Buah Merah and Papuan People
Mathelda Kurniaty Roreng, S.TP, M.Si1
and Toshiaki Nishigaki, Ph.D2
1) Head, Agricultural Technology Laboratory
Faculty of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology, University of Papua, Indonesia
M&K Laboratories Inc., Japan
Special Researcher, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Shinshu University, Japan
What are Papuan People?
It is said that presently living human race, Homo sapiens was born approximately 200,000 years ago in Africa.
They were out of Africa from 100,000 years ago and immigrated to various directions in the world.
Some groups moved to Eurasian continent passing through Central Asia and finally reached to Siberia about 25,000 years ago.
They were the ancestors of Caucasians.
Some groups passed along the shores of Indian Ocean and arrived at South East Asia around 60,000 years ago.
They are considered as ancestors of Mongoloids. At the time, the earth was colder and sea levels were lower than the present time.
Almost all of the western islands from Bali island in nowadays Indonesian archipelagos were not separated from Asia continent, but formed one continental Sunda.
Island of Papua was combined with Australian continent and formed Saful continent.
It was not difficult for the immigrants from Africa to reach to west and north parts of Saful continent with a simple raft.
Their descendants are Papuan people and Australian Aborigines.
Some groups of Africans forwarded to north from Sunda continent and about 10,000 years ago they arrived at the edge of South America passing through Beringia (Bering strait without glaciers) and North America.
Along with global warming and rising the sea levels, the continents of Sunda and Saful disappeared and the present geographic terrains were formed before 10,000 years.
Thus, the present native Papuan people, classified as Australo-Melanesian with language of Non-Austronesia, often called Papuan, have been inhabiting in Papua island for at least 50,000 years (1, 2,).
In Papua, four broad categories of ecological environment can be recognized: swampy areas, coastal lowland, foothills and small valleys, and highlands.
Each of these zones supports different subsistence systems.
This article focuses on people in the highlands in conjunction with Buah Merah (meaning red fruit).
In the highlands, farming and raising pigs is the primary subsistence strategy.
Some families of the immigrants after landing on Papua island moved up to the highland areas, at more than 1,500m from sea level, possibly to avoid deadly disease Malaria, at least 32,000 years ago.
With warming climate, the forest became thicker and highlands were isolated from lowland areas.
The inhabitants at the highlands, had been surviving under terrible conditions; cold climates, naked wear styles, poor animal foods, simple house etc. until they were introduced to the world as prehistoric humans in 1938. At this time, however, population of the highlanders, Dani tribe in Baliem valley was reported to be 50,000, one of most high density areas in Papua (3, 4).
Buah Merah is a common food of the highlanders
One of the reasons why huge number of people could survive was their farming skill of sweet potato introduced 500 years ago.
Sweet potato is quite good food to maintain and support population.
However, questions remained.
One Christianity person noticed another reason why the highlanders have been surviving under cold and poor conditions.
His conclusion was Buah Merah that is daily taken and common fruit for the highlanders.
Taxonomy of Buah Merah plant is as follow;
Class : Angiospermae
Order : Pandanales
Family : Pandanaceae
Genus : Pandanus
Species : Pandanus conoideus Lam.
Buah Merah is the name of Indonesian language, meaning Red (Merah) Fruit (Buah).
The highlanders in Baliem valley, Papua call it “Tawi” or “Watawi” .
The characteristics include one trunk with many roots derived from the trunk above the earth.
The roots sometimes have 150 cm in height and support the trunk.
Therefore, this type of plants are named from Octopus.
The tree reaches more than 15 m with abundant leaves.
Buah Merah tree has less than 5 branches with thorns.
The leaf is dark green with 5~10 cm in width and becomes 150 cm in length. The edges of leaf are spiny.
After a flowering, a green fruit wrapped with green leaves is getting matured and appears from the leaf sheath to be ripen, brown to red color at 6 months old.
Buah Merah, Pandanus conoideus with fruits in Baliem valley
A big longitudinal fruit is around 1 m in length, 20~30 cm in diameter and 10 kg in weight.
The flesh on the surface is 2~3 cm in thickness.
The part of meat around bullet-shaped seeds is 2 mm only in thickness (5, 6).
Buah Merah fruits with a boy
Cut surface of Buh Merah
Surface of Buah Merah fruit
There are small quantity of flesh around bullet-like seeds
There are some varieties in Buah Merah inclusive of short-, medium- or long-sized ones.
In the highland of Baliem valley, the local Papuans cultivate and utilize the most economical and nutritious long-sized fruits.
Now, the dwellers living in lowland areas transferred Buah Merah trees from the highlands and plant them, but it is believed that the fruits grown at highlands of Baliem valley and its vicinity are best in terms of nutrition because of climates.
The temperatures in the highlands are 14 to 28 ℃ in lowest and highest averages, and it rains slightly compared to the lowlands (7).
The highland people collect Buah Merah fruit whenever the fruit is matured.
The fruit is harvested two times a year.
Harvesting time varies from areas to areas.
Therefore, they are able to take Buah Merah almost all the year around.
The Buah Merah fruits are cooked in their traditional way to make Pasta source.
It is said that the excess Pasta is stored in a bamboo container and used for one year.
Nowadays, the Pasta or extract oil is kept in a glass bottle.
The Pasta is ingested with steamed and/or roasted sweet potato, taro or vegetables.
The pig is very important domesticated animal and valuable as only source of animal food for native Papuan folks.
In a few occasion such as marriage and special ceremonies, pig is cooked with their traditional cooking way, Bakar Batu in Papuan language, cooking with heated stones.
This cooking method might be spread to Polynesia from Papua or Melanesia.
In Bakar Batu, the heated stones are placed between each food material and they are not directly attached to the food materials by putting glasses between the stones and food materials.
Buah Merah fruit is placed at the lowest layer, and pig meat at the outset layer.
After the flesh of Buah Merah fruit is heated with hot stones, it is separated from underlying fibrous layer and then water is put in the flesh.
The flesh is vigorously mixed and squeezed with hands to separate the fruit meats from seeds and obtain the Pasta.
The Pasta is a mixture of Buah Merah oil and cellular matrices.
The Pasta is used as source for cooked meat, potatoes and vegetables.
Mathelda Kurniaty Roreng, S.TP, M.Si
Lecturer, Faculty of Agriculture Technology,
University State of Papua (Universitas Negeri Papua)
West Papua, Indonesia
Toshiaki Nishigaki, Ph.D, Pharmacist
Consultant, M&K Laboratories Inc.
Special Researcher, Faculty of Medicine,
Shinshu University, Nagano, Japan
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As of now, Buah Merah 500 /500VE capsule products have not been available
in any other country except Japan.
We are willing to send Buah Merah 500VE on request of readers from any country.
It is said that you can purchase food supplements for your self consumption without permission of authority.
Three (3) bottles of Buah Merah 500VE are ready to send you by EMS.
The price including EMS charge is USD 180.
Remittance cost is considered to be minimal.
Buah Merah 500VE is good for
fanatic smokers, patients with cancers, DM, post-menopausal oesteoporosis,
acne, boldness, malnutrition and other serious diseases,
and for enhance of your health, longevity.
Please contact, Dr. M. Nishigaki,