Bakera, a herbal steam bath for postnatal care in Minahasa (Indonesia): documentation of the plants used and assessment of the method

J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 May 22;111(3):641-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2007.01.016. Epub 2007 Jan 19.


Bakera, a steam bath prepared with various plants, is a traditional method used in Minahasa (North Sulawesi, Indonesia) for recuperation after childbirth. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 midwives and 166 mothers in different villages of Minahasa, in order to document the preparation and plants used for the bakera. Overall, the use of 60 different plant species for the bakera was recorded. Among the 10 most frequently cited bakera plants, eight are essential oil plants, which are usually cultivated in the kitchen gardens and often used as spices. The therapeutic effects of thermotherapy and aromatherapy contribute to the effectiveness of the bakera. Thermotherapy soothes symptoms such as muscular strain, heaviness in the limbs, edema, loss of appetite, and constipation, whereas the essential oils of the plants used have an immuno-stimulant, antiseptic, and antiphlogistic effect. If applied under the guidance of an experienced person, during the late childbed, the bakera can be regarded as an effective and safe method for recuperation after child birth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aromatherapy
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced
  • Indonesia
  • Medicine, East Asian Traditional
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwifery
  • Oils, Volatile / adverse effects
  • Oils, Volatile / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Postnatal Care*
  • Postpartum Period
  • Puerperal Disorders / therapy*
  • Steam Bath*


  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Extracts