Tongkat Ali vs Panax Ginseng Review – Which is better, stronger and more beneficial?

Last Updated : 30th December 2023

Tongkat Ali (Malaysian Ginseng) and Panax Ginseng (Red Korean Ginseng) are the two strongest herbs that are widely used by women and men for various health benefits. 

However, both come from a different family of trees; each root contains unique bio-active compounds that may benefit health in some areas.

But which is better? And should you buy Tongkat Ali or Panax Ginseng, or even both?

Choosing between Tongkat Ali or Panax Ginseng largely depends on your health objectives. This article will dive deep into the advantages of each herb, when to use them and how it may benefit your health goals.


Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) grows predominantly in Malaysia and Indonesia, whilst Panax Ginseng are found in Korea and some are known to grow even in the United States.

There are similarities and differences that you should know between these two herbs but suffice to say that each herb brings unique advantages in certain areas. You need to understand when to use Tongkat Ali or Panax Ginseng to deliver the intended health benefits.

Key Facts
  • Tongkat Ali comes from a plant Eurycoma Longifolia belonging to family tree known as Simaroubaceae.
  • Panax Ginseng comes from a family tree known as Araliaceae.
  • Tongkat Ali is left grown and harvested in the wild rainforests of Malaysia and Indonesia
  • Panax Ginseng is harvested on an open farm in Northeast China and the Korean Peninsula
Key Similarities between Tongkat Ali vs Panax Ginseng
  1. Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) is known as Malaysian Ginseng, and the word “ginseng” refers to the root of a plant with medicinal properties.
  2. Tongkat Ali (Malaysian Ginseng) and Panax Ginseng (Korean Ginseng) contain similar bioactive ingredients such as saponins and polysaccharides, but both differ in many ways.
  3. Tongkat Ali and Panax Ginseng have both recorded at least 600 clinical trials and research studies since 1970s – 2021
  4. Both Tongkat Ali and Panax Ginseng benefit men and women.
  5. Tongkat Ali and Panax Ginseng can be consumed in tea, coffee or even in capsule form.
  6. Both herbs are used to revitalize health for centuries.
Key Differences between Tongkat Ali and Panax Ginseng
  1. Tongkat Ali has unique bioactive ingredients such as eurycomanone, eurypeptides that are increasingly known to deliver superior hormonal effects on testosterone and cortisol levels compared to Panax Ginseng.
  2. Panax Ginseng has a unique bioactive ingredient known as ginsenosides that deliver a wide range of health benefits and is used for general well-being and longevity.
  3. Tongkat Ali has a stronger potential to improve mild ED symptoms and benefit men’s fertility by increasing sperm concentration and motility compared to Panax ginseng.
  4. Panax Ginseng performs better to promote brain function and as a potent antioxidant compared to Tongkat Ali.
  5. Tongkat Ali is more effective as a candida support supplement to prevent candida albicans overgrowth and as an antifungal supplement compared to Panax Ginseng.

To the untrained eyes, both ginsengs looks the same. An image of Tongkat Ali (Malaysian Ginseng) shown on the left and Panax Ginseng (Chinese Ginseng) on the right.

Based on the above image, Tongkat Ali may look the same as Panax Ginseng to the untrained eyes; with both roots having a strong light brown with a tint of yellowish undertone.

Most people cannot tell the difference at first glance but like any plant-based adaptogen, both contain similar bioactive ingredients that benefit your health in many ways.

Both Panax Ginseng and Tongkat Ali contain similar bioactive ingredients

Despite having its own set of unique bioactive ingredients, studies have shown that both Tongkat Ali (Malaysian Ginseng) and Panax Ginseng contain similar bioactive compounds such as saponin and polysaccharides, albeit in different quantities.

This gives both Tongkat Ali and Panax Ginseng similar anti-microbial, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties on the surface. However, due to other unique ingredients such as eurycomanone and eurypeptides (which are exclusively found in Tongkat Ali), Tongkat Ali may perform better in areas such as testosterone, weight loss, strength, mood and other libido.


Polysaccharides are polymeric carbohydrates that are mainly used for storing energy and providing support to cells and tissues.

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 immune function. Studies showed that saponin reduces cholesterol levels, kill disease-causing bacteria, scavenge oxidative stress and inhibit tumor growth. 

Saponins have been associated with various biological activities, such as anti-inflammatory, cholesterol-lowering and anti-cancer properties.

Panax Ginseng has lower saponin than Tongkat Ali

By the end of 2012, at least 289 saponins were reported by scientists from eleven different Panax ginseng species with an average percentage of saponin between 2 – 3%. The highest amount of saponin that can be extracted from Panax ginseng using freeze-dried and aqueous is around 13.87% of dry weight of ginseng, based on a study performed by Naturex (USA) using chromatography test in Labconco, USA.

The amount of saponin in Tongkat Ali is higher than Panax Ginseng, which delivers higher benefits.

Comparatively, freeze-dried Physta® Tongkat Ali showed saponin content as high as 48% using chromatography tests, making one of the more potent ginseng that is on the market today.

So between Panax Ginseng vs Tongkat Ali, Tongkat Ali is a clear winner due to a higher amount of saponin at 48% compared to panax ginseng at 13.7%. A higher saponin level equates to higher efficacy in inducing any pharmacological benefits to health.

Panax Ginseng vs. Tongkat Ali: Which is better?

Tongkat Ali and Panax Ginseng may have similarities and distinct differences, but each delivers a set of health benefits due to its unique bioactive ingredients.

Choosing Tongkat Ali or Panax ginseng as a daily supplement largely depends on your health goals. For instance, Tongkat Ali may work better for long-term testosterone and libido support compared to panax ginseng due to fewer side effects and higher efficacy.

If you are a woman, studies and clinical trials have shown that Tongkat Ali benefits women’s health more than panax ginseng. As an all-rounder herbal supplement for women, Tongkat Ali outperforms Panax Ginseng when it comes to libido support, weight loss, and muscle strength. In addition, Tongkat Ali is widely used as an anti-fungal supplement against vaginal candidiasis to support vaginal health compared to Panax (Red Korean) ginseng.

Now let’s examine Tongkat Ali vs. Panax Ginseng to understand which herb works better to achieve those specific health benefits.

Antioxidants: Ginseng has more antioxidants than Tongkat Ali
Heart Disease: Ginseng works better than Tongkat Ali
Testosterone: Tongkat Ali is more superior than Ginseng
Erectile Dysfunction: Tongkat Ali wins hands down
Menopausal: Both Ginseng and Tongkat Ali benefit women
Side Effects: Ginseng has more serious side effects
  • There are serious safety issues when consuming Ginseng reported by scientists and researchers around the world since 1978 compared to Tongkat Ali’s mild side effects.

  • In fact, 35% of clinical trials reported side effects of ginseng which include mild and slight symptoms include dizziness, facial flushing, headaches, transient anxiety, diarrhea, insomnia, hypoglycemia, nausea, dyspepsia, stomach discomfort, body rash and pruritus, palpitation, urticarial condition, vomiting, fever, nervousness, and constipation

  • In comparison, Tongkat Ali has fewer side effects such as stomach discomfort and mild insomnia. Most consumers reported no side effects when taking Tongkat Ali with the recommended daily dosage.

Now, let’s deep dive into Tongkat Ali and Panax Ginseng scientifically-backed health benefits.

Tongkat Ali Potential Health Benefits

Tongkat Ali is a century-old Malaysian herbal tradition – from coffee to functional food and dietary supplements.

Extraction technology from years of research and development has made Tongkat Ali more potent, versatile and safe. You can consume it daily, or when you need it.

Strong scientific evidence on Tongkat Ali’s proven health benefits has made it popular amongst busy professionals and widely used by sports professionals and athletes to boost muscle growth and anaerobic performance.

Here is a glimpse of Tongkat Ali key benefits:

Tongkat Ali in capsules form by AKARALI Malaysia

1.  Aphrodisiac effects

Tongkat Ali has been used as a natural aphrodisiac for centuries. Studies show positive effects on men’s libido through the hormonal pathway in elevating testosteron levels in the adrenal glands and tests. Studies showed an increased libido in men in the range between 8.4 and 8.7% and 162% improvement in erection time.

More of it here.

2.  Boosting testosterone

It helps you produce a higher amount of testosterone by fixing any disturbance that you may have regarding testosterone production. It also unlocks free testosterone. Tongkat Ali contains the compounds 13-alpha epoxy Eurycomanone that helps boosting the testosterone by up to 122% in women and by up to 61% in men.

More of it here.

3.  Improves fertility

 If you are a man and reading this, you should know that Tongkat Ali will bring you 65% more sperm and 58% more sperm motility. A study published in 2010 reported the changes in sperm quality in 75 men who were given 200mg of Tongkat Ali each day for three months. Their sperm quality improved significantly, and 15% of participants reported unplanned pregnancies following the treatment.

4. Stress reliever

When your body and mind are under stress, the level of cortisol will increase while the testosterone level is suppressed. Tongkat Ali takes care of your levels of stress by affecting your endocrine system. Studies showed it reduces anger by 11% and tension by 12% after 4 weeks of consuming Tongkat Ali.

More of it here

5.  Fat loss and muscle gain

Are you feeling fatty or bloated? Don’t worry! Tongkat Ali is especially popular natural supplement among bodybuilders who are looking to change their muscle to fat ratio. However, you don’t need to be a pro athlete to feel the potential improvements.

A promising Malaysian study published in 2002 showed that Tongkat Ali has the potential to improve body mass and decreased the percentage of body fat.

6. Energy booster

The rise in energy that you’ll get from this root can help you slide through the busy day by assisting your hormone’s balance with the ability to speed up metabolism to complement your fitness regime. 

The mechanism works by rising your testosterone hormones and by regulating it improve other functions of your body. Hence this is why Tongkat Ali is highly attractive amongst the fitness community – pre-mixed Tongkat Ali with other Maca herbs as pre-work out drinks proved to be popular until today.

Panax Ginseng Potential Benefits

Panax Ginseng, or Red Korean Ginseng has been consumed for centuries, and the tradition of using Ginseng to heal, treat diseases and improve general health originates from mainland China. You may find Ginseng tea in every corner of the city and now largely consumed as part of a person’s daily diet. 

The amount of Ginseng contained in each tea varies largely and the potency of it depends largely on the extraction technology, purity of the extract, maturity of the plant, and the quality of the soil used to harvest the plant.

1. Improves “the notorious ED”

There is significant evidence that after 12 weeks of the experiment, this Panax Ginseng is significantly improving erectile dysfunction. Seventy-eight men from 25–50 years of age; suffering from mild to moderate erectile dysfunction, participated in this study.

Researchers concluded that Ginseng might be an effective alternative treatment for impotence.

As active ingredients of Ginseng, ginsenosides, are causing increased release of nitric oxide, which spreads the blood vessels and allows better blood flow to the penis.


2. Promotes longevity

In 1933 the New York Times published a news article about the death of Professor Li Chung Jun, who lived for two and a half centuries!

Yes, you read it right. His age, 256 years, was officially confirmed by the Chinese government and several independent researchers. Allegedly, the long-lived Li Cung outlived 23 women. He experienced eleven generations of his descendants. The herbs he collected and used helped him to reach such an astonishing age.

Guess what herb was in his diet mix?!

3.  Potent Antioxidant

Clear the issues that you are not even aware of.

Ginseng has beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Some test studies have shown that Ginseng extracts could inhibit inflammation and increase antioxidant capacity in cells.


4. Anti-depression & Anti-anxiety

Ginseng has an excellent anti-stress treatment, but unlike caffeine, it does not cause the so-called depressive phase. It is assumed that such action of Ginseng comes from an increase in the activity of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) in the brain but without the involvement of the adrenal glands that ACTH otherwise activates.

5. May benefit brain function

The latest US study has investigated whether a pure Ginseng extract can protect the brain from toxins that cause weaker physical mobility and loss of neurons. Testing carried out in laboratory mice showed that concentrated Ginseng extract significantly reduced the induced damage and brain cell loss.

It turned out that ginsenosides act as antioxidants and protect against oxidative damage that is responsible for the development of Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease.


6. Fights obesity

One study favors the use of this Chinese superfood to fight against obesity.

Remember, you need to be in great shape to get maximum for your sexual life. This is very important!

Study says: “Ginsenosides (the major active component in ginseng) may help control appetite and prevent the over intake of food energy by improving leptin resistance, and reducing the secretion of neuropeptide Y which plays a leading role in the regulation of eating behavior.”                   


FAQ: User Guide

Find more in-depth answers on Panax Ginseng and Tongkat Ali with our comprehensive user guide.

Can I take Tongkat Ali and Panax Ginseng together?

Tongkat Ali and Panax Ginseng can be taken together in small doses between 100mg to 200mg daily, but users may experience acute side effects such as headache, nausea and jittery. It is not advisable to take Tongkat Ali and panax ginseng in high doses of more than 200mg per day due to limited studies on the toxicity on liver and kidneys. Due to the lack of safety studies on liver and kidneys, health experts advised that panax ginseng should not be taken more than 6 months. However, taking Tongkat Ali at the recommended dosage (without pairing it with ginseng) may not affect your liver functions or kidneys as evidenced in early in-vitro studies.

Should I buy both Panax Ginseng and Tongkat Ali to increase my testosterone?

Yes, you may buy testosterone supplements containing panax ginseng (Korean Ginseng) and Tongkat Ali (Malaysian Ginseng) as the main active ingredients. Whilst both panax ginseng and tongkat ali may in theory contribute to higher testosterone increase, there are currently no human studies to study the effects of poly-herbal formulation on total testosterone or free testosterone. The downside of taking testosterone supplements with high dose of panax ginseng (600mg to 1,200mg with 50% to 80% ginsenosides) may cause liver and kidney damage compared to taking Tongkat Ali as a single-ingredient supplement.

Which herb is better for women, Tongkat Ali or Panax Ginseng?

Tongkat Ali performs better to restore energy, libido, strength and for vaginal health compared to Panax ginseng for aging women due to the number of human clinical studies. Some of the Tongkat Ali benefits for women are derived from placebo-controlled and randomized studies which of a higher quality. This helps to reaffirm that Tongkat Ali is indeed a better herb for women for long term use as evidenced from the rising clinical trials and pre-clinical studies.

Is Panax Ginseng good for weight loss?

Panax Ginseng and Tongkat Ali are both effective in promoting weight loss, making it the strongest herbal supplement for weight loss. A 2014 study published Journal of Ginseng Research showed the effects of weight loss of panax ginseng on obese women. At the same time, a recent 2021 study on Tongkat Ali showed the effect of weight loss on 96 obese men due to its thermogenic properties by burning fat and promoting higher metabolism after 112 days. The double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized study published by Phytotherapy Research suggests that Tongkat Ali may have a better edge compared to Panax Ginseng due to its long-term safety and efficacy as a weight loss supplement when paired with regular exercises.

Is Panax Ginseng safe to be taken during pregnancy?

Panax ginseng should be consumed with caution and it is advisable to avoid taking ginseng during pregnancy, during first trimester or during lactation due to lack of human studies. In-vitro studies showed risks of teratogenicity (i.e ability to cause defects in a developing fetus) with exposure to ginsenosides from panax ginseng.


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

Our articles are third party reviewed by our panel of experts and medical advisors to ensure the facts are accurate and credible. These are validated against multiple source references which include but not limited to research studies, peer-reviewed journals, pre-clinical studies, clinical tests and other credible publications.

Our panel of medical advisors and experts are highly experienced in their individual fields. However, they do not provide any medical advice or recommendations arising from content published in this article.

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One Response

  1. It feels me that my libido is going skyrocket. I would mention it decreases stress and increases energy though. It also certainly helps my mindset and focus for training and it sure feels testosterone increased. My experience in taking Tongkat Ali is really cool in experiencing a great orgasm and in calm mind.

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