Into The Heart of Borneo The Origin of Kratom

A remotely located long house where for centuries people have lived together in harmony.
Some of us are born with a natural need to go out and find adventure. Its in the blood. Maybe its some nomadic gene from our hunter and gathering past.

A yearning to discover first hand what is out there no matter how hard and far it may be or the trail will take you. To be wild and willing to go where ever that adventure takes you…

This is in a way the greatest freedom there is. This is a tribute for those sorts of people like, my Uncle Michael in the photo above taken in the early 70s in Borneo.
There are not to many people around today or then who have ventured through so deep and long up the snaking rivers surrounded by dense jungles swarming. The jungles then were so thick with life and the unknown where you hear unknown sounds and large insects can be mistaken for small birds they are so large! He did over a couple decades a hundred trips and sometimes was gone for months as he searched for something of the soul only feels and which words can not define since it is more felt then explainable. His hobby was buying antiques on these trips but the real treat was getting to know and learn about the nomadic tribes and cultures of the Dayak head hunters among many others.

These were the true jungle nomads who have known about kratom and other natural medicinal cures for millennia. These are the Dayak tribes who have live off of some simple farming but to the most part by hunting game and gathering other edible foliage and medicine in a sustainable way for thousands of years. Some of the more commonly known medicinal plants they harvested are kratom and Tongkat Ali.

The above Dayak tribal person above all have the same straight black and bowl shaped hair haircuts and they pluck their eye brows and any other facial hairs. From an early age their ears are stretched to be able to hold intricate and interesting ear plugs. This is their tribal ethnic look and is what is fashionably beautiful.
On long expeditions through treacherous and steep jungle trails my uncle told me how they would chew the fresh picked kratom leaves to suppress hunger and also for its mild stimulating properties to help sooth pain and give them more energy. As kratom is high in antioxidants it is believed to strengthen the immune system. In these environments when your moving you need every advantage you can get.
Seeing how the forests and tribes used to be and the reality of how they are now almost completely destroyed sends alarm bells every time I go on my own adventures into these areas now. It is part of my mission to not only find the highest quality kratom leaves I can, but to also educate and employ locals how to properly harvest in a ethical way to preserve whats left of these forests. My wish would be if only we can find more value in other plants like kratom this most amazing biodiversity could be around still for future generations. Unfortunately the reality is that instead its mostly gone now along with the Dayak tribes and been replaced by sterile palm oil plantations. On my last trip we drove for six hours straight and didn’t see even a single bird. We stopped for a pee break along the way on top of a rolling hills. You could follow the plantation lines rippling on and on stretching out to the horizon. The palm oil trees have these ugly broken palm leaves and yukky looking fruit pods that are later pressed for their oils. These fruits sort of gleam with the light like oil does but over dirty water. The trunks of these trees are so acidic that everything around their bases in bleached orange in color. In what was once the most bio diverse jungle, now nothing lives here. No birds perch in the leaves and not even ants dome around the trunks. The sun was shining brightly this moment but something just felt so wrong. There was no life besides these ugly trees for many hours yet to drive in any one direction.

Help support us by buying our products so we can at least help out some areas by giving back and supporting our farmers maintain the culture and traditions they have enjoyed for millennia.
Note: All Photos are by curtesy Michael Palmieri. The writing is my own based on my own visits and recollections of the many stories I have heard all my life growing up in this amazing and diverse country.
Wayan Nolan

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