Does Tongkat Ali Really Work? Here is a Scientific Explanation

The short answer is yes.

But you may be curious to know the science behind Tongkat Ali’s mechanism of action.

Most highly potent Tongkat Ali does work to deliver your health goals, but cheap Tongkat Ali extract from China may not work to deliver the required gains.

In our past article, we shared the Tongkat Ali benefits in great length, backed by scientific evidence from decades of human clinical trials. There are sufficient evidence and empirical data to convince that Tongkat Ali does work.

You may have also read consumer reviews that Tongkat Ali works on them, but does it work every time? And does it work on women or if I am idling?

This article will explain the science behind Tongkat Ali’s mechanism of action. It will help you to understand better how Tongkat Ali works and how it can benefit you.

Here is a quick summary.

Scientific explanation:

  1. Tongkat Ali contains ingredients such as eurycomanone,  a family of quassinoids and alkaloids that work by activating hormone-inducing actions in our body.
  2. Tongkat Ali activates Luteinzing Hormones (LH) that stimulates the Leydig cells in your testicles to produce testosterone. In women, the Luteinizing Hormones (LH) triggers the creation of steroid hormones from the ovaries and that helps with menstrual cycle and ovulation.
  3. Tongkat Ali decreases the sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) which in turn, delivers higher production of testosterone. SHBG rises when your testosterone level is low.
  4. At the same time, Tongkat Ali reduces cortisol, the stress hormone that lowers the testosterone in our body.
  5. The mechanism of actions collaboratively increase production of “free testosterone” in our body.
  6. Therefore, increased free testosterone from Tongkat Ali provides more energy, improved mood, improved sexual libido, more sperm motility, stronger muscle growth, reduced body fat, increased immune system and reduction of stress.

Lets dive into the details of the summary.

Due to the hormonal-oriented action, the effectiveness of Tongkat Ali depends on largely on your age, health condition, lifestyle and other factors. 

The level of potency (i.e how strong the Tongkat Ali extract is) and daily dosage (i.e how much Tongkat Ali you take daily) will have a significant impact on how well your hormones react to the bioactive ingredients.

We shall cover the physiological and biological aspect of how Tongkat Ali work and what it does to your body.

So lets read on!

Does Tongkat Ali Work For Men? And Women Too?

The general belief is that Tongkat Ali is exclusively for men since it is widely used as a natural aphrodisiac by primal men since the 1600s.

But in reality, after decades of studies and clinical trials, researchers have found the exact opposite.

Tongkat Ali benefits both men and women both contain vital hormones that are responsible to ensure our body functions in an optimal manner.

Yes, Tongkat Ali benefits women in many ways through the activation of key reproductive hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. Most women, particularly those who are above 50 may benefit greatly from Tongkat Ali as the level of testosterone and estrogen decline rapidly.

Tongkat Ali works on both men and women by delivering improved mood, increase sexual desire, fat loss, and increased muscle strength.

In fact, Tongkat Ali was tested on more than 100 human test subjects involving men and women from various clinical trials. You can find the studies here.

Now, here is an explanation.

Although men and women are anatomically and physiologically distinct, the hormones that control our body functions are pretty similar.

And that lands us to the next topic.

Tongkat Ali contains bio-active compounds that activate your hormones.

Here is one thing you should know about Tongkat Ali.

Tongkat Ali works well by activating your hormones that are responsible to regulate your health and other functioning organs.

Tongkat Ali root contains quassinoids and alkaloids, a bio-active compound that activates a hormone-inducing action in your body.

Here are some bio-active ingredients that are found in Tongkat Ali.

Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) Bio-active ingredients



  • Eurycomanone is a major bio-active chemical found which is unique to Tongkat Ali plant.
  • The highest level of eurycomaonone is found at the root of Tongkat Ali, which is often around 1.0% to 3.0%
  • It belongs to the quassinoid molecule family structure and has anti-plasmodial, anti-cancer, anti-HIV and other pharmacological benefits found by scientists over the years. 


  • Polysaccharides are polymeric carbohydrates that are mainly used for storing energy and providing support to cells and tissues. 
  • Polysaccharides are found in our body and in plants too. When consumed it acts a dietary fiber.
  • Studies have shown that sulfate polysaccharides exhibit immunomodulatory, antitumor, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiviral activities including anti-HIV infection, herpes, and hepatitis viruses.


  • Saponin, is widely used in vaccine formulations to regulate and protect our immune system.
  • Saponin is also found in Panax Ginseng. However, saponin level in Tongkat Ali is often higher by 35% or more.
  • Studies showed that saponin reduces cholesterol levels, kill disease-causing bacteria, scavenge oxidative stress and inhibit tumor growth. 


  • Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) contains a natural plant-based protein that is safe and can be used to supplement our daily protein intake.
  • Most Tongkat Ali plants found in Malaysia contain 0.3868 and 0.9573 mg mL(-1) of crude protein, making it ideal for vegans who are seeking for an alternative source of plant-based protein.

So, all these bio-active ingredients in Tongkat Ali work well with specific hormones in your body, which we shall share with you later in this article.

So keep reading!

For now, here is a little secret.

If you feel good after consuming natural health products or diet, it has to do with your hormones.

What are hormones and how does it function?

Tongkat Ali work by activating selected hormones. Understanding how each hormone functions helps you to understand Tongkat Ali’s mechanism of action.

Hormones are chemical substances that affect the activity of another part of the body or your organs. It circulates in the bloodstream and spread across in our bodies to carry message,  signal or even stimulate different parts of our body (i.e organs).

Our hormones are sensitive to the types of food we eat (i.e nutrition), our medical condition, age and host of other factors.

Experts believed that there are more than 200 hormones in our body, working harmoniously with different roles as messengers

To give a better illustration, here are key hormones produced and stored in our body.

The word “hormone” originates from the Greek word hormao meaning “I excite”. It refers to it’s inherent biological function which excites or stimulates a particular part of the body.

“The term ‘hormonal’ has become synonymous with ‘moody,’” says Dr. Epstein. While hormones do affect mood, they do much more in the body than that.

Here are some key hormones that are produced in different parts of our body and the functions are medically known to us by doctors and experts.






Testosterone is responsible for the characteristics of the masculine body, including hair growth on the face and body and muscle development. Testosterone is essential for the production of sperm, libido, mood and also acts to strengthen bones



Cortisol has a number of functions. It promotes normal metabolism, maintains blood sugar levels and blood pressure, provides resistance to stress and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.  It also plays a part in regulation of fluid balance in the body.



Thyroxine controls many body functions, including heart rate, temperature and metabolism. It also plays a role in the metabolism of calcium in the body. 



Oestrogen facilitates growth of the tissues of the sex organs and other tissues related to reproduction. Oestrogen also acts to strengthen bones and has a protective effect on the heart. 



Progesterone promotes the changes in the uterus that occur in preparation for the implantation of a fertilised ovum and prepares the breasts for milk production. 

Tongkat Ali works your Luteinising Hormone. Here are the steps that happen in your body.

Now you have come to the core behind Tongkat Ali’s hormone inducing mechanism.

Tongkat Ali work by effectively “boost” your testosterone hormone. Some say testosterone is a sex hormone, but this is not entirely true.

Tongkat Ali’s testosterone-boosting action is backed by various scientific evidence and decades of research studies

Now, the real science is the fact that testosterone hormone production in our body is activated by a hormone known as Luteinising Hormone (LH).

Luteinizing hormone (LH) is a glycoprotein hormone which is co-secreted along with Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) in the adenohypophysis (anterior pituitary).

LH and FSH are released from your testis (men) and ovaries (women) from your pituitary glands.

According to, LH and FSH are hormones that helps your reproductive system. Here is a step-by-step explanation what happens when LH and FSH hormones are activated.

Here are the steps of action:

  1. LH causes the Leydig cells of the testes to produce testosterone in men.
  2. LH triggers the creation of steroid hormones from the ovaries in women. Additionally, LH assists in regulating the length and order of the menstrual cycle by playing roles in both ovulation and implantation of an egg in the uterus.


Tongkat Ali works by increasing your testosterone production. Here how it works to benefit your body.

We have covered the science of how Tongkat Ali work by producing testosterone needed for your body to function optimally. And most of the testosterone is produced in your testes for men, and in the ovary and adrenal gland in women.

In fact, testosterones are produced in different quantities by the Luteinizing Hormone (LH), which are activated from the bio-active compounds contained in Tongkat Ali roots.

So the efficacy of Tongkat Ali’s testosterone production depends largely on other factors such as your eating habits, health condition, exercises and other lifestyle factors.

But what we know that Tongkat Ali testosterone-restoring capability directly improves male reproductive system by increasing your body’s free testosterone bioavailability via the following main mechanisms.

  • Stimulating the secretion of Luteinzing Hormones (LH) which in turn stimulates the Leydig cells of your testicles to produce testosterone.
  • Reducing the conversion of Testosterone to Estrogen (aromatization),
  • Decrease in sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG)
  • Reduction in cortisol, the stress hormone that lowers testosterone

The net result of these effects is an increase in what science refers to as  “Free Testosterone”.

Tongkat Ali works wonderfully in the real world

With many consumer Tongkat Ali reviews out there, the best way to validate to find out Tongkat Ali’s efficacy and effectiveness in the real world is through clinical trials by scientists using human test subjects.

The mechanism of how Tongkat Ali work is by restoring normal testosterone levels by increasing the release of free testosterone from its binding hormone, the sex hormone-binding globulin.

In the real world, tests are performed to assess either of the following categories:

  • Empiricial evidence for any increase in your testosterone after consuming Tongkat Ali
  • The result of the increase testosterone – i.e whether it translate to increase muscle strength, growth, sperm motility, etc.

Here are some scientific studies to validate real-world performance of Tongkat Ali through human clinical trials:

  • Study by Dr. Shawn Talbott and Dr. Annie George published at the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition showed improved testosterone level by 37% in 63 test subjects (32 men and 31 women) after 4 weeks daily consumption of 200mg of Tongkat Ali extract.
  • Another study by Ralf R Henkel and Dr. Ismail Tambi showed that Tongkat Ali increases testosterone levels in both men and women. Test subjects between 57 to 72 years were given 400-mg daily of Tongkat Ali extract for 5 weeks. Other noticeable result was increased muscle strength in men and women.

Since testosterone in both men and women declines rapidly after a certain age, this makes Tongkat Ali a perfect natural choice that truly work!

Measure your testosterone level to validate whether Tongkat Ali works on your body

If you are not entirely convinced that Tongkat Ali does work, or you think it did not increase your testosterone hormones substantially, here is one way to find out.

In order to be doubly sure if Tongkat Ali does work, you can always check your testosterone level at your nearest doctor / clinic.

This is done by using blood sample test to measure the testosterone level.

Here is a real-life review of Tongkat Ali showing a testosterone test result over a period of 10 days. The editor compared two testosterone tests after consuming two Tongkat Ali products:

Testosterone Result
After Consuming Tongkat Ali Tea (5days)


Testosterone Result
After Consuming Tongkat Ali Supplement (5days)


Does Tongkat Ali delivers a remarkable improvement?

The result from consuming Tongkat Ali herbal extract increased his testosterone level (measured in nmol/L) from 12.50 to 16.33 in five days compared to a generic Tongkat Ali tea sold in the market.

So, if you are consuming pure Tongkat Ali supplement, you expect your testosterone levels to be increased significantly in a short period of time.

And since there are many Tongkat Ali products sold on Amazon today, you may want to choose high quality Tongkat Ali extract supplements to ensure optimal boost of testosterone in your body.

What is considered a “normal testosterone” level?

Getting your testosterone checked before and after consuming Tongkat Ali is a good way to validate whether Tongkat Ali works on you.

But what is considered a normal testosterone level in humans?

According to medical experts in testosterone therapy from South East Medical Australia, the level of testosterone varies in quantity.

Here is what the experts have revealed. The testosterone level, measured in T (nmol/l) range from a value of 1 to above 11:

  • T level under 6: Very low
  • T level 6-8: low
  • T level 9-11: ‘Down a little’

So, if you feel lethargic after long hours at work, lack of sexual desire, loss of hair growth, accumulation of excessive fat despite regular exercises, and other low testosterone-related symptoms, then chances are these may be strongly linked to drop in testosterone levels.

Tongkat Ali does its work by optimizing key functions of your body from the effect of increased testosterone.

Since Tongkat Ali has proven scientifically to increase the production of testosterone through Luteinising Hormone (LH), there are some great health benefits that you can enjoy.

You should know by now that testosterone activates various key functions in your body such as:

  • Sperm production
  • Genital Transformation
  • Muscle mass and growth
  • Behaviourial Traits (eg: competitive spirit)
  • Hair growth
  • Fat Metabolism
  • Heart Health

You can read more about it from here

So, what it means to you is the following:

If your testosterone is restored or increased by natural plant-based approach such as Tongkat Ali, you can enjoy the health benefits from improved functions in any of the areas stated above.

The result of health benefits from Tongkat Ali’s inherent mechanism in producing testosterone are as follows:

  1. Increases physical and mental energy
  2. Boosts sports performance
  3. Helps maintain a healthy anabolic/catabolic balance
  4. Helps reduce fatigue and improves sleep quality
  5. Encourages hormonal balance and healthy cortisol levels
  6. Helps maintain normal high free testosterone levels in men
  7. Encourages overall well-being and hormonal health
  8. Enhances libido, fertility and sexual function
  9. Assists in sustaining healthy weight levels and BMI
  10. Promotes androgen biosynthesis


These are health benefits of Tongkat Ali backed by scientific studies over a period of 20 years. The immense collection of research papers showed that Tongkat Ali or Longjack really work elevate health to the next level.

Tongkat Ali keeps you revitalized

If key functions of your body are at optimal levels due to the effect of testosterone-inducing Tongkat Ali, it means the herbal root work wonderfully to keep you revitalized at all times.

But since every one of us has varying degree of lifestyle, does Tongkat Ali work in various scenarios?

For instance, if you are idle (i.e passively sitting at home) or say, when you are busy and spending less time working out.

Because Tongkat Ali is a versatile herb and consumed as a daily dietary supplement for centuries, it works in various scenarios regardless of your lifestyle.

There is an overall consensus from customers expressing the feeling of being youthful, “I feel more energetic the next morning”, or “I feel younger again” after consuming Tongkat Ali.

In fact, if you want to improve your fertility you can greatly benefit from an improved libido and sperm production. Tongkat Ali is a proven alternative next to Viagra, Levitra or Cialis.

Does Tongkat Ali work if I am super-busy?

If you are experiencing a hectic lifestyle and spending less time exercising, Tongkat Ali can bring noticeable benefits for busy working adults.

Our  30-day long term review on Tongkat Ali with one of our test subjects provided amazing feedback in reducing stress and increase energy throughout the day.

So if you need that extra boost in energy to meet your crazy deadlines, just pop two capsules of 200mg Tongkat Ali daily to give a boost of energy. Try it for 7 days and feel the difference when you wake up in the morning or when staying up late nights.  

Afterall, most scientific studies that showed significant improvement in strength and other testosterone-induced benefits are based on longer 2-4 weeks consumption of Tongkat Ali herbal extract.

Does Tongkat Ali work if I am on a plant-based diet?

If you are already consuming plant-based diet, then you can reap maximum benefits from Tongkat Ali’s bio-active nutrients such as Eurycomanone, Glycosaponin, Polysaccharide and other protein binding nutrients.

This will help to further strengthen your body with the right nutrients to elevate your testosterone hormones and feel alive again.

Does Tongkat Ali work if I am a sports professional, bodybuilder or in competitive sports?

Tongkat Ali is dosage-dependent. If you are into bodybuilding, Tongkat Ali works well if taken at a higher dosage between 400mg to 600mg daily.

Tongkat Ali is always seen as a nutritional food to enhance muscle growth and strength. The high crude protein from Tongkat Ali is a perfect companion for your existing health stack alongside Maca, Ashwagandha, and other protein shakes.

With Tongkat Ali, the release of testosterone and balancing cortisol are important for athletes, sports professionals, bodybuilders, and high endurance sports.

Studies have showed Tongkat Ali promotes muscle growth, reduces body fat and boosts the extra energy that you need in your workout. There are several published studies on that and here is a summary:

There are many reasons why Tongkat Ali is the preferred pre-workout and post-workout drink and most of it are backed by scientific evidence.

Intermittent fasting, plant-based diet, herbal supplements, and exercises are the best combination to ensure optimal results from Tongkat Ali.

Real-world Tongkat Ali feedback based on a four-week review proved Tongkat Ali did work on body transformation when combined with body toning exercises and weight training.


I do not have a healthy lifestyle. So does Tongkat Ali work well with alcohol?

Tongkat Ali may not work as intended if you are not exercising or idling. This applies to most herbal supplements including Panax Ginseng, which offers similar benefits to Tongkat Ali.

There are studies that suggest Tongkat Ali works as an effective herbal supplement for hangover symptoms from alcohol consumption. 

The mechanism of action from Tongkat Ali works by reducing cortisol levels, which advertently increased from alcohol consumption.

However, we recommend that you should not consume Tongkat Ali with alcohol, but rather consume it after a heavy night out.

Tongkat Ali can and should be enjoyed on any occasions, with your favourite drink or coffee. In fact, you can enjoy a homemade Tongkat Ali coffee here.

Yes, you may also have heard of a Tongkat Ali infused red wine which was made popular in early 2010. If you decide to go this route, the maximum effect of testosterone production from Tongkat Ali may be lesser than someone who consumes pure herbal extract.

So it may not work well if your health goals is to lose weight, muscle growth or improve your libido. In fact, the bio-active nutrients from Tongkat Ali will go to waste.

Parting Thoughts

The science, scientific tests results and real-life observations form the basis that Tongkat does work with measurable health benefits.

Tongkat Ali’s anabolic and adaptogen mechanism works marvelously in various scenarios. So use it to boost your libido, or boost your performance in sports or if you are wanting to reduce your stubborn body fat whilst at the same time promoting muscle growth.

Similar to other natural plant-based supplements, Tongkat Ali is time-dependent, with noticeable and measurable improvements seen within weeks by working on your hormones. Some reported improvement on the second day of consuming Tongkat Ali.

And for optimal results, don’t forget to consume Tongkat Ali along with a good healthy diet, or you may perform intermittent fasting, and regular exercises to bring added benefits.

But if you are extremely lazy to hit the gym, or idling at home, consuming Tongkat Ali work by increasing your energy and competitive spirit from more production of testosterone in your body.

But remember to choose the finest quality Tongkat Ali or the one with the highest potency so that it works better for your.

If you have more questions, we have prepared a list of Tongkat Ali Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) here.

Till then, choose wisely and stay safe!

Naressa Khan contributes regularly on AKARALI. As a writer and journalist, Naressa is all about creating, deconstructing, and reassembling meanings through words. With this approach always in mind, she eagerly explores the nuances in life via the aspects of lifestyle, culture, travel, health, and wellness.

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