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Tongkat ali and butea superba (red kwao kruea) to enhance testosterone and sexuality

There are only two herbal extracts in the world that have a proven track record of enhancing testosterone and human sexuality: tongkat ali and butea superba.

Both of them are Southeast Asian. Because ethnobotany forms cultures, the two herbals may even have contributed to the reputation of Southeast Asia as a sexual paradise.

Read here why butea superba and tongkat ali should be alternated.

Tongkat ali is the better known of the two. The worldwide tongkat ali wave started at the end of the past millennium, and our company, Sumatra Pasak Bumi, has been at the forefront of propagating this herbal in the Western World.

Sumatra Pasak Bumi warehouse

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One of the tongkat ali root warehouses of Sumatra Pasak Bumi

While most popular in Malaysia (where even Nestle enriches its instant coffee with it), tongkat ali is actually found all over Southeast Asia, from Indonesia to Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam.

coffee brand

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Nestle's tongkat ali instant coffee in Malaysia

Being a botanist-managed company, we know Southeast Asian rainforests like no-one else. And as we have been exploring other Southeast Asian herbals in the course of 20 years, we have been aware of the Thai use of butea superba for a long time. Thorough scientific research, however, has been conducted only in the past few years, and it has produced impressive results, indeed.

And while most studies on tongkat ali have been done on rodents 1 2 3 or was in-vitro, a comparatively high proportion of the butea superba research has focused on humans from the beginning. 4 5 6

Furthermore, alleged human studies into tongkat ali have been tainted by the fact that some Malaysian university personnel has a foot in the tongkat ali market, and is trying to gain a competitive edge, has published studies on their own brand in Asian journals of questionable importance. This is worse than advertorials or lobbyist legislation. Because relevant scientific research ought to concentrate on pharmaceutically active pythochemicals in general. As soon as scientists start to limit their research on a commercial item, rather than a plant, their scientific credibility becomes clouded.

The tongkat ali market is difficult anyway, because it is crowded with scammers and frauds. Our company, Sumatra Pasak Bumi, has been the inventor of 1:200 extract, using our own production process. Alas, we are primarily a sourcing and production company, not a retail outfit. Thus, we have attractive wholesale discounts by any standard, and up to now, some 90 percent of our output goes to wholesale buyers. But we sell a genuine product, and most of our expenses are in manual sourcing in forests, and therefore, our prices cannot be as cheap as that for Chinese factories for synthetic powders. Our distributors typically calculate with a markup of about 20 percent, which is a justified margin.

But some Internet marketers who have been retailing our products over the past two decades have fallen to the get-rich-quick lure. Instead of continuing to offer our genuine tongkat ali product, they switch to cheap tribulus terrestris powder while all along claiming to sell tongkat ali 1:200 extract. Or they just buy white stearic acid powder enriched with illegal phosphodiesterase inhibitor analogues from Chinese garage laboratories. Such fake medications are usually channeled to the West via Singapore, which is unique in that anything sold as dietary supplements does not need pre-distribution approval from the government, even when in fact, these “dietary supplements” are concoctions build around bootleg prescription drugs.


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The Singaporean health authorities know about this but do nothing but issues warnings. Merchandise is not removed from shelves, as this would hurt business. They sure know how to get rich in Singapore, having risen to be the world’s richest country by some statistics. The Singaporean government also enjoys democratic support to an extent found nowhere else in the world. Their paramount guideline is: Let’s all get rich together!

Lee Kwan Yew

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Lee Kuan Yew (16 September 1923 – 23 March 2015)

Thus, ideologically, and without ever having been a communist, Singapore’s founder Lee Kuan Yew is the father of Deng Xiaoping , though biologically, the two are not related.

Deng Xiaoping
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Deng Xiaoping (22 August 1904 – 19 February 1997)

The worldwide butea superba market certainly also has its pitfalls but they are of an entirely different nature. Singaporean scammers are not yet the problem. But that will change once they will see that our company, Sumatra Pasak Bumi, has a new product of international acclaim.

As of this time, what plagues the butea superba market is a general lack of quality, and of false identification.

man showing butea roots
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A butea superba vine in a Thai forest

First the identification issue: There actually are two butea plants, butea superba and butea monosperma. In there above-ground parts, they look very similar indeed. The flowers, fruits, and leaves are so similar that even botanists have a hard time to tell them apart.

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A butea monosperma tree

But butea monosperma is a conventional tree with branches and roots. It is common in both India, where it has its place in the ayuverdic Materia Medica Caps, and Southeast Asia, where it is appreciated for its decorative features.

Butea superba, however, is a tuberous vine. It is a fast climber, using other trees or the rainforest canapé as skeleton. Because it grows comparatively fast, our company, Sumatra Pasak Bumi, is in the process of establishing butea superba plantations to satisfy increasing demand for butea superba phytochemicals.

And there is another important variation among the two species. Butea monosperma is a tree with standard roots. But butea superba has tuberous roots. It forms nutrient-storing tubers, just like the potato and cassava plants. And it’s these tubers that are the basis of the ethnobotanic applications. The branches and leaves are left alone.

However, unlike the tubers of potato and cassava plants, the tubers of butea superba are highly vascular, and when cut, they ooze a phloem which looks strikingly similar to blood. This phloem, which us rich in plant proteins and plant hormones, is the basis of our 1:120 butea superba extract. It is bound to other water-soluble constituents of butea superba tubers, and then bound to small quantities of butea superba cellulose to result in an extract powder that remains powderous over time, so that it can be filled into capsules.

butea tuber
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A tuberous butea superba root bleeding phloem sap

As mentioned above, the burea superba market hasn’t invaded by scammers yet, as has the tongkat ali market where some 90 percent is fake or dummies.

But butea superba has other problems. A main one is hygiene. Because butea superba tubers are highly vascular, they have a comparatively high water content. This, combined with the fact that tubers are the plant’s storage for nutrients, makes them highly attractive to fungi. Even when washed thoroughly, butea superba roots should not be stored as within 3 or 4 days, they will become infested by aflatoxins producing fungi.

We ourselves process all roots into extract within 2 days, and the rationale of ours in doing our own butea superba plantations is to be able to shorten the span from tuber harvest to extract processing to 6 hours: harvest in the early morning, have the tubers washed and sliced before 10 am, and start the water-and-heat-based extraction process well before noon. A fast production process is the best possible guarantor against fungal infestation.

We would strongly advice against obtaining and dried butea superba tuber parts or chips. Fungal infestation may have been wiped or scrapped off, but aflatoxins will have migrated into the plant tissue.

For the same reason, we take the liberty to recommend against butea superba products of which no route back to the extract processing facility can be established.



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