The serenity of the highlands of Sarawak has an enigmatic hold on those who set foot on its soil. From the cool mountain climate of the Lawas and Bario highlands in the North, to the remoteness of the Padawan range in the South, these areas are blessed with breathtaking views and rich soil that leaves one with a feeling of calm and content.
Amidst these gentle hills and rolling valleys, we find the Kelabit villages of Pa’Ukat and Pa’Lungan in the Kelabit Highlands, Long Kerebangan and Long Telingan which are homes to the Lun Bawang in Lawas and the Bidayuh community of Kampung Kiding in the Padawan Range. These are five villages that share a common resource, the Litsea cubeba tree which each community has long utilized for its culinary and healing properties.
Known to the Bidayuh as “Pahkak” and to the Kelabit and Lun Bawang as “Tenum”, the tree produces a scintillating scented essential oil that invigorates, rejuvenates and inspires.
The essential oil has been trademarked as LitSara® and is derived from the fruits and leaves of the tree. LitSara® has also shown good antimicrobial and insect repellency properties, making it suitable as an active ingredient in personal care products.
The Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) partners with indigenous communities to study and develop innovative products from biodiversity through its Traditional Knowledge (TK) Documentation Programme.
Prior Informed Consent (PIC) from participating communities, who themselves, are actively involved in implementing Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS).
Ensuring that the valuable traditional knowledge is valued by those who use it to develop a range of products, and that benefits are appropriately shared are the common goals of this project and the implementation of ABS in Sarawak.