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 is perfect to understand the differences between various Tongkat Ali roots, its potency and efficacy on health, and most importantly, safety. 

Generally, there are three types of Tongkat Ali roots from the same family tree. However, each Tongkat Ali is unique and comes three common species / plants:

  • Yellow Tongkat AliEurycoma Longifolia
  • Black Tongkat AliPolyalthia Bullata
  • Red Tongkat AliStema Tuberosa

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

The reality is, that choosing the best Tongkat Ali can be a daunting task. There are more than 200+ Tongkat Ali brands that contain either Yellow, Black or Red Tongkat Ali – or worst still, a mix of yellow and black Tongkat Ali.

If you are not aware, you may fall into the trap of consuming cheap Tongkat Ali roots that are illegally exported and produced in China.

In this article, we perform our assessment on various types of Tongkat Ali roots that are currently sold in the market today. Our holistic assessment on Yellow, Black and Red Tongkat Ali will hopefully provide a better perspective and guidance in your purchasing decision.

And this article will shed some light on why Yellow Tongkat Ali (i.e Eurycoma Longifolia) is the most preferred Tongkat Ali on the planet.

Assessment Criteria

Our objective evaluation to determine the best Tongkat Ali is based on six criteria by our panel of independent experts and scientists. This is based on score of 1-5 (Low to Very High) and each criterion is explained below:

1. Popularity

How popular based on the number of products sold in the market (including online-platforms), number of social media mentions, search enquiries and media coverage.

2. Availability

Are these raw herbs widely available from the source or the country of origin? Are these herbs easily obtained or purchased from raw suppliers? Are there regulations or restrictions imposed for exporting Tongkat Ali outside the country of origin?

3. Potency

Tongkat Ali’s potency is measured based on the percentage of bio-active compounds (eg: eurycomanone, glycosaponin, etc) that can be extracted, which in turn delivering that benefits that you aspire. The potency varies from traditional extraction methods (eg: boiling, heat-dried) or advanced extraction technologies (eg: freeze-dried, standardized extract)

4. Proven Benefits

The number of potential or proven health benefits based on credible sources such as scientific studies, clinical trials, and research publications.

5. Research Publications

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

6. Health Risks

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.

So let’s take a look at the facts and our top pick!

Yellow Tongkat Ali

Plant Name: Eurycoma Longifiolia

Yellow Tongkat Ali comes from a plant known as Eurycoma Longifolia. The plant grows naturally in remote rainforests of Malaysia, Indonesia and some smaller parts of Southern Thailand. The commercialization into the world of natural herbs took place since early 2000s, led by the Malaysian Government – making it one of the key industries in Malaysia today.

Fast forward, the majority of the Tongkat Ali sold in the market today comes from yellow Tongkat Ali which are harvested widely in Malaysia.

The Yellow Tongkat Ali is the most widely researched Tongkat Ali with more than 200 research studies and clinical trials published to date. World-renowned MIT-formulated Physta® Tongkat Ali extract is the most popular Yellow Tongkat Ali – based on 100% Eurycoma Longifolia root extract and backed by 26 clinical trials from 20 years of research.

The Yellow Tongkat Ali delivers more health benefits as it is clinically tested to be safe. This continued to attract scientists from around the world and we have compiled 12 potential scientific-backed health benefits here if you want to know more.

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).

Yellow Tongkat Ali has the most bitter taste compared to red or black Tongkat Ali variants. The reason of its extreme bitterness is due to the high level of eurycomanone – a key marker to measure the potency of Tongkat Ali.

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

Yes, check out the ingredient in the brand of Tongkat Ali – does it say Eurycoma Longifolia? If yes, then it is definitely Yellow Tongkat Ali.

Here is our final verdict:

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 in the state of Pahang.

How does it taste like? Black Tongkat Ali smells fishy (perhaps due to the location where it is generally found – i.e near the river), but generally tastes less bitter than 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, it is traditionally used by the indigenous as a natural aphrodisiac for men’s health. 

Beyond it’s only health claim, there was lack of research or published papers associated with Black Tongkat Ali found to date. This makes it less popular amongst those seeking for scientific validation and proof of its health benefits.

At the same time, we found no-approval by the Malaysian Health Drugs Authorities on Tongkat Ali products sold in pharmacies that carry the title “Black Tongkat Ali”.

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 the most potent Tongkat Ali, Black Tongkat Ali is largely banned by Government authorities and very few manufacturers in Indonesia are still exporting it to China to produce low-cost Tongkat Ali extract for the US market.

Here is our final verdict:

Proven Benefits
Research Publications
Health Risks

Red Tongkat Ali

Plant Name : Stema Tuberosa

Now this Red Tongkat Ali or Malaysian Red Ginseng comes from a scientific plant known as Stema Tuberosa. This 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 metres altitude in Peninsular Malaysia.

The plant is similar to Stemona Tuberosa is also found in remote parts of China, Indonesia and Thailand. The root has it’s name due to its distinct strong red colour and after drying, usually it turns into light red. This root is also known by other name such as Akar Haji Samat by locals.

The only reason why it continued to be popular amongst locals is the acceptable taste.  The Red Tongkat Ali smells and taste like any ginseng. It can taste somewhat sweet, a total opposite compared to Yellow and Black Tongkat Ali. It also means that the level of eurycomanone is the lowest in the Red Tongkat Ali.

Has there been any research or scientific evidence done on Red Tongkat Ali to validate its health benefits? After hours of researching, we have found none! Most of the Tongkat Ali clinical trials and scientific studies were based on Eurycoma Longifolia (i.e Yellow Tongkat Ali).

The red ginseng is consumed as regular herbal tea or coffee to give a dose of energy by the Chinese. We cannot ascertain the level of lead or mercury in red ginseng, but it is believed to be safe as it is widely sold in raw slices (instead of capsules).

Aside from this, we did not find any approved brands sold in pharmacies that carries “Red Tongkat Ali” title. Due to lower acceptance and trust, perhaps you should consider twice from buying it from Amazon stores!

Here is our final verdict:

Proven Benefits
Research Publications
Health Risks

Our Top Pick

Tongkat Ali has been in the market for almost 20 years now, but every now and again, we have customers looking for an objective evaluation to pick the best Tongkat Ali. And that is the reason we chose to publish this article. We aim to assist millions of people to choose the best herbal supplement to revitalize their health.   

Our clear winner is the Yellow Tongkat Ali due to high scores in every criterion described above. 

Judging against criteria such as potency, a wide range of proven benefits, a wide number of research publications and with no reported death or minimal health risks, Yellow Tongkat Ali is deemed to be the most popular and the best Tongkat Ali.

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

The versatility of Yellow Tongkat Ali enables you to enjoy the health benefits on every occasion. You can consume at any time of the day, use it as a functional ingredient with other herbs, coffee, tea or simply enjoy Tongkat Ali with your favourite drink!

Staying healthy naturally means your body deserves the best bio-active ingredients from Yellow Tongkat Ali.

With quality handpicked herbal roots and the right extraction method, yellow Tongkat Ali is widely used in many applications including functional ingredients in coffee, tea, dietary supplements and others. 

If you are in doubt which is the best yellow Tongkat Ali brand, we compile a list of 20+ trusted Tongkat Ali brands that use Yellow 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 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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13 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:

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