This "magical" oil is a must for any household, Indonesian or not. It originates from Makassar, Sulawesi, where it is manufactured from medicinal herbs. Tawon ("bee") is the brand name.
Minyak tawon is claimed to have anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties (warning: this claim is based on the collective wisdom of generations of Indonesians, but it is not verified by the FDA), and so it is believed to alleviate skin problems such as insect bites, acnes, and boils.
When applied to skin (with a little massage), it is claimed to relax muscles and increase blood circulation. Its warming effect helps people cope with the common cold (think Vicks Vaporub without the sticky goo).
When you have a stomach ache or catch a cold ("masuk angin"), and you want to let the cold or "angin jelek" out of your body, you can rub the oil on your chest and stomach, or for an intense Indonesian treatment, do the "kerokan" using a coin dipped in this oil.
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