Tongkat ali (Eurycoma longifolia) is a tree found throughout Southeast Asia; in Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. It is the root that is primarily used in making herbal medicine as it contains quassinoids and alkaloid compounds. It is consumed in dietary supplements, energy drinks, and teas.
Tongkat ali is also referred to as Eurycoma longifolia, longjack, long jack, tung saw, umpudumaidu, payung ali, Malaysian ginseng, and wonod mondou.
The herb has been found to support healthy cortisol levels and improve libido, as well as supporting a positive mood and sense of well-being.
Eurycoma Longifolia Tree
Eurycoma longifolia is a slender shrub-like evergreen tree most often found in Southeast Asia. It is used in traditional medicine in Malaysia to improve sexual abilities and virility and is prepared as a tea. The popularity of the plant has grown to such an extent that it is now a protected species.
In addition to using the root from the Tongkat ali plant for a number of different ailments and conditions, the root and bark are commonly used for increasing sexual desire, treating erectile dysfunction and male infertility, and boosting athletic performance. Other conditions include fevers, bacterial infections, stress-relief, and more.
History of Tongkat Ali
Tongkat ali is celebrated throughout Malaysia as a natural treasure and has a long history of use in traditional medicine. It has been used for centuries in Asia, particularly Thailand and Indonesia, as well as Malaysia. It’s often referred to as Malaysian ginseng and is found in the jungles of Malaysia and Southeast Asia.
The Medical Book of Malayan Medicine shares many applications for the herb, noting its ability to neutralize poisons. Prepared as part of a polyherbal infusion, it is used for coughs and fever, and as a topical application for wounds caused by hairy sea-caterpillars.
References to the Tongkat ali plant go back many hundreds of years, but Burkill (in his 1935 Dictionary of the Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula) noted that ‘Bedara Laut’ (another name for the plant) had a variety of uses.
In particular, it is used for:
Prepared in an infusion as a gargle.
In a draught taken orally.
To treat fluid build-up around the organs.
For impaired liver function.
For serious bacterial infections.
The roots of the plant have a number of different chemical compounds that affect the body differently, with some affecting how the body produces testosterone. Tongkat ali contains quassinoids, alkaloids, canthin-6-one, -carboline alkaloids, biphenylneolignans, squalene derivatives.
These compounds, either individually or collectively, have been shown to have properties that include:
- Antitumor – inhibiting the growth of tumors
- Antimalarial – preventing or curing malaria
- Cytotoxic – preventing the spread of venom
- Antischistosomal – preventing the development and reproduction of schistosomes (bilharzia)
- Anxiolytic – for the reduction of anxiety
- Plant growth inhibition
Benefits of Eurycoma Longifolia
While more research into the health benefits of Tongkat ali is still needed, initial studies and much of the research points towards a wide range of benefits that the plant offers. This includes its ability to help treat male infertility, improve mood, as well as increasing muscle mass.
It is a powerful herb that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries for male-specific disorders related to aging. As men age, hormone levels, including testosterone, decrease as part of a condition referred to as ‘andropause’ (also called male menopause). Symptoms of andropause include lower libido, a lack of energy, increased mental lethargy, and body fat.
Much of the research that has been done shows that the root of the plant contains compounds that stimulate the libido, improving sperm motility and semen quality. These results, along with its ability to support muscle growth, point to the effects of the increase in testosterone levels. The hormonal support that Tongkat Ali offers also increases male fertility by improving the quality of normal sperm. A side benefit of this increase in testosterone is the resulting boost in sex drive (and the main reason that it has been used for centuries in South East Asia as an aphrodisiac).
Tongkat ali is a traditional medicine that has been used widely throughout Southeast Asia to treat a variety of conditions. It is gaining traction in alternative medicine worldwide for its ability to address conditions such as erectile dysfunction, low libido as well as fatigue and stress.
For Low Libido and Erectile Dysfunction in Men
Preliminary studies show promising evidence of the plant’s ability to remedy erectile dysfunction with results showing that after 12 weeks of supplementing with and Eurycoma longifolia extract, both sexual performance and erectile function improved.
These findings were supported by another study that showed the plant’s ability to aid in the treatment of low libido and erectile function. The study looked at over 100 men and found that the extract helped with sexual libido, erectile function, semen volume, and sperm motility (a loss of fat mass was also noted in men who were overweight.)
For Male Infertility
There is evidence to suggest that the plant may be helpful as a natural treatment for male infertility. In one study, researchers found at a daily dose of 200mg of Eurycoma longifolia extract for between 3 and 9 months increased semen volume, sperm motility, sperm concentrations and helped 14% of couples become pregnant as a result of the treatment.
For Increasing Testosterone Levels in Men
This is the most popular reason for supplementing with Tongkat ali. It has the potential to boost testosterone in men. Many studies have been conducted on the efficacy of the plant, and the results are well-documented.
There are many reasons for low testosterone, including chemotherapy, radiation treatment, testicular infections or injury, and aging. Low levels of testosterone affect libido, erectile function, and can even lead to infertility. Tongkat ali may be effective in boosting low testosterone and can, therefore, be used to treat these issues.
In one study, done over a period of a month, older men with low testosterone experienced significantly increased levels of testosterone, and over 90% of participants moved into the normal range of the hormone. And in another 12-week study, younger men, between the ages of 33 and 55 found that taking 300mg per day of Tongkat ali resulted in increased sperm volume (18%) and sperm motility (44%).
These studies, along with several others, show the ability of the extract to effectively treat low testosterone and infertility, although further research is needed.
For Female Sexual Health
Tongkat ali is beneficial for women as it helps to balance hormones, correcting symptoms of a hormone imbalance that include a lack of mental acuity, slow metabolism, and a low sex drive. The stabilizing effects of the plant make it easier for women to maintain a healthy metabolism, which prevents age-related weight gain.
A hormonal imbalance also affects other systems within the body, resulting in low energy levels and fatigue. The plant works as a natural energy booster and has been used in Asian countries for centuries to help women regain hormonal balance. As with men, it also helps to improve sex drive and boosts testosterone levels (which is important for both male and female sexual health).
Low levels of certain hormones in women (particularly testosterone) can increase a woman’s risk of osteoporosis. If levels of calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin D are normal and stable, the herb is able to encourage the production of testosterone, which is essential for improving bone health.
For Building Muscle Mass, Improving Athletic Performance and Body Composition
The plant may increase muscle mass and strength due to its effects on testosterone levels and will have a greater effect if combined with an intensive exercise routine. For this reason, it is used to boost athletic performance, build physical strength, and promote fat loss. A preliminary study found that 100mg per day for five weeks increased both muscle mass and strength in men that were part of an intensive strength training program. Lean body mass increased by 5%, while there was a significant reduction in body fat. This was in comparison to men who only followed the program with no supplementation.
A pilot study also showed that it could also be used to improve muscular strength in older adults. The study followed men and women between the ages of 57 and 72 over five weeks, taking a dosage of 400 mg of Eurycoma Longifolia extract per day. The extract was found to raise both free and total testosterone levels, as well as muscular force.
The plant contains quassinoids (including eurycomaoside, eurycolactone, and eurycomanone), which are compounds that may help the body to use energy more efficiently. Quassinoids are also associated with reducing fatigue and improving endurance. This means that the supplement works as an ergogenic aid, enhancing both physical performance and improving body composition.
For Stress Relief
While more research is needed to explore the effects of Tongkat ali on stress, two studies are worth mentioning.
The first, conducted in 1999, explored the effects of the plant extract on mood issues. It was found to have the same effect as commonly available anti-anxiety medication in reducing the symptoms of anxiety in mice. Similar results have been observed in humans, although more research is needed.
A small study looked at the level of stress hormones as well as the mood state of 63 people before and after taking the supplement for four weeks. They found significant improvements in the mood states of anger, confusion, and tension, as well as a decrease in the level of salivary cortisol (the stress hormone) by 16%. They also noted an increase in the levels of testosterone.
For Late-Onset Hypogonadism
Late-onset hypogonadism (or Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome) is a common condition in older men, with symptoms that include decreased sexual desire and erectile dysfunction. It is characterized by low testosterone levels. Tongkat ali may be effective in treating the condition with one study showing that 200 mg of standardized extract improved testosterone levels as well as scores on the Aging Males’ Symptoms scale.
Dosage and Precautions
Tongkat Ali: Typical Use
The standard dosage of the extract is 200 to 300mg, which can be compared to 20 – 30g of the dry root of the plant. It can be taken 1 to 2 times per day, although the optimal dose may vary from person to person.
There are no reported side effects of using Tongkat ali, with one study noting the taking up to 300mg of the supplement is as safe as taking a placebo. However, there are no studies that examine the long-term use of the extract, so it is not clear if it can be taken continuously for an extended period of time.
Based on studies that have been conducted, it can be used safely for up to nine months with a dosage of 200mg per day.
Reported side effects include:
As Tongkat ali may raise testosterone levels, it should not be used by people with existing conditions that may be affected by increased testosterone. This includes heart disease, liver and kidney disease, sleep apnea, and hormone-sensitive cancers.
It should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding; people with compromised immune function and those on medications that may interact with the herb. Medication includes blood pressure medications, anticoagulants, and antiplatelet medication, immunosuppressant drugs, or any medication that lowers blood sugar or insulin levels.
Before using Tongkat ali, consult with your primary care provider.
Tongkat ali has been used for centuries throughout Asia is growing in importance in natural medicine circles worldwide and has seen a significant boost in popularity, particularly for its role as an aphrodisiac.
There are very few side effects, and it is very uncommon for people to experience them, making Tongkat ali a popular natural remedy for a wide range of health-related conditions. While more research is still needed, the herb shows promising results in initial studies that have investigated the plant’s healing properties that relate to male and female sexual health, improved muscle mass and athletic performance, as well as it’s the ability to regulate and reduce stress.
Increase libido & Sexual functions
Increase muscle mass
Reduce seasonal allergies
Improve mood-reducing depression
Improve mental clarity
Increase bone density, strength and health
Providing thicker, healthier, and more natural-looking hair
Improving body tone and eliminating excess body fat
Increasing sex drive with better, longer-lasting, and more satisfying sex
Ingredients: Wild harvested Tongkat ali (Longjack)
Parts Used: Root
Forms: Two ounces of powder or 60 vegetable capsules (550-600 mg).
How to use:
Powder: Traditional preparation is to infuse one tablespoon into a tea. You may also take one tsp of dried powder in 8 oz. of favorite juice or smoothie, two times a day.
Capsules: Take three capsules daily with water or a favorite beverage.
The gel caps we use are Vegicaps (vegetable) and are all-natural. No Animal By-Products, Starch Free, Wheat Free, Dairy Free, Preservative Free, Ethylene Oxide, and Sulfite FREE!
Legal Information: The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated these statements. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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