Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia): Everything You Need to Know
Table of Contents
- What is tongkat ali?
- Historical uses
- Research findings
- Benefits Tongkat ali
- Tongkat Ali Benefits for Bodybuilders
- Is Tongkat Ali beneficial for growing muscle?
- Tongkat Ali and testosterone: what the science says
- Hazards and adverse consequences
- Drug interaction
Tongkat ali, also known as Eurycoma longifolia, is known for its aphrodisiac and profertility effects. It’s also promoted as a “testosterone booster”, and while some evidence exists for this effect in men with low testosterone and the mechanisms are plausible, the data aren’t convincing.
This article discusses Tongkat Ali's advantages, potential negative effects, dosage, and everything that you need to know.
What is tongkat ali?
Eurycoma longifolia Jack is also commonly referred to as Tongkat Ali, Longjack, or Malaysian Ginseng. Simaroubaceae is a family of plants of which Eurycoma Longifolia is a member. This family includes the following four species: Apiculata, Harmandiana, latifolia, and Longifolia, of which only the latter is used medicinally.
The Eurycoma Longifolia plant is also known by the names Tung Sawa in Thailand, Pasak Bumi in Indonesia, Cay Ba Binh in Vietnam, and Langir Siam in Bahrain. There are, in fact, three other plant species that people may refer to as tongkat ali. These are Goniothalamus, Polyalthia bullata, and Entomophthora apiculata.
Tongkat ali means "Ali's walking stick," referring to its sexual properties. Some people believe that the "stick" refers to the plant's long, twisted roots, which certain communities gather for medicinal purposes.
- Quassinoid chemicals are found in the Simaroubaceae family of plants, and the primary bioactives are Eurycomanone (typically averaged at 1.6% content dry weight) and Eurycomanol. Currently, around 150 quassinoids are known to occur among the four Eurycoma Eurycolactones species.
- Canthin-6-one metabolites include 9-hydroxycanthin-6-one and 9-methoxycanthin-6-one Eurylene and taurine, which are Squalene derivatives.
- A tirucallanoid chemical known as 23,24,25-trihydroxytirucall-7-en-3,6-dione Eurypeptides, which are protein fragment Glycosaponins.
Eurycoma longifolia is well-known for libido and malaria treatment. People produce cures out of the flowering plant's roots, bark, and fruits.
According to a 2016 research on Tongkat Ali, it is used in traditional medicine to treat the following ailments:
- Sexual dysfunction
- High blood pressure
- Intestinal worms
- Exercise recovery
- Aches and pains
1- The results of studies on Tongkat Ali highlight the herb as a natural treatment for a range of diseases. Still, there is not enough data now available to support its safety and effectiveness.
2- The study found that the traditional usage of Tongkat Ali roots to increase hunger, strengthen muscles, and increase energy levels is still frequent among users. Furthermore, some people use these roots because they believe they have antibacterial properties.
3- Moreover, it suggests that water infusions made from the Tongkat Ali plant were widely consumed. According to customer reviews, a wide variety of E. longifolia products—such as powders and capsules easily consumed and satisfy a wide range of customer needs.
4- According to analysis, this plant has a rich mix of bioactive chemicals, most notably steroids and alkaloids. Interestingly, quassinoids identified as the main active substances are present in the roots. Herbalists also attribute adaptive abilities to Tongkat Ali, recognizing its function as a plant that aids in the body's adjustment to a variety of stresses, including chemical, biological, and physical difficulties.
Benefits Tongkat ali
Tongkat ali may have health benefits for certain conditions. Below are a few benefits of using Tongkat Ali.
Male fertility and sexual performance
According to some studies, it improves male fertility and sexual function. A 2016 study states that research on both humans and animals suggests the following positive outcomes:
- Higher sperm motility, count, viability, and quantities of semen
- Increased testosterone production
- Improved erectile function and sexual performance
According to 2019 research, the sexual benefits of E. longifolia in mice may be brought about by increased testosterone and improved dopamine levels in the brain.
Athletes occasionally use ergogenic aids to improve their performance. One 2016 study claims that E. longifolia reduces stress and raises testosterone levels, which may make it an ergogenic aid.
The researchers concluded that E. longifolia could be beneficial for endurance performance at large doses and over an extended period when taken as supplements.
After using E. longifolia extract supplements for five weeks, physically active individuals between the ages of 57 and 72 reported increased testosterone levels and stronger muscles in a 2014 pilot study.
An analysis from a 2018 study reviewed the data supporting E. longifolia's effects on rat osteoporosis. It was determined that other traditional Malaysian plants appeared to be more beneficial than E. longifolia. The analysis suggests that there may yet be a chance to utilize it to stop bone loss.
A study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition assessed stress hormones in 63 people taking Tongkat ali extract or a placebo for 4 weeks.
According to the study, those consuming the extract showed notable improvements in their levels of anxiety, perplexity, and rage. Cortisol, a stress hormone, was found in lower concentrations when testosterone levels were higher. They concluded that Tongkat ali could be a useful treatment for chronic stress, sleep deprivation, and fitness training in the modern world.
In a different 2018 research, people who were reasonably agitated but otherwise in good health were examined to see how E. longifolia and multivitamins worked together. The subjects reported feeling more energetic and emotionally stable. Additionally, there was a drop in glucose concentrations, which could have improved the individuals' health.
Scientists are discovering and identifying new quassinoids in E. longifolia that may help fight cancer. Laboratory studies indicate that the compounds are toxic to lung and cervical cancer cells.
According to a 2018 assessment, 16 chemicals that were extracted from different regions of E. longifolia and had potential anticancer effects were found in the plant.
In one more experiment in the labQuassinoids from E. longifolia were shown to be efficient against human prostate cancer cells by a reliable source. However, utilizing the plant for prostate cancer is not advised because the Endocrine contraindicates testosterone therapy in this case.
Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
According to some research, Salmonella typhi and Escherichia coli are among the microorganisms that E. longifolia effectively combats. Plant extracts demonstrated antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities in test tube experiments.
Tongkat Ali Benefits for Bodybuilders
According to expert natural bodybuilders and vegan-based fitness health coaches, Tongkat Ali helps speed the process of muscle-building activities due to the high protein (amino-acids) content in neuropeptides (a chain of polypeptides present in Tongkat Ali).
Here are some of the many advantages of Tongkat Ali for bodybuilders.
Testosterone, a critical hormone, is essential for muscular growth and athletic strength. Tongkat Ali is renowned for its ability to naturally increase testosterone levels by 600% after 12 weeks, making it an ideal supplement stack for natural bodybuilders. This provides natural bodybuilders with a competitive advantage in their pursuit of lean muscular mass.
Human Growth Hormone
Tongkat Ali raises Human Growth Hormone (HGH) by 34%, which is a critical component for bodybuilding exercises, providing a competitive advantage through quicker muscular growth, lean muscle mass, and muscle recovery.
Fat Burn Properties
Tongkat Ali has fat-burning (thermogenic) characteristics and increases metabolism, which means it burns more calories in your body. Bodybuilders take Tongkat Ali to reach the appropriate BMI and avoid metabolic adaption.
Enhanced Endurance and Stamina
The rigors of a natural bodybuilder's training plan are harsh and demand faster muscle recovery time and energy throughout sessions. Tongkat Ali contains scientifically proven endurance-enhancing properties such as eurycomanone and neuropeptides (natural protein polypeptides), allowing bodybuilders to push the limits of their physical capabilities during strenuous workouts, allowing for more reps and faster recovery.
Accelerated Recovery and Muscle Regeneration
It's critical to recover quickly after intense training. The alleged anti-inflammatory properties of tongkat ali help to reduce soreness in the muscles after exercise and speed up the healing and repair processes.
Is Tongkat Ali beneficial for growing muscle?
Sazali Samad is a live example of Tongkat Ali's bodybuilding prowess as a professional world champion. Sazali Samad, a ten-time Mr. Universe competitor in bodybuilding, claimed that Tongkat Ali enhanced his power, vitality, and muscular development. Sazali, who has won over fifteen international bodybuilding titles, said that he has been maintaining his excellent physical condition for the past five years by using Tongkat Ali pills.
Tongkat Ali and testosterone: what the science says
Testosterone is a major factor in men's health. It keeps the libido up, strengthens bones, and aids in muscular growth. However, men's testosterone levels normally decrease with age, which can cause a variety of health issues. To increase their hormone production, many men are turning to natural medicines like Tongkat Ali. 43% of males over 40 reported having tried it in a 2016 poll.
The scientific basis of testosterone and Tongkat ali
Numerous studies have been conducted on this potent supplement, and the results are rather promising. According to the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, after just five weeks of usage, Tongkat Ali has been shown to enhance testosterone levels considerably. Studies that were published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology indicate that Tongkat Ali may also enhance the quality of semen, which might be a game-changer for infertile men.
For researchers, solving the riddle of Tongkat Ali and testosterone levels has proven to be a challenging task. A new study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition revealed no discernible rise in testosterone levels among resistance-trained male athletes taking Tongkat Ali supplements, despite some research indicating that this plant extract may help enhance testosterone. What does all of this imply, then? It appears that there is still disagreement on Tongkat Ali's ability to raise testosterone genuinely.
Hazards and adverse consequences
According to a 2016 study on the safety and toxicity of E. longifolia, when scientists employed it at therapeutic levels, it did not appear to have any negative effects on sperm in test tubes. Nevertheless, research on animals suggests that it could be harmful in larger quantities.
According to the same research, as long as E. longifolia is not taken in excessive amounts, experts believe it to be safe. The authors advise exercising caution when using 200–400 milligrams of each day, particularly if the patient is an older adult. Those with hormonal malignancies shouldn't use E. longifolia since it may raise testosterone levels. Even while research in lab settings has shown positive outcomes, the human body may not experience the same consequences.
Before consuming E. longifolia, anyone taking blood-sugar-lowering medicines should see their doctor since it may intensify the effects of these drugs. The review states that certain authorities recommend against eating E. longifolia if a person has a specific medical condition. These diseases include
- Renal illness
- Heart disease
Immune system-compromised individuals should also exercise caution.
For testosterone, 100–600 mg of tongkat ali per day is the usual dose. A daily dosage of 200–400 mg, which can be split into 1-2 doses, appears to be beneficial for libido and sexual health; however, it is unknown which of these dosing schedules works best.
Tongkat ali is typically administered orally in the form of a standardized water-soluble extract.
It has not been investigated if using tongkat ali together with other drugs is safe. Tongkat ali has been associated with potential drug interactions, including metformin (marketed under brand names such as Glucophage and Fortamet) and Inderal (propranolol), which is used to treat hypertension.
However, no recent studies have assessed the safety of tongkat ali in combination with these or any other prescription or over-the-counter medications.
Tongkat ali appears to be a viable treatment for a number of illnesses. According to some studies, it helps reduce stress and improves male fertility and sexual function. It might also work well as an ergogenic supplement.
According to certain scientific investigations, E. longifolia effectively prevents cancer in test tubes. Research, however, also indicates that it should not be used by those who have specific tumors.
Individuals with certain medical problems and those on particular drugs may have safety concerns. Therefore, before using any herbal supplements, one should see their physician.
- Bhat, R. and Karim, A.A., 2010. Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia Jack): a review on its ethnobotany and pharmacological importance. Fitoterapia, 81(7), pp.669-679.
- Kotirum, S., Ismail, S.B. and Chaiyakunapruk, N., 2015. Efficacy of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) on erectile function improvement: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Complementary therapies in medicine, 23(5), pp.693-698.
- Talbott, S.M., Talbott, J.A., George, A. and Pugh, M., 2013. Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(1), pp.1-7.
- Tambi, M.I.B.M., Imran, M.K. and Henkel, R.R., 2012. Standardised water‐soluble extract of Eurycoma longifolia, Tongkat ali, as testosterone booster for managing men with late‐onset hypogonadism?. Andrologia, 44, pp.226-230.
- Henkel, R.R., Wang, R., Bassett, S.H., Chen, T., Liu, N., Zhu, Y. and Tambi, M.I., 2014. Tongkat Ali as a potential herbal supplement for physically active male and female seniors—A pilot study. Phytotherapy Research, 28(4), pp.544-550.
- Talbott, S.M., 2013. Human performance and sports applications of tongkat ali (eurycoma longifolia). In Nutrition and Enhanced Sports Performance (pp. 501-505). Academic Press.