JungleVine® (Pueraria phaseoloides) is truly one of the wonders of nature. Consider these few facts. It actually improves the soil where it grows and purifies the air. JungleVine® can be used as a graze or forage for both humans and livestock, it propagates readily, and once established, it requires little to no human intervention to flourish. It even has some medicinal qualities. Most importantly to us though, is the fact that it supplies the base material for artisans to create not only a carbon-neutral product, but a carbon-negative one. This makes JungleVine® both profitable for the artisans who use it, and beneficial to the planet at large.
How JungleVine® is Used
The Khmu people of Northern Laos, as they have for millennia, gather the fast-growing vines from the forests surrounding their villages. Using a sharp blade, they separate the long bast fibers from the pulp (hurds). After the bast fiber dries, they spin it by hand. The hurds, or leftover pulp from the plant stems, becomes food for their livestock.
They use the super strong JungleVine® fiber to make the bags that they have used in their daily lives for centuries, and we now bring to you as Nature Bags -- Earth's Greenest Bags™. It is also the same material used for JungleVine® purses, hats, and scouring/exfoliation products.
Through the ages, this wonderful plant has provided a basic necessity for the Khmu people to use in their gathering, farming communities. Now it also provides them with a source of income, making it possible for them to afford an education for their children, and raising the hopes and prospects for their villages.
JungleVine® (Pueraria phaseoloides)
The vine itself is a deep-rooting perennial herb and a member of the pea family. As mentioned above, it grows rapidly -- as much as 30 cm a day -- and is classified as a nitrogen fixer. That means it actually draws nitrogen from the air and then stores it in its roots.
This makes JungleVine® ideal for areas with poor soil and in fact, our JungleVine® Research Retreat was built on an old construction site with barren soil. We stuck a few sprigs into the ground and in two years they have not only taken root; they have thrived and grown by 300 feet. If they were removed today, the soil where they had been growing would be suitable for crops, thanks to JungleVine's® nitrogen-fixing nature.
If it sounds as if we are a little proud of what others might think of as a lowly vine, it is because we are. It is the vehicle that can carry an entire people from a subsistence-level existence, little more advanced than it was 2000 years ago, into the modern age and provide them with a sustainable livelihood.
JungleVine® accomplishes all of that without generating any pollution or creating any waste. It does all that while actually improving both air and soil quality. Besides becoming beautiful products for us to bring to the market, this plant has given us much to be proud of.
We're doing research on JungleVine® at the JungleVine® Research Retreat. See our results here.