By Jan Garanoz
If you do a search on Google, Yahoo, or MSN for tongkat ali or wholesale tongkat ali what you get as results unfortunately is not primarily the websites of businesses that are genuine wholesale traders of tongkat ali.
What you get are plenty of references to websites of people whose expertise is not tongkat ali but search engine optimization. Such website optimizers rely on the fact that they can muscle themselves into top search engine rankings, and when you order through them, they look for a genuine supplier from whom they can demand a substantial commission. Or they only start trading in a certain line after they received the first order.
Buyer beware! If you want to buy wholesale quantities of tongkat ali or tongkat ali extract, you should do so from a genuine tongkat ali wholesale company (such as Sumatra Pasak Bumi with websites www.tongkatali.org and www.pasakbumi.com), not from an Internet wizard.
There are a number of good reasons for this.
For example, if your company produces its own extract and the supplier you are looking for should deliver whole root or chipped root, then what you want is properly dried material. If you buy root by the kilogram than the material should be fully dried because you do not want to pay for water content. Roots should be dried at least 3 months before being shipped.
If your company purchased from a source at a presumably cheap per-kilogram price, check for the water content! This is easily done with a household microwave oven. Take a certain amount of root and determine its weight. Then place it in a microwave oven and heat several times for about 10 minutes. In between heating, wipe of the evaporating water and let the root cool down outside the microwave oven. Then determine the new weight to know for how much water you have paid.
Drying fresh tongkat ali root will reduce its weight by more than half. If you do not buy whole root but chipped root (as many buyers with own extracting facilities do), there is another very good reason why the material should be properly dried. If the material is shipped by container (en route for three to five weeks), you want the tongkat ali to arrive without being infested by fungi. The incidence rate of fungal infestation is directly proportional to the moisture content of the stock that is being shipped. Properly dried and packed chipped root is not prone to fungal infestation, but if you purchase cheaply, what you may obtain may not be properly dried material.
This causes you a double loss. First, you pay for water content; second you get inferior merchandise that is fungus-infested. If you buy wholesale quantities and if you consider certain suppliers, request proof that they are a genuine wholesale company: let them provide photos of their stock and of their operations.
You can also determine whether you are dealing with a genuine wholesaler by looking at the address of people offering bulk tongkat ali. There is worldwide only one country where the small tongkat ali tree is still common: Indonesia.
Thailand, where it originally also grew, has suffered deforestation to a degree that has made it necessary for the government to impose an almost total export stop for wood products unless an exporter can supply proof that the raw material has originally been imported from abroad.
Malaysia, where tongkat ali is most popular, has declared the tree a protected plant. No Malaysian company can have a warehouse with a substantial stock of tongkat ali root. They’d run the risk of being busted for trade in a protected species.
Tongkat ali from a plantation? There are moves in Malaysia and Indonesia to plant tongkat ali in plantations. But the tongkat ali tree takes some 10 years to grow before it can be harvested, and there are no 10-year old tongkat ali plantations, not in Thailand, not in Malaysia, and not even in Indonesia.
Most tongkat ali in Indonesia originates from the Aceh province in North Sumatra where you still find large areas of wild forests. The big logging companies have been kept out by the uncertain political situation. They don’t want to move expensive equipment into the area that will then only be attacked and burned down by rebels. Thus, in Aceh you do find large areas of forests with thousands and thousands of huge trees that are more than a hundred years old. The small tongkat ali tree grows best in the shade of big trees.
It is harvested by tribal people without any heavy machinery, and thus without impact on the surrounding vegetation. The tribal people use the forests in a sustainable manner, and, apart from collecting tongkat ali root, also extract resins from big trees, such as damar gum.