Yellow, Black or Red Tongkat Ali: Which is the best for you?

Are you searching for the best Tongkat Ali? Or are you comparing Yellow vs Black Tongkat Ali, or Yellow vs Red Tongkat Ali before deciding which one is the best?

Now, this article shares the differences between various Tongkat Ali plants, their potency and efficacy on health, safety and which is the best type of Tongkat Ali that you should buy.

In this article, we shall deep-dive into various types of Tongkat Ali that are currently sold in the market today to guide which type of Tongkat Ali is better suited for you.


Generally, there are three types of Tongkat Ali (Yellow Tongkat Ali, Black Tongkat Ali and Red Tongkat Ali), but each species has different bioactive ingredients despite coming from the same family tree. 

Cross sectional root of (a) Yellow Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia), (b) Red Tongkat Ali (Stema Tuberosa)  and (c) Black Tongkat Ali – Polyalthia Bullata

Yellow Tongkat Ali
  • Scientific Name: Eurycoma Longifolia
  • Colour: Bright yellow with light yellowish-brown undertones
Black Tongkat Ali
  • Scientific Name: Polyalthia Bullata
  • Colour: Dark brown-grey with charcoal undertones
Red Tongkat Ali
  • Scientific Name: Stema Tuberosa
  • Colour: Brown with strong tones of brownish red at the center of the root.

According to Head Scientist Dr. Annie George from Biotropic Malaysia, Yellow Tongkat Ali (i.e Eurycoma Longifolia) is the best type of Tongkat Ali as it is widely documented by scientists with more than 300 research studies to date. Furthermore, it is widely consumed for centuries and regarded as safe when taken in small doses.

We shall dive more into the differences between Yellow, Red and Black Tongkat Ali in this article to find out which is the best Tongkat Ali that you should buy.

Head-to-Head Comparison

We compare head-to-head to determine the best type of Tongkat Ali based on six criteria. This is based on a score of 1-5 (Low to Very High).

Popularity is based on the number of products sold in the market, number of social media mentions, search inquiries and media coverage.

How easy to source or harvest Tongkat Ali plants through sustainable harvesting in the country of origin? Are there regulations or restrictions imposed for exporting Tongkat Ali outside the country of origin?

Tongkat Ali’s potency is measured based on the percentage of bio-active compounds (eg: eurycomanone, glycosaponin, etc) that can be extracted including the various extraction methods – eg: traditional extraction methods (eg: boiling, heat-dried) or advanced extraction technologies (eg: freeze-dried, standardized extract)

The number of potential or proven health benefits based on credible sources such as scientific studies, clinical trials, and research publications. The number of clinical tests for each Tongkat Ali type is considered in this assessment.

The number of research and scientific papers published to date and other public documents related to the research and development activities.

Measuring the health risks based on the ingredients, content and side-effects collected from scientific studies and other public information.  We also investigate the level of mercury and lead that can be detrimental to your health.

Yellow Tongkat Ali

Plant Name: Eurycoma Longifiolia


Yellow Tongkat Ali comes from a plant known as Eurycoma Longifolia. Marked by its distinctive yellow root, the plant grows naturally in remote rainforests of Malaysia, Indonesia and some smaller parts of Southern Thailand. 

Yellow Tongkat Ali represents almost 90% of the total global Tongkat Ali market share, which makes it very popular in the US, UK, and Europe.

Quality Tongkat Ali products are generally sourced from yellow Tongkat Ali plants which are harvested in the wild rainforests of Malaysia through sustainable replantation programs.


The Yellow Tongkat Ali is the most widely researched Tongkat Ali with more than 200 research studies and clinical trials published to date.

In fact, the Tongkat Ali standards by the Malaysian Standard MS2409 are based on yellow Tongkat Ali. And there few yellow Tongkat Ali brands that you should consider buying.

AKARALI is the best Yellow Tongkat Ali in the world; backed by 26 clinical trials from 20 years of research due to its highly acclaimed MIT-formulated Physta® Tongkat Ali extract.

Many scientists and researchers reported that AKARALI yellow Tongkat Ali delivers more health benefits compared to other types of Tongkat Ali as it is clinically tested to be potent and safe.

In fact, a recent study showed that Yellow Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) performed better in promoting libido and sexual mating behaviour than Red Tongkat Ali (Stema Tuberosa).


Pure Yellow Tongkat Ali has the most bitter taste compared to red or black Tongkat Ali variants. The bitterness lingers at the back of your mouth for a minimum of 5 minutes. 

The reason for its extreme bitterness is due to the high level of eurycomanone – a key potency marker of Tongkat Ali. The more bitter it taste, the more likelyhood it has higher eurycomanone.

Eurycomanone is the most useful bioactive quassinoid present in yellow Tongkat Ali and widely proven by scientists to increase testosterone, whilst exhibiting anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.


Proven Benefits
Research Publications
Health Risks

Black Tongkat Ali

Plant Name : Polyalthia Bullata


Black Tongkat Ali comes from a plant known as Polyalthia bullata with a small root at 2-3 cm in diameter, which is a significantly smaller diameter than yellow Tongkat Ali.

Also known as Wild Black Gorilla, Tongkat Ali Baginda and Tongkat Ali Hitam, the Black Tongkat Ali is found along the rivers in the lowland forest of Peninsular Malaysia such as in the state of Pahang.

Most of the Black Tongkat Ali is not clinically tested on humans. It is also harvested illegally and does not go through any replantation programmes.


Black Tongkat Ali smells fishy (perhaps due to the location where it is generally found – i.e near the freshwater river or swampy areas), but is generally less bitter than Yellow Tongkat Ali.

Black Tongkat Ali has a distinct bitter, earthy and smoky aftertaste which less intense as compared to Yellow Tongkat Ali.


Production of Black Tongkat Ali is rare although it is found to be exported in raw slices. While its healing efficacy is touted to be much better than Yellow Tongkat Ali, Black Tongkat Ali recorded the least number of research studies.

Due to the lack of safety studies and high mercury content, the Malaysian Health Drugs Authorities placed a ban on Black Tongkat Ali products sold in pharmacies.

A research study showed that 26% out of 100 Black Tongkat Ali (or Tongkat Ali Hitam) products contain high mercury content between 0.53 – 2.35 ppm – higher than the allowable limit of 0.5 ppm.

Despite being banned by authorities in some countries, Indonesian suppliers are still exporting Black Tongkat Ali to China illegally and sold to the US.


Proven Benefits
Research Publications
Health Risks

Red Tongkat Ali

Plant Name : Stema Tuberosa


Red Tongkat Ali or Malaysian Red Ginseng comes from a scientific plant known as Stema Tuberosa. The root has it’s name due to its distinct dark red-brownish tone. And after being exposed to heat and sun-dried, it turns into light / bright red.

Red Tongkat Ali comes from a species known as Jackiopsis Ornate from the family of Rubaceae. This rare tree is found growing along rivers, sandy or swampy soil in virgin rainforests up to 400 meters altitude in Peninsular Malaysia.

The plant is similar to Stemona Tuberosa is also found in remote parts of China, Indonesia and Thailand.

This root is also known by another name such as Akar Haji Samat by locals.


The Red Tongkat Ali smells and tastes like any ginseng. Red Tongkat Ali has a hint of sweetness and smoky, which is the total opposite to Yellow and Black Tongkat Ali (which is super bitter!)

Being less bitter could also mean that Red Tongkat Ali has the lowest level eurycomanone and other bioactive ingredients.


Red Tongkat Ali is popular amongst Malaysians and Indonesians as an herbal tonic drink, but no research studies are being done on Red Tongkat Ali to investigate or validate its effectiveness on health.

Most of the Tongkat Ali clinical trials and scientific studies published to date were based on Eurycoma Longifolia (i.e Yellow Tongkat Ali).

The level of heavy metals such as mercury in red ginseng has not been established or well documented, therefore users are cautioned when buying raw red Tongkat Ali slices on Amazon.

Due to lower acceptance and trust, perhaps you should consider twice from buying it from Amazon stores!


Proven Benefits
Research Publications
Health Risks

FAQ: User Guide

Use our guide to find out more about different species of Tongkat Ali.

Which type of Tongkat Ali is should I buy?

Taking into account potency, efficacy and safety considerations, Yellow Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) is the best type of Tongkat Ali sold in the market today. You should consider buying yellow Tongkat Ali extract that is produced from the hot water extraction standardized method for maximum benefits with higher safety limits.

Which type of Tongkat Ali is the most potent?

Black Tongkat Ali (Polyathia Bullata) is the most potent with a higher testosterone increase compared to Yellow Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia)and Red Tongkat Ali (Stema Tuberosa). However, Black Tongkat Ali showed a slower response time, with measurable results seen only after 60 days.

An animal study conducted in 2023 by the Faculty of Industrial Sciences & Technology, University Malaysia Pahang showed that Black Tongkat Ali (Polyathia bullata) recorded the highest testosterone increase at 9.73 ± 1.20 nmol/L, followed by Yellow Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) and Red Tongkat Ali (Stema tuberosa ) at  7.70 ± 0.59 nmol/L, and 6.25 ± 0.70 nmol/L respectively after 60 days.

Is Black Tongkat Ali toxic or safe?

Black Tongkat Ali (Polyalthia Bullata) sold by Bionutricia and most Indonesian suppliers are generally not tested for toxicity or safety limits. In addition, safety concerns related to Tongkat Ali’s toxicity to kidneys and liver makes this makes Black Tongkat Ali rather unpopular choice.

Which type of Tongkat Ali contains the lowest mercury levels?

Yellow Tongkat Ali contains relatively lower mercury levels and other heavy metals that are within FDA safety limits, making it viable for long-term consumption when taken in small doses. The majority of Tongkat Ali brands sold on Amazon adhere to the heavy metal toxicity limits set by the FDA and WHO.

Which type of Tongkat Ali has higher safety limits?

Yellow Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) is using standardized hot water extract which has higher safety limits, up to 3,000 mg / kg bodyweight compared to ethanol-based extract. Comparatively, there are no safety or toxicity studies on Black and Red Tongkat Ali reported to date.

Which type of Tongkat Ali works best for libido?

An animal study published in the Malaysian Journal of Science showed that Yellow Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) induced higher libido, testosterone levels and sexual mating behaviour compared to Red Tongkat Ali (Stema Tuberosa).

Source: The Malaysian Journal of Science (February 2020)

Can you take Yellow and Black Tongkat Ali at the same time?

It is recommended not to consume different species of Tongkat Ali (i.e Yellow, Red or Black Tongkat Ali) at the same time. There has been no study to investigate the side effects or effectiveness on humans when consuming various species of Tongkat Ali at the same time.

Please consult your nearest doctor should you experience any side effects when consuming any type of Tongkat Ali.

Which type of Tongkat Ali is the safest?

Compared to Black and Red Tongkat Ali, Yellow Tongkat Ali is relatively the safest as it is widely researched by MIT and Malaysian scientists due to its low level of heavy metals (i.e mercury, arsenic, cadmium and lead).

According to many doctors and scientists, Yellow Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) is not toxic when consumed in small doses between 200 mg to 400 mg daily.

To ensure maximum safety, please ensure the heavy metals in Tongkat Ali contains arsenic (below <10.0 ppb), cadmium (below <0.5 ppb), lead (below <0.5 ppb) and mercury (below <0.3 ppm) as per the recommended guide published by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) of the Ministry of Health, Malaysia.

Related Article : Tongkat Ali heavy metal safety limits according to FDA & WHO

Is Malaysian Yellow Tongkat Ali better than Indonesian Pasak Bumi / Yellow Tongkat Ali?

Malaysia is known for its high quality yellow Tongkat Ali export due its extraction technology, clinical tests and safety tests due to its long history of MIT research partnership. This makes Malaysian yellow Tongkat Ali highly sought after compared to Indonesian Tongkat Ali. However, Indonesian Pasak Bumi offers greater value for money despite the lack of research and quality standards.

Which is the best yellow Tongkat Ali in Malaysia?

The best yellow Malaysian Tongkat Ali root extract is sourced from mature Tongkat Ali plants that are more than 5 years old.  AKARALI sells pure yellow Tongkat Ali extract which is used by sports professionals and functional health coaches in the US, UK and Australia, making it the best-selling yellow Tongkat Ali in the world.

Where can I buy pure yellow Tongkat Ali?

AKARALI Tongkat Ali store sells pure yellow Tongkat Ali extract, capsules and supplements made from 100% Tongkat Ali root sourced from Malaysia. It is the largest Tongkat Ali shop in the UK and US that offers a wide selection of Tongkat Ali products sourced from mature yellow Tongkat Ali plants. Its yellow Tongkat Ali extracts are chromatography tested for purity, clinically tested and 3rd party lab tested by independent laboratory such as EUROFINS.

Related ArticleVisit Tongkat Ali Store

Our Top Pick

Yellow Tongkat Ali from Malaysia is the best type of Tongkat Ali that you should spend your money on due to decades of research on safety and potency. It is considered highly effective for health and it appears to be safe when taken at higher doses, or for long-term use compared to Black Tongkat Ali or Red Tongkat Ali extracts.

Judging against criteria such as potency, a wide range of proven benefits, a wide number of research publications, and minimal health risks, Yellow Tongkat Ali remains the most popular and the best type of Tongkat Ali that you should buy.

It is no surprise that Yellow Tongkat Ali (i.e Eurycoma Longifolia) continues to be the best Tongkat Ali for centuries.

In addition, Yellow Tongkat Ali is well researched for decades and safe to be used as a functional ingredient in novelty foods in many countries.

That is why the best Tongkat Ali supplement contains clinically tested yellow Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) extract.

Rest assured you are getting the best clinically tested bio-active ingredients from Yellow Tongkat Ali, compared to Black or Red Tongkat Ali.

If you are in doubt about which is the best yellow Tongkat Ali brand, we have compiled a list of 20+ trusted Tongkat Ali brands that use Yellow Tongkat Ali for your buying reference.


Ask Our Experts

Get the best help and answers on Yellow Tongkat Ali. Our team of medical experts, scientists and research analysts will assist with your inquiries within 24 hours.



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.

Dr. Annie George (PhD, MSc) is Head Scientist of Biotropics Berhad where she spends 20 years in botanical drugs including Tongkat Ali. She holds 11 patents in herbal research and published numerous papers on Eurycoma Longifolia.

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 are not limited to research studies, peer-reviewed journals, pre-clinical studies, clinical tests and other credible publications.

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

Disclaimer: Content published in this article is not intended to promote any brands nor to provide any form of recommendations to purchase or consume medication, drugs or herbal supplement brands directly or indirectly. By reading this, the sole responsibility and decision lies on the reader to perform their own assessment and / or to arrive at an informed decision based on publicly available information. By reading the content published on this website means you are aware on the risks involved in purchasing any of the products or brands mentioned in this article. We highly recommend you and the readers to consult your nearest doctor before making any purchase from this website or any other websites or social platforms after reading this article.

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16 Responses

  1. This is good information on tangkat ali. I am physically active guy. A business owner, a husband and a father to a 3 and 5 yr old that demand a lot of energy. About last year or so, i started dropping in T levels which a blood test confirmed it. So, the hunt for an alternative to testosterone replacement begins. After spending a lot of time researching, i discovered tongkat ali but had no idea what it is about because i never consume or bought it. This article really helps people like me to understand more about tongkat ali. I now understand the types of tongkat ali and the differences in benefit, health risk and potency. Thank you!

  2. Great article! I have been consuming tongkat ali for the past few years, and I can really say that it really improve my overall health and well-being. Previously, I never knew that were so many different types of tongkat ali. This article is an eye-opening. Just found out that the tongkat ali products that i have been consuming were the high-quality yellow tongkat ali Eurycoma Longifolia, which explain why it tasted very bitter when I mixed the powder in my coffee. Really intrigued to try this product in capsule forms!

      1. Hi Antonio, we partner with the certified manufacturer in Malaysia known as Biotropics Berhad (an entity which is owned by Malaysian’s Government) which owns multi-patented extraction technology on Tongkat Ali. In fact, our products have been consumed by thousands of consumers around the world. I suggest you check out our consumer reviews to understand the experiences of Tongkat Ali (known as the Malaysian Ginseng).

  3. Always wondered why there is yellow tongkat ali everywhere. But, its uncommon to find or even heard about the black and the red tongkat ali. My assumption is that the other 2 type is very rare to get and that is why its hard to get. never expected the black one is banned. Thanks to this article, i now understand the difference between the 3 types of tongkat ali. Kind of interested to get red tongkat ali and maybe make tea or coffee and see how it taste.

  4. I am a very active guy in early 40’s. I tried pretty much every natural testosterone booster supplement out there to increase health and performance: tribulus terrestris, Yohimbe, horny goat weed, ginseng, Ashwagandha… you name it.

    I didnt knew there was 3 types of tongkat ali and the black one was banned due to its high level of mercury.

    Tongkat ali is one of the few supplements for men I tried that actually works for me.I am feeling leaner and stronger. My overall sense of well being and confidence is way up. There is a very noticeable difference between the days I am taking tongkat ali vs the days that I don’t. Overall, I highly recommend this product to anyone looking to get better workouts, perform better in bed or simply feel better and more enthusiastic about life in general.

    Thanks for the informative website!

  5. It is interesting to know that some of tongkat ali is harmfull to the body such as black tongkat ali. I never know about this before. Luckily its production is rare in the market. Yellow tongkat ali or Eurycoma Longifolia is the most common type that i have seen in the market.

  6. As a millennial who is interested in the efficacy of modern Western medicine, I can’t deny that I’m at least a little bit curious about tongkat ali. Although I’m a bit sceptical about it, I do feel some differences when started consuming akar ali for the past three weeks. While I fully understand that it might work differently from person to person, I feel less lethargic. But the most important thing is that I don’t experience any side effect from it so far.

  7. Before i found out about tongkat ali, i’ve been noticing that i’m constantly tired and having a hard time to stay concentrate or focus for long. Within a few weeks of consuming tongkat ali, i noticed that i’m a lot more focus, didn’t get tired easily and feeling a lot less weary. Due to the extra energy i’ve gained, i started to hit the gym for some cardio and weight lifting and noticed i had done more reps than i previously could. I even felt more motivated, but it could just be me. Haha. Overall, tongkat ali works for me and didn’t give me any negative side effects.

  8. So we all can buy from Asian Secret. my. I always buy from them. They have trusted product with good values.

  9. My winning vote goes to yellow Tongkat Ali from Malaysia! some brands on Amazon are claiming that they are selling yellow Tongkat Ali, but those are fake Tongkat Ali from China – which are smuggled from Malaysia to China . Do you know China bans the import of Tongkat Ali? Beware if you are buying tongkat Ali from Amazon. Plenty of fakes. Some mix the red tongkat ali with the yellow ones. Dirty manufacturers in the US are doing the same and sold it as made-in-USA. what a loads of bollocks.

  10. What is the difference between the Akarali EM150 formula and the TL200 formula? They seem fairly similar in content and price, so what is different about them? How could I know which one will suit me better?

    1. The TL200 and EM150 formula differs in terms of dosage. TL200 contains 200mg of Tongkat Ali, whilst the EM150 contains 150mg of Tongkat Ali. Our products contain 100% yellow Tongkat Ali which are clinically tested on humans with measurable health benefits in many areas. You may read more here:

  11. Generally, there are three types of Tongkat Ali (Yellow Tongkat Ali, Black Tongkat Ali and Red Tongkat Ali), but each species has different bioactive ingredients despite coming from the same family tree.

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