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Tongkat Ali Benefits

12 Potential Benefits Of Tongkat Ali That Are Backed by Science

You may come across Tongkat Ali on Amazon, eBay or Shopee – sold with a commercial name such as Long Jack, although both are from the same plant –  Eurycoma Longifolia, that grows predominantly in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Tongkat Ali is surely not a common name in the herbal dictionary, let alone the potential health benefits. Tongkat Ali in English is known as Long Jack, and has been used for centuries dated as far as 1700s. 

Millions have consumed this herbal root, but without knowing its full potential of health benefits. Modern science has led to the discovery of Tongkat Ali benefits in the early 90s.

As with any herbs, understanding the health benefits of Tongkat Ali is important before making a purchase.

One thing for sure, Tongkat Ali benefits both males and females. The range of benefits extends more than what you think it is.

We aim to bring more insights into the potential health benefits of Tongkat Ali from credible sources including research publications and white papers.

Technology innovation has enabled the health benefits of Tongkat Ali to be validated by scientists. More clinical trials have been performed in recent years using human test subjects through collaborative public-private research partnerships. 

To date, more than 700 human test subjects have participated in research and clinical trials to evaluate Tongkat Ali’s benefits.

If you think Tongkat Ali is beneficial only to men, then this article will correct the misconception and myth. With scientific validation of its health benefits, this allows brand owners to meet the demand for quality Tongkat Ali from both men and women. If you are new to this, here is a full list of top trusted Tongkat Ali brands that are popular globally.

In this article, we detail out 12 potential health benefits of Tongkat Ali compiled from various scientific, research studies and clinical trials that will save you time.

But if you are busy to read every benefit of Tongkat Ali, we summarize the top six health benefits of Tongkat Ali for both men and women below.

The above benefits are topline benefits of Tongkat Ali. By the end of this article, you will appreciate that Tongkat Ali benefits men and women in 12 key areas. 

Depending on your health objectives, the benefits of Tongkat Ali enables your body to function better, with more energy and strength. Although Tongkat Ali benefits men more than women, it is suitable for both gender in competitive sports or in balancing your hormone. You can gain an advantage to fuel your body or for reducing stress or anxiety too.

Now here is a quick summary of Tongkat Ali benefits.

Summary of Tongkat Ali health benefits

In addition to the detailed scientific papers used to support Tongkat Ali’s benefits, we provide our own Credibility & Trust Score for each health benefit that can be gained from Tongkat Ali. The assessment was performed by a group of independent experts based on scientific findings and other public documents.

1. Increases the Production of Testosterone

Credibility & Trust Score
4.5/5

2. Improves Sexual Health & Libido

Credibility & Trust Score
4.5/5

3. Improve Strength, Muscle & Physical Activities

Credibility & Trust Score
4/5

4. Stimulate Loss of Weight & Body Fat

Credibility & Trust Score
2.5/5

5. Potential Treatment for Osteoporosis

Credibility & Trust Score
2.5/5

6. Anti-Cancer properties to aid Cancer Treatment

Credibility & Trust Score
3.5/5

7. Reduce Stress, Anger & Improve Mood

Credibility & Trust Score
4/5

8. Enhancing the Immune System

Credibility & Trust Score
4/5

9. Potentially Reduce Blood Sugar Level

Credibility & Trust Score
1/5

10. Reduction in Blood Pressure

Credibility & Trust Score
1/5

11. Anti Inflammatory, Anti Bacterial and Parasitic Agent

Credibility & Trust Score
4/5

12. Exhibits Anti-Ulcer Properties

Credibility & Trust Score
4/5

What exactly is this herb?

How Tongkat Ali looks like

 ‘Tongkat Ali’ is from the Malay language that translates to Ali’s crutch/stick. Also known as the Malaysian Ginseng, Tongkat Ali 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. Between the two countries, Malaysia is widely accepted to be the major exporter of quality Tongkat Ali and here is why.

Not all of us are lucky. If you are not given the opportunity to venture deep into the forest to find one, here is how Tongkat Ali roots look like.

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].

Potential Benefits of Tongkat Ali

1. Increases the Production of Testosterone

Testosterone Atoms

Tongkat Ali is one of the natural herbs that has been successfully proven by scientists to regulate the testosterone hormone in both men and women in recent years.

Testosterone is one of the key hormones in our body that is associated with masculinity, energy, mood, stamina, libido and overall general health. Therefore, both men and women can gain similar advantages by restoring testosterone levels.

In fact, testosterone is responsible for so many functions in our body. You can find more 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.

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 and physical energy.

Here are science-backed research findings associated with testosterone restoration from consuming 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

Tongkat Ali has been touted to be the best natural remedy next to Viagra. The benefit of Tongkat Ali was found in supporting healthy male reproductive function and fertility – including sperm motility, semen production, libido, erectile function,

The mechanism works by regulating testosterone hormone that is responsible for sexual organs functions and libido.

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

The fact that Tongkat Ali is gaining rapid popularity as the preferred alternative to Viagra is due to its long term effectiveness and its versatility. Tongkat Ali has shown significant improvement in sperm motility and erection time for men. However, Tongkat Ali benefits women who are searching for a natural and safe way to boost libido.

For men searching for benefits of Tongkat Ali in order to improve libido, the scientifically proven benefits will convince you to try one without having to live with the side-effects of Viagra.

According to medical experts, low testosterone can be one of the causes of low libido.

The increasing number of research and clinical studies on Tongkat Ali’s benefits on men’s sexual health showed significant interest in the research community. Here are summary of the research on Tongkat Ali and its results on libido and men’s health. 

 

  • 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

The versatility of Tongkat Ali enables wider application as a functional ingredient that is widely popular amongst fitness and sports community. The benefit of adding Tongkat Ali gives a performance edge in strength and muscle growth.

Tongkat Ali is a popular performance ingredient that is mixed with other herbs such as Macca.

Tongkat Ali is widely used as a pre-workout drink by athletes and sports professionals in recent years as a safe replacement compared to steroids.

The health benefits of Tongkat Ali amongst sports and fitness communities enable a remarkable increase in performance-related activities – notably in muscle growth and strength.

Here are scientific studies on Tongkat Ali benefits on muscle growth and strength:

  • 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 and resulted in 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 Tongkat Ali’s ergogenic benefit 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 Weight Loss and Body Fat

With benefits stretching from boosting testosterone levels and increasing muscle strength, can Tongkat Ali directly achieve weight-loss by reducing fat? Or does Tongkat Ali directly promote leaner muscle?

Tongkat Ali is categorized by scientists as an adaptogen and anabolic plant.

Anabolic processes that happen in our body enables growth and mineralization of bone and increases in muscle mass. Tongkat Ali is highly anabolic and contains a high level of protein.

Earlier discovery by scientists showed how Tongkat Ali consumption has successfully resulted in increased muscle mass in active healthy adults. Yes, no Tongkat Ali benefits men and women when it comes to building muscle mass.

If you are a woman and reading this article, it is time to consider consuming Tongkat Ali if you are planning to reduce your weight.

However, we strongly believe the best way to achieve significant weight loss is through a combination of planned exercises, proper nutrition and the dietary supplements.

There is evidence that showed Tongkat Ali may potentially contribute to weight or fat loss for both men and women.

We found three research papers 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

Tongkat Ali was recently discovered by scientists to be a 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 have been early findings of anti-cancer properties found in Tongkat Ali although more research is required at this juncture. The research results have been significant although the same approach can be taken to measure Tongkat Ali’s effect on a larger sample of human test subjects:

 

  • 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 your stress hormone profile can be improved by daily consumption of  Tongkat Ali? There have been a handful of real-life customer feedback on the zen-like effect of taking Tongkat Ali.

Tongkat Ali is proven by scientists to reduce anger, tension and confusion – factors that influence your mood and stress levels. The benefit of Tongkat Ali in this area helps busy professionals or those who are experiencing depression or stressful situations.

For those searching for a natural remedy without side-effects, Tongkat Ali is a proven alternative to Celexa, Zoloft and Prozac.

The Tongkat Ali bio-active compound responsible to produce this calming-effect is alkaloid – which is found in coffee, nicotine and other natural ingredients. 

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 protects our body from virus and bacteria. The immune system is complex and early research on Tongkat Ali showed promising results to boost our immune system.

A research study conducted by Tokyo Medical University and Institute of Life Sciences in Japan in 2016 analyzes the effect of Tongkat Ali consumption using human test subjects.

Results showed the amount of T-cells, naïve T-cell amounts, and CD4+ were increased after 4-week period. Tests were performed by 84 human subjects (both middle-aged men and women)   [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.

Read detail analysis on how Tongkat Ali could potentially increase the number of immune cells (i.e T-cells, CD4+ and Naive T-Cells) in our body here.

 

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

Tongkat Ali is classified as an adaptogen, thus helps the body resist stressors of all kinds, whether physical, chemical or biological. 

At the same time, Tongkat Ali was found by scientists to reduce stress, anxiety and tension, largely due to  alkaloids and quassianoids found in Tongkat Ali.

However, does it Tongkat Ali benefit patients with high blood pressure? Or does it help to promote the widening of the blood vessels to reduce the blood pressure?

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 Promising 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.

The same can be said for Eurycoma Longifolia (Tongkat Ali).

Although used for centuries in Asia, Tongkat Ali’s global popularity in recent years is attributed by years of scientific studies, technology innovation and proven health benefits.

Modern science and innovation have helped to extract more benefits from Tongkat Ali. The latest technology such as Physta® freeze-dried water extraction technology offers superior health benefits due to higher potency.

The wide range of health benefits has enabled Tongkat Ali to be positioned as one of the novelty herbs – widely consumed not just by active sports professionals, but by both men and women across a wide range of age-group.

Those who are in mid-thirties and beyond, you can gain the most from Tongkat Ali benefits as a daily supplement to offset your hectic life.

Lastly, we would like to take the opportunity to thank scientists and researchers from around the world who have contributed endless hours and passion to test, validate the benefits of this amazing herb.

Yes, there is a promising future for Tongkat Ali. 

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.

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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  14. Md Yusof, Sarina & Zakaria, Zaiton & Abd. Hamid Karim, Aminuddin & Aiman, Suhana & Kadir, Zulkifli. (2016). Enhancement Effects of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) Supplementation on Performance Functions Following Strength Training in Middle-Aged Women. 10.1007/978-981-287-691-1_1.
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  24. Tee, B. H., Hoe, S. Z., Cheah, S. H., & Lam, S. K. (2016). First Report of Eurycoma longifolia Jack Root Extract Causing Relaxation of Aortic Rings in Rats. BioMed research international, 2016, 1361508. doi:10.1155/2016/1361508
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  27. Kavitha, N., Noordin, R., Chan, K. L., & Sasidharan, S. (2012). In vitro anti-Toxoplasma gondii activity of root extract/fractions of Eurycoma longifolia Jack. BMC complementary and alternative medicine12, 91. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-91
  28. Kuo P.C., Damu A.G., Lee K.H., Wu T.S. Cytotoxic and antimalarial constituents from the roots of Eurycoma longifolia.  Med. Chem. 2004;12:537–544. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2003.11.017
  29. Tada H., Yasuda F., Otani K., Doteuchi M., Ishihara Y., Shiro M. New antiulcer quassinoids from Eurycoma longifolia. (1991) European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 26  (3) , pp. 345-349
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One Response

  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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