The HOGA Story
Before we tell you the HOGA story, we would need to start with telling you about ‘Gaharu’ or Agarwood. Just what is ‘Gaharu’? To put it simply, it is a resinous wood with a distinct fragrance derived from Aquilaria trees that are found mainly in Asia but are threatened by heavy logging and is listed as an endangered flora species today.
For centuries, ‘Gaharu’ has been renowned for its sacred healing and medicinal properties which is used as a vital element in religious and cultural practices, as well as to alleviate various health conditions. Every major religion from Islam to Christianity, and from Buddhism to Hinduism, have mentioned this tree in an aromatic spiritual or holistic healing manner. All this remained in old scriptures, until Gaharu Technologies started working to validate all the goodness of this tree.
It all started by chance in the year 1992 when Mr David Ho acquainted a Japanese botanic with expertise on the ‘Gaharu’ plant. The Japanese botanic introduced him to an advanced hybrid ‘Gaharu’ seedling containing multiple beneficial traits of various Aquilaria species. Mr David had already learned of this unique tree at an early age from a school teacher, but he had not the slightest idea that he will bump into this tree again. Everyone he knew advised him to venture into the more lucrative produce of oil palm and rubber on his piece of land, but Mr David decided instead to follow his heart and plant 200 ‘Gaharu’ seedlings in the hope that someday, he would be able to contribute to society through the miraculous properties of this tree also known as the ‘Wood of Gods’.
Using the combined expertise of the Japanese botanic and our passionate HOGA founder, the Gaharu Tea Valley was setup mimicking a natural ecosystem. This includes a huge load of earthworms into the ground, raising of swifts and bees in the plantation and setup of various water channels with fish habitats and also a dredged underground spring. HOGA which stands for Holistic Gaharu stood true to its identity by ensuring the plantation stayed free from chemicals and other foreign elements. It took 15 years for the 200 mother trees to grow before replanting seeds were produced; then it took another 3 years for the newly-planted trees to grow before they could be used to produce medicine and tea. This is a period of 18 long years without any revenue.
From that 200 seeds of hope sown on that fateful day, the 70 surviving trees has since flourished into the HOGA Gaharu Tea Valley, a verdant 300-acre land recognized as part of the 400-million-year-old Kinta Geopark with over 200000 thriving hybrid Aquilaria trees. Fueled by the rich harvest of the Gaharu Tea Valley, as well as generations old Chinese imperial health formulas, Gaharu Technologies and Envirotech Industries are able to manufacture its own unique HOGA products, including the signature HOGA Agarwood tea and the GOGA liquid fuel drink to catalyze a healthier life.
Through the scientific research partnership formed with the University of Nottingham, it has been proven that the Hoga Agarwood extract of Gaharu Tea Valley, Gopeng has an anti-diabetic effect and it brings better result in regulating blood glucose compared to metformin (the first-line medication for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes). The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) statistics showed that, in the year 2017, the total cases of diabetes among Malaysian adults was recorded at 3.4926 million cases and the prevalence of diabetes among adults had reached 16.9%. The HOGA group is committed to continue research driven development of its products to ensure the Gaharu Gopeng extract brings added health values to its customers.
Gaharu Technologies continues to innovate and work passionately to ensure we can further add on to our credentials which include certificates for MAL, GMP, Organic, HALAL, ISO 22000 and even an entry into the Malaysia Book of Records.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) classified Agarwood as an Appendix II endangered species. Every Agarwood planted needs to be registered, but products such as Agarwood chips and powder can be exported. The Middle Eastern consumers generally use Agarwood as incense and as perfume, but few of them are aware of its edibility and medicinal value. The Chinese usually prefer unique carved pieces as showcase items. Currently, the health and holistic values of Agarwood is known to very few, which poses a great challenge, but an opportunity at hand for much development.
The most valuable part of the Agarwood, in terms of economics is attributed to its black resin. In the wild, when an Agarwood tree is struck by lightning, bitten by insects, suffers from cuts or winding damages, the tree will secrete resin that will gradually turn brownish black in colour. The longer the resin is secreted, the darker it will get. HOGA also continues to look for new innovative methods to organically bring about resin production.
In the year 2011, Gaharu Tea Valley reached a new milestone with the launch of the HOGA Gaharu Tea Valley as an agro-tourism destination, effectively paving the way for us to spread the goodness of the ‘Gaharu’ tree and the importance of its conservation to visitors all around the world.
Although many years have passed since the first HOGA cup of tea was made, Gaharu Technologies remains proud and happy to be able to spread the wondrous healing benefits of ‘Gaharu’ based products to everyone.
HOGA… Towards Holistic Living