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See here for a comparison table of all tongkat ali on the market.
By Serge Kreutz (2010)
It is truly shocking how easily people are tricked on EBay. One of the latest swindles is that petty criminals sell fake tongkat ali extracts over the World Wide Web, especially through EBay.
Of all herbs, tongkat ali is a likely product for this swindle because it is probably the most expensive herb of all. In addition, one can rarely find it in health food stores in the West.
It is also perfect for scammers in poor developing countries, because it is a tropical herbal. A Third World EBay scammer who can sell just one hundred dollar worth of alleged tongkat ali extract to a buyer in the US has already earned more than a monthly developing income.
With earning prospects as such, it is barely surprising that adolescents in poor developing countries flock to computer and Internet schools at a much higher rate.
Among Internet-savvy youth in developing countries, EBay particularly has the reputation of being a cash cow, or, depending on your political views, one of the best means to justly correct the wealth imbalances between poor and rich countries.
Yes, fake tongkat ali extracts sold via EBay is a 99.9% safe crime. The possibility of a fraud victim in Seattle initiating prosecution against a scammer in Surabaya, Indonesia, is around zero.
And that's only for the initiation of prosecution, like filing a police report.
The chance that such prosecution would really result in a conviction is indescribably small. Any conviction (probably just a six-month long probation anyway) would be a huge expense of tens of thousands of dollars for the victim through private investigation. Why? Because no physical evidence exists of the dealings, it only happened in cyberspace. The police in countries like Indonesia (where most tongkat ali is from) is not ready to deal with EBay scammers.
Talking about money; making tongkat ali extracts requires substantial investments, around 100,000 dollars for even the cheapest setting.
Now, do you think that anybody invests that much money and then just runs an EBay storefront and auctions off capsules by the bottle or extract in 50-gram pouches? Some people have the strangest ideas after they're blinded by a cheaper price tag.
So, what do the scammers sell on EBay as tongkat ali powder or extract, loose or in capsules?
The newest invention of tongkat ali scammers, including those on EBay, is tongkat ali root powder mixed with ash.
This is logical, but naturally only for scum and scammers.
Because tongkat ali is now widely known that for the quassinoids in it and it's noticeably bitter taste, it has become rather difficult to just package saw dust into capsules and sell it as tongkat ali. Many people will not believe that a product that is not bitter is in fact tongkat ali.
It is easy to mix tongkat ali root powder with ash. To produce a fake 1:50 extract, simply add 70% tongkat ali root powder with 30% ash. Ash from burning wood works best, as ash from burning paper is too fine.
To produce a fake 1:200 extract, use about 50% root powder in addition with 50% ash.
For a believable appearance, use a kitchen mortar and a pestle... just the regular equipment used to prepare curry spices.
The result is hard to tell apart from genuine tongkat ali extracts. It looks and even tastes the same... just very bitter, and typically tongkat ali.
The taste of tongkat ali is nearly impossible to dilute.
However, the human palate has only so many taste receptors, and they respond on the molecular level.
In addition, taste receptors are subjects to fatigue, which means that tastes get "lost" when the same molecule stimulates receptors repeatedly over a short span of time, or when the same molecule stimulates too many receptors at once.
Anyway, the quassinoids in root powder mixed with ash will taste very much like genuine tongkat ali extracts.
One more trick used by scum and scammers to cheaply produce fakes is to just fry tongkat ali root powder in a Chinese wok (a large high frying pan like the ones used in the West to roast chestnuts). When the root powder is roasted in the wok (don't forget to stir constantly), it'll practically turn into ash, thus giving it the appearance and taste of tongkat ali extract (but naturally with zero therapeutic effect).
So how can you tell whether a product you bought, or are about to buy, is genuine or fake?
Use some common sense (and try not to be blinded by cheap prices).
Companies that have only existed for a few months, but brag as if they're centuries old, are much more likely to be frauds than companies that have been around for many years. And retail outlets on EBay that don't even run an actual company website are almost certainly fake... unless they are selling a product of a larger manufacturer at a reduced profit margin.
Indeed, many EBay retailers do say that they sell products from large manufacturers, but even these claims are most likely fake (write to the alleged manufacturer; they're usually very willing to confirm whether a retailer is authentic or not).
As for websites selling alleged tongkat ali products, you can tell how long a company has been around by a simple whois search. A convenient whois tool can be found at:
Furthermore, genuine sites usually show all their registration details, and all the details are related to tongkat ali, while fake sites are most likely to be registered as some kind of Internet "optimization" outfit, with further registration details hidden.
Another good way to find out which sources are most probably genuine and which are likely fake, is to take a look at the product line.
Genuine sources usually have a unique line of products, while scum and scammers will just copy well-established identifiers, like formulations or extract ratios.
If, for example, a new website offers exactly the same items as another site that has been around for 10 or more years, then this new site can only be either a distributor or an impostor.
This is the reason why sites that sell specific formulations like rahsahelian.com are far less vulnerable to product piracy than companies like tongkatali.org, which has been selling unblended 1:200 and 1:50 tongkat ali extracts for a decade. In anyway, if a new website selling exactly the same items or alleged items (under the same or another brand name) of products is a true reseller or a spam-and-scam enterprise, is pretty easy to find out. (ge*l)
As mentioned above, producers and wholesale companies are very willing to identify their resellers. And this just requires a short email.
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Copyright Serge Kreutz