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12 Potential Benefits Of Tongkat Ali  That Are Backed by Science
Tongkat Ali Benefits

12 Potential Benefits Of Tongkat Ali That Are Backed by Science

There are few things which remains a myth until you spend some time researching for credible information. Fortunately, Tongkat Ali herbal root requires no introduction.

You may have seen Tongkat Ali sold on Amazon, eBay, Lazada, Shopee – some of which marketed under a more popular name such as Long Jack. Here is a full list of top trusted Tongkat Ali brands that are popular globally.

In this article, we summarize 12 potential benefits of Tongkat Ali compiled from various scientific, research studies and clinical trials that will save you time from consuming and evaluating tons of information on the internet.

If you are keen to compare Tongkat Ali and other herbs such as Panax Ginseng, Maca, Horny Goat Weed, Yohimbine and others, please find out our comprehensive guide here.

But wait, before we go into that.

What exactly is this herb?

How Tongkat Ali looks like

The popularity of  ‘Tongkat Ali’ name originates from a Malay word that translates to Ali’s crutch / stick. Also known as the Malaysian Ginseng, the root comes from a plant known as Eurycoma Longifolia. This herbal medicinal plant is found mainly in the deep rainforests of South-East Asian countries (Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Thailand and Vietnam) [1].

The world’s Tongkat Ali supply comes mainly from Malaysia and Indonesia. Malaysia is regarded to be the major exporter of Tongkat Ali trusted by million of consumer and here is why.

Now to those of you who are not lucky enough to venture deep into the forest to find one, here is how the roots of Tongkat Ali look like:

It is believed that the first Tongkat Ali plant (Eurycoma Longifolia) was discovered by modern civilization back in the early 1100s. The Rajah of Malacca (a Malaysian state), Major General William Farquhar kept an original painting of Tongkat Ali which was an official gift by the Malaysian rulers in 1818.

The general components of Tongkat Ali consists of various bioactive compounds such as:

  1. Eurycomalactone,
  2. Eurycomaoside,
  3. Eurycolactone, and
  4. Eurycomanone,
  5. A major share of alkaloids and quassinoids. Quassinoids is found to contain anticancer, antiulcer, and anti-parasitic effects, while Alkaloids, contains antibacterial and anticancer properties [2].

Diffusing Myths and Fakes Claims

Having said that, before you think of throwing doubts or a barrage of criticisms on it’s potential benefits, we explicitly put a disclaimer that these potentials written in this article are based on scientific evidence conducted by various independent scientific research and does not represent any form of recommendation to purchase any of the products mentioned here.

The full list of papers is published at the end of this blog for easy reference in case you are involved in similar research work in future, or simply curious about it.

We hope the information is useful to make better judgement on Tongkat Ali and possibly diffuse some fakes claims, untruths and popular myths about this ancient herb.

1. Increases the Production of Testosterone

Testosterone Atoms

Now everyone knows that testosterone is one of the key hormones in our body that is associated with masculinity, energy, mood, stamina, libido and overall general health. It is responsible for so many functions in our body and you can find a comprehensive information from Harvard here.

As we age, the testosterone levels drop in both men and women, more so after 35 years with testosterone levels being only 40-50% of youthful levels at 60 years of age.

More about testosterone facts and tips here.

How do you know if you are low on testosterone?

If you feel lazy and lethargic or simply unsure, there are 12 warning signs to show that you are low on testosterone. Check out the early signs here.

This reduced testosterone levels could be due to a variety of reasons – work stress and lifestyle such as food diet, exercise, and sleeping patterns.

If you are not exercising regularly, then start picking up those dumbbells and hit the treadmill before we even discuss the benefits of natural health supplements! This may be a good way to naturally kick start your metabolism and testosterone levels.

women with high testosterone and muscle

Research has shown that increased testosterone results in various health benefits; improved muscle bulk, decreased amount of body fat, increased mental/physical energy, and an overall improvement in health for both men and women.

Here are science-backed research findings associated with testosterone restoration from consumption of Tongkat Ali:

  • Tongkat Ali extract appeared to be beneficial as a health supplement in disabling the appearance of late-onset hypogonadism (LOH) symptoms. For a period of one month, out of 320 patients suffering from late-onset hypogonadism (LOH), 76 patients were given 200 mg of water-soluble Tongkat Ali extract and results showed improvement in Ageing Males’ Symptoms (AMS) scores and improvement in the serum testosterone concentration [3]. The method of AMS score is explained here.
  • Likewise, during another research by the University of Western Cape, South Africa, both men and women (ranging from the age of 57-72 years) were daily given 400-mg of Tongkat Ali extract over a course of 5 weeks. It was observed that Tongkat Ali not only enhanced the levels of testosterone but also greatly promoted muscle strength in men and women. It was shown that women had an increase in free testosterone levels owing to the momentous reduction in the concentrations of sex hormone-binding globulin [4].

2. Improves Sexual Health & Libido

The rising number of erectile dysfunction (ED) cases globally has attracted more scientists to find the next breakthrough to treat erectile dysfunction and improve libido. In the United States alone, more than 30 million men were diagnosed with ED out of 150 million cases worldwide.

There are ways to improve sexual libido and restoring your testosterone level is the easiest way to feel a noticeable difference. According to medical experts, low testosterone can be one of the causes of low libido. Read more here

Therefore assuming your testosterone hormone is working efficiently (i.e fully restored), then it is positively correlated to a better sexual libido.

If you are millennial and reading this, you may be ignorant to the fact that Tongkat Ali is gaining popularity as the preferred alternative to Viagra. There is a silent but growing trend of consumers who prefer organic remedy without the notable side-effects of Viagra.

The increasing number of research work performed on Tongkat Ali in recent years on sexual libido is simply shocking. Here are few that excites us:

 

  • Similarly, in another 9-month clinical trial at Wellmen Clinic, Damai Service Hospital by Dr. Tambi regarding infertility, it was seen that 75 males under the effect of Tongkat Ali supplements had an improved rate of fertility owing to the increased rate of semen volume, increased concentration of sperm, increased sperm motility, and sperm quality [7].
  • Based on similar studies conducted by the University of Science Malaysia, showed similar results. There was evidence to suggest that animal’s estrogen’s inhibitory effects on the production of testosterone were overturned along with a significant increase in sperm production, amount, vitality, concentration, and motility owing to the effects of Tongkat Ali [10].
  • In another study conducted published at PhytoMedicine, the consumption of Tongkat Ali was seen to result in improved sexual libido, sexual stimulation, and performance  [11].

3. Improve Strength, Muscle & Physical Activities

If you are a gym rat or actively seeking to improve your physical activities or performance through the boost of a health nutrition, you may find the potentials of Tongkat Ali is worth considering.

Tongkat Ali is already a popular mix with other herbs such as Macca, commonly used as a pre-workout drink for some time now with moderate to significant results.

  • In a study of 32 men published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 11g daily of Tongkat Ali supplements were given for 4 weeks which exhibited increased total strength based on squats, bench and deadlift exercise [12]

 

  • Similarly, in another 5 week study by Department of Medical Bioscience in the University of Western Cape, South Africa where 13 men and 12 women were given 400 mg each of Tongkat Ali daily revealed an increase of 16.6% of the muscular force hand-grip test in men and 13.7% in women. This study also confirms the ergogenic advantage through improved muscle strength [13].

 

  • Tongkat Ali had a great impact on the improved muscle strength of middle-aged women too. This effect was found in a study conducted by the University of MARA Technology Malaysia on 31 women between 45 to 59 years. It was revealed that in a duration of 12 weeks, 200mg of Tongkat Ali daily resulted in 67% improvement on the bench press, 21% improvement on upper body power and significant improvement in handgrip strength [14].

 

  • In a similar 5-week study on 14 men published on the British Journal Sports of Medicine in 2003, showed an improvement in the strength and size of muscle. This is over and above significant improvement in athletic performance based on daily intake of Tongkat Ali [15]

4. Stimulate Loss of Weight & Body Fat

Countless “weight loss” claims have been used extensively to deceive consumers into believing how herbs can detoxify your body. Almost every product in the market these days promotes accelerated weight loss!

Significant weight loss can be achieved from a combination of planned exercise, proper nutrition and coupled with a healthy dose of supplements at the right time at the right quantity.

There is not many documented scientific evidence on Tongkat Ali in this area but we found two research works recently that showed promising results:

 

  • Similarly, another research published on British Journal of Sports Medicine, Tongkat Ali showed increased in muscle strength and bulk with reduced body fat when given to 14 healthy men for 5 weeks. [15].

 

  • The research by the University of South Africa, Tongkat Ali was shown to decrease body weight and belly fat in mice, with no change in the internal organ’s weight [5].

5. Potential Treatment for Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body “loses too much bone” and as the bones become weak, it may be susceptible to break/ crack – usually from a fall or, in serious cases, from sneezing or minor bumps.

In simpler term, osteoporosis means the bone is porous. When viewed under a microscope, a healthy bone looks like a honeycomb. When osteoporosis occurs, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb are much larger than in healthy bone.

Recent research on Tongkat Ali showed properties that are positive to bone development, thus potentially can be used to treat osteoporosis. Here are some research findings:

  • Tongkat Ali was found to strengthen bones and ultimately treating male osteoporosis by a group of researchers at the Faculty of Medicine, the National University of Malaysia . This finding was due to Tongkat Ali’s major role in increasing testosterone levels, which not only stimulates the production of bone-forming cells (osteoblasts), but also activates the death of bone break down cells (osteoclasts), which eventually leads to bone mass preservation [16].

 

  • There is evidence in other studies to suggest that the consumption of Tongkat Ali stimulated bone formation as it triggers the manufacture of proteins which are bone-building in nature (such as OCN, RUNX-2, and BMP-2) [17].

 

  • In a similar study, calcium loss was prevented by Tongkat Ali in the impotent male rats suffering from osteoporosis in their bones [18].

6. Anti-Cancer properties to aid Cancer Treatment

With the alarming fact that one in 5 men and one in 6 women worldwide are diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime is worrying. Globally, the number of people who are alive within 5 years of a cancer diagnosis is estimated to be 43.8 million.

There has been early findings of anti-cancer properties exhibited by Tongkat Ali although more research is required to measure its effect on larger sample size:

  • As mentioned before, Eurycomanone and eurycomanol are two of the major quassinoids present in Tongkat Ali, showed that there was evidence to suggest that these components decrease the growth and progression of cancer cell [2].

7. Reduce Stress, Anger & Improve Mood

Do you know that the stress hormone profile can be improved by the daily supplementation with Tongkat Ali root extract?

The primary bio-active compound that has the same effect is due to alkaloid – which is  found in coffee, nicotine and other substances.

A study conducted by a well-known psychonutritionist Dr Shawn Talbot published at The Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition showed significant improvement in mood.

This study was performed in 2013 on 63 men and women who were in a reasonably stressed state. The results showed that 200mg daily of Tongkat Ali for 4 weeks resulted in:

  • Reduction in Tension by 11%
  • Reduction in Anger by 12%
  • Reduction in Confusion by 15%
  • Reduced cortisol exposure by 16% [21]

These are scientific-backed proof that prehistoric and traditional remedy such as Tongkat Ali may be an effective method in protecting the body from the damaging effects of contemporary chronic stress – attribute by daily customary stress due to lack of sleep, dieting, and lack of exercise.

8. Enhancing the Immune System

Our immune system is complex and hard to measure by scientists. Not many research studies that we found to conclusively show an improvement of the immune system due to Tongkat Ali consumption except for breakthrough finding in Japan.

A research study conducted by Tokyo Medical University and Institute of Life Sciences in Japan in 2016 analyzes the molecular changes in our body cells that are linked to our immune system.

The result showed the amount of T-cells, naïve T-cell amounts, and CD4+ were increased when 200mg of Tongkat Ali were consumed by 84 human subjects (both middle-aged men and women) during the 4-week period [22].

This breakthrough in research and development in Japan was a milestone as Tongkat Ali is gaining rapid interest amongst mainstream scientists around the world.

This marks as a form of industry acceptance, especially within the tightly regulated pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industry.

9. Potentially Reduce Blood Sugar Level

Maintaining your blood sugar level is crucial as you age due to prolonged exposure of processed sugar from unregulated diet regime. When or if you are diagnosed with diabetes, your blood sugar level may be consistently high and can damage your body.

American Diabetes Association estimates 86 million people in the US are diagnosed with diabetes alone with more than 400 million people diagnosed with diabetes as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO). You may download the WHO Global Report on Diabetes here.

What Are Normal Blood Sugar Levels?

The blood sugar levels fluctuate between 60 mg/dL to 140mg/dL depending on your health condition and lifestyle. For some people, 60 is considered normal, for others it may by 90. You may read more on how doctors diagonise if you have diabetes.   

Whilst there are two common medications such as insulin and amylinomimetic drugs for diabetic patients, more are seeking for alternative herbal treatments.

Recognized as one of the top universities in ASEAN, a research conducted by Bioscience Department of the National University of Malaysia found that Tongkat Ali contributed to a substantial decrease of blood sugar levels [23].

10. Reduction in Blood Pressure

We have touched earlier how Tongkat Ali was found to reduce stress and produce calming effects due to the presence of alkaloids and quassianoids. We also investigated how this impact the blood pressure levels in our body.

We found the first research experiment performed to investigate the effect of Tongkat Ali on blood pressure levels by the Faculty of Medicine, the University of Malaya. This study published in the Journal of BioMed Research International in 2016, showed that Tongkat Ali enables the widening of blood vessels, resulting in reduced blood pressure [24].

However, further clinical trials need to be conducted on a larger sample size to further validate these findings.

11. Anti Inflammatory, Anti Bacterial and Parasitic Agent

Most organic herbs have inherent anti-inflammatory, anti-bacteria and some form of anti-parasitic agents embedded in their genes. However, two pertinent questions:

  • How effective are these agents to our body?
  • Can these effects be measurable by science?

Lets find out!

  • A recent study in 2019 by a group of collaborative researchers from Kangwon National University in Korea and Hanoi University of Pharmacy found that Tongkat Ali contains anti-inflammatory properties. You may find their findings from the journal paper here.

 

  • In a study by Taif University published in the Saudi Medical Journal, it has been exhibited that the growth of harmful bacteria (which includes Salmonella, staph, typhoid-causing bacteria E and. coli,) was inhibited by Tongkat Ali in the laboratory [25].

 

  • Owing to the presence of quassinoids in Tongkat Ali, it has certain anti-parasitic properties which not only inhibit the growth of parasite, but also its movement and reproduction [2].

 

  • In another study conducted in the laboratory by a group of researchers at the University of Malaya in 2015, Tongkat Ali was seen to constrain the growth and production of a parasite (Blastocystis sp) which causes intestinal problems in our human body. Tongkat Ali exhibited the highest anti-protozoal activity at 1.0 mg/ml [26].

 

  • Moreover, the growth of Toxoplasma gondii (toxoplasmosis causing parasite) was also seen to be inhibited by Tongkat Ali in another laboratory study [27].

12. Exhibits Anti-Ulcer Properties

There are many types of abdominal or stomach related injuries that one can experience from mild discomfort to serious injuries. Further explanation here on abdominal injury by the Oregon Health and Science University.

Besides anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour properties, further research on Tongkat Ali revealed anti-ulcer properties which paved new discoveries to potentially combat stomach related injuries. Here are some findings.

  • A group of scientists in Shionogi Research Laboratories in Japan found evidence to suggest that the quassinoids (eurycomanone and pasakbumin-B) present in Tongkat Ali prevent the formation of ulcers by decreasing the surplus amount of acid in the stomach. The study was published in 2004 in the European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and you can access the paper here. [29].
  • Similarly, in a separate study by the National University of Malaysia, the severity of alcohol-induced stomach injuries was also decreased owing to the stimulation by Tongkat Ali [30].

A Glowing Future

From an industry perspective, it took more than 200 years for the world to fully recognize cannabis for it’s medical benefits despite warnings by doctors and Government around the world. For the record, cannabis was first used in the Middle East as early as 800 A.D.

Tongkat Ali’s growing popularity as a scientifically proven health supplement in recent years was made possible due to the advancement in technology and research. 

We would like to thank scientists and researchers from around the world who have contributed endless hours and passion to test, validate and analyze this amazing herb for the sake of our future generation.

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Disclaimer: Content published in this article is not intended to provide any form of recommendations, directly or indirectly to purchase or consume herbal supplements, drugs, medications, alternative remedies and practices or any brands mentioned in this article. By reading this, the sole responsibility and decision lies on the reader to make an informed decision based on publicly available information published on the internet. Any herbal supplements can be used as a health supplement, dietary plan or to treat illnesses. However, we encourage you to consult your nearest doctor before making any purchase from this website or any other websites or social platforms after reading this article. We do not hold any responsibility or accountability for any products purchased from this website or any third-party websites that are linked to this articles, sales channels or social platforms.

REFERENCES

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Can I use Ashwaganda or other natural products a week and Tongkat ali the next so as to not have to put back the use of other products for a prolonged period of time? Will this reach the synergy of both supplements? Thanks for your great insights.

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