Thai Kratom was the original stuff that got into Foo's hands by the way of the opium caravans. In the late 19th century it was grown in the valleys of western Thailand, in areas that were too hot and humid to allow for the cultivation of opium. Elephant caravans took it through he central Thai jungles north to the city of Chiangmai, in those days one of world's biggest trading posts for opium.
From there the Thai Kratom was transported through Burma into China with the same caravans that brought the poppy. Because of its taste, the caravan people called the Thai Kratom "bai khom" - the bitter leaf. And they took Thai Kratom daily - to fight fatigue, to suppress diarrhea, to treat pain and to prevent opium addiction - because they took opium every night to give them nice dreams in the steamy, leech infested jungles.
Foo never took opium - but he started to take Thai Kratom frequently as a stimulant and tonic. "Running a small shop in these hard times can really be frustrating and tiring," he noted in his diary in 1902, "but thanks to the Thai Kratom I can do it happily 16 hours a day and every day of the year."
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