Description and Uses of Tongkat Ali Extract

Tongkat Ali may increase testosterone levels, reduce stress, and improve body composition. We show you other benefits, how to take it, and its possible side effects.
Description and Uses of Tongkat Ali Extract

Last update: 22 July, 2021

Tongkat Ali, whose scientific name is Eurycoma longifolia, is a plant. There are other names for it depending on where you find it. For instance, Indonesians call it Pasak Bumi, while anglo speakers in the USA, Canada, and Australia refer to it as Longjack.

The plant is native to Southeast Asia but Indonesia has the largest population. You can find it in smaller concentrations in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Laos. Furthermore, it can grow up to 40 feet in a period of 10 to 15 years. In addition, it turns reddish at maturity.

People attribute the root of the tree with compounds some have used for centuries for medicinal purposes — either to increase testosterone levels or to treat erectile dysfunction, among others. It’s currently available as an extract or in capsules.

Potential health benefits of Tongkat Ali

Traditional medicine in some Southeast Asian countries uses this plant to treat fever, malaria, and male infertility. Let’s take a look at some of its other possible health effects.

Increases testosterone levels and improves fertility.

A study published in Therapeutic Advances in Urology revealed that testosterone levels decrease due to aging, chemotherapy, infections in the testicles, the action of certain medications, and diseases such as chronic alcoholism and sleep apnea.

The same research found that having low testosterone levels can lead to a lack of sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, and even infertility. However, a study published in the medical journal Andrología suggested that Tongkat Ali may increase levels of this hormone.

Similarly, research in 76 older men with low testosterone levels proposed that taking 200 milligrams of Tongkat Ali extract daily for 1 month significantly increases levels of the hormone by 90%.

Likewise, animal testing showed that its consumption can increase sexual arousal and improve erectile dysfunction.

Finally, scientific evidence suggests that Tongkat Ali can also increase sperm motility and concentration, which improves male fertility. According to a study published in the Asian Journal of Andrology, intake of 400 milligrams improves sperm motility by 44%.

A sperm race.
Studies of this root with respect to male fertility reveal it might increase sperm motility.

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2. Decreases stress

A study published in the Japanese Journal of Pharmacology found that Tongkat Ali acts as an anxiolytic — it relieves anxiety symptoms in mice. Researchers observed the same effects in humans, but they need to conduct further research.

In addition, research in 63 moderately stressed adults found that supplementing with 200 milligrams of Tongkat Ali extract per day decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol by 16%. The participants also experienced less anxiety.

3. May improve body composition

Tongkat Ali is an ergogenic aid — a substance capable of improving athletic performance that can also increase body mass. In general, this is due to its quassinoids. These chemical compounds allow the body to use energy more efficiently. Thus, it helps reduce fatigue and increase endurance.

A study of 14 men who participated in a strength training program revealed that taking 100 milligrams of Tongkat Ali daily can significantly increase lean body mass and fat loss.

Similarly, research in 25 older adults found that taking 400 milligrams of Tongkat Ali extract daily leads to muscle strength gains. However, another study in cyclists concluded that a drink containing this plant doesn’t improve performance or strength. In fact, its action is similar to that of water.

Considerations and side effects of Tongkat Ali

The consumption of Tongkat Ali in humans hasn’t led to side effects but the research is scarce. Also, a study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology noted that the mercury levels of this root are 26% higher than recommended.

This is because it could cause mercury intoxication. Some of the symptoms involve mood changes, as well as problems with memory and motor skills.

Furthermore, researchers haven’t conducted tests in children, pregnant or lactating women. This is why we don’t really know for sure if its consumption is safe for those in these groups.

A Tongkat Ali plant.
This plant may contain elevated levels of mercury, so we don’t know if it’s entirely safe and must further evaluate the side effects of this heavy metal.

Tongkat Ali – dosage and recommendations

According to a study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, taking 300 milligrams of Tongkat Ali per day may be safe. Similarly, research published in Molecules and Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that taking up to 1.2 grams of the extract of this plant is safe in adults.

No studies have examined its long-term use so there’s no certainty to its use in this regard.

Learn the difference between Vanilla Essence and Extract

Erectile dysfunction and infertility

In conclusion, this plant, native to Southeast Asia and can reach up to 40 feet. People use the root for medicinal purposes.

For centuries, the traditional medicines of the various countries in this area used Tongkat Ali to reduce fever and treat malaria, erectile dysfunction, and male infertility.

In turn, science reveals it’s effective in increasing testosterone levels so it helps relieve impotence and infertility. Other benefits supported by science include stress reduction and improved body composition.

It’s safe to consume through supplements and extracts for the most part but might be harmful due to its high mercury content. Finally, it isn’t suitable for children, pregnant and lactating women.

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