? 

Actually, cemani  is a Sanskrit word, meaning really dark. Yes, cemani chicken is really black all over its body. It is actually a native chicken species from Indonesia. Some people even believe that the chicken has dark bones and black blood! Sundanese people call it Hayam Hideung, which was historically grown only by royal families.

The question is, “Why is the chicken so black?” Studies found that the chicken is fully black due to a unique genetic condition called fibromelanosis. The condition leads to cellular mutation that has certain benefits in the chicken’s body.  A Swedish scientist – Leif Anderson, found that the mutating gene was endothelin-3 (EDN-3). The gene affects the epidermis layer, thus resulting in black pigment that covers all parts of the chicken’s body.

Unfortunately, the chicken is increasingly rare. One of the reasons is limitation in the reproductive system. Decreasing population of cemani chicken is also partly attributed to illegal mining. In the 15th century, during the Golden Era of Majapahit Kingdom, benefits (factual or magical) of cemani chicken had been acknowledged.

That is why, some people call it Lamborghini of the chicken. This is a rare chicken species, that is why it can be very expensive. Can you imagine buying a chicken for more than one million Rupiah, while ordinary chicken commonly costs from Rp. 50.000 to Rp. 75.000?

Perceived Health Benefits of Cemani Chicken from Indonesia

Cemani chicken is special not only because of the fantastic price. It is also known to have some health benefits depsite several myths that surround them. Here are expected benefits of cemani chicken for your health:

  • Treating Sprained Muscle
    Cemani chicken is believed to contain a special oil, which can treats inner wounds and muscle problems like twister muscles. You can obtain the oil by boiling the chicken into thick broth. However, no scientific analysis had been conducted to confirm the contents and the health benefits of cemani chicken oil.
  • Enhancing Male Vitality
    The local community of Indonesia also believes that cemani chicken has some proprerties for male vitality. You can get enhanced sexual vitality by taking the chicken’s blood orally (ups....!). The chicken’s egg also have similar properties. Get optimum benefits by adding some drops of honey and kencur (kaempferia galanga).

Popular Myths on the Benefits of Cemani Chicken

Besides the perceived health benefits above, cemani chicken from Indonesia is also surrounded by a number of myths and magical stories. These are partly responsible for its decreasing population. Here are some of them:

  • Enhancing Fortune
    Can you change, or even enhance, your fortune by means of a chicken? It is hardly believable, right? However, many people believe so when it comes to cemani chicken. They believe that you can enhance your fortune only by storing an egg. Some people even believe that you can get good fortune just by growing the chicken in your house. This may sound mystic, but the truth is, the blacker the chicken is, the most expensive its price.
  • Supernatural Power
    Elder people said that royal families in the history grew cemani chicken since it can provides the king with supernatural power. It can serve a medium to transfer magical or supernatural power. Therefore, the local people believed that learning an occult science would be easier when you serve ayam cemani before. In fact, supernatural power is often related to illogical things. So, no scientific studies had supported this.
  • Preventing Evil Creature
    The local people believe that cemani chicken can help you avoid evil creature. This applies not only for adult people, but also for babies. Even though the benefits may be limited to myths, some local people believe them. So, how to use the chicken? Apply some drops of cemani chicken’s blood onto the baby’s head. To avoid evil creature in adults, you just need to put a feather of the chicken in your wallet
  • A Requirement for mystic rituals
    The black chicken is commonly used for mysic rituals in the traditional communities in Indonesia. For instance, building of a new hotel pr establishment of new business in Indonesia is often begin with mystic rituals. Cemani chicken is a common requirement, which is believed to bring good fortune. The most common parts used for customary and ritualistic ceremonies include the chicken meat, bones, and blood.

Traditional cultures of Indonesia consist of several customary ceremonies, like bersih desa, grebeg maulud, saketenan, and many more. The chicken is believed to have magical power, which can prevent the people from misfortune resulting from evil creatures.

Now the question is, “Does all cemani chicken bring fortune? All cemani chicken seems similar. In fact, the chicken can be classified into three based on the level of magical power it has:

  1. Cemani Widitra
    This type of cemani chicken is characterized by a kind of sweep on the neck, breast, and groin areas. This type of cemani chicken from Indonesia is believed to have gendam asmara (a magical power that makes others love you) and tolak bala (a magical power to prevent misfortune).
  2. Cemani Warastratama; this is the most common type used for traditional ceremonies.
  3. Cemani Kaikayi; this type of cemani chicken is characterized by black feathers with some blue flairs. It is believed to have magical power to refuse witchcraft.

There are still so many mysteries and controversies regarding cemani chicken from Indonesia. To some extent, the myths surrounding the chicken are contradictory to religious teaching. However, one thing for sure is that the chicken is increasingly more expensive. Besides the common belief on its benefits and magical power, the chicken is increasingly rare. It has limited reproductive system that leads to decreasing population.

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