Tongkat ali, or Eurycoma longifolia, is a herb found in Indochina, Indonesia, and the Philippines. This slender shrub is also known as longjack and the root of this plant has been used in traditional medicine in Southeast Asia.
Native people of these regions would traditionally boil tongkat ali’s roots to make a health potion that relieved fever, eased stomach discomfort, removed intestinal worms, and improved other ailments. However, its primary use was enhancing sexual health and boosting desire, as the plant is supposedly a potent aphrodisiac.
Today, tongkat ali supplements are generally used to relieve stress, improve erectile dysfunction, lose weight, and boost performance.
Here, I’ll cover the current state of research on tongkat ali’s health benefits and show you how to navigate the online world of supplements in order to find the best tongkat ali products for your specific health goals.
Make sure to read our article on the best tongkat ali supplements!
Tongkat Ali Studies
Research examining tongkat ali’s benefits and side effects is relatively limited. Some studies suggest that this supplement could help relieve stress, improve male sexual health, and increase muscle mass.
A 2016 review concluded that tongkat ali was a promising natural remedy for certain conditions, listing all possible uses of this herb. However, the authors also mentioned the need for more safety and efficacy studies.
Let’s see what other tongkat ali studies have revealed about this supplement.
Male Sexual Health
Male infertility is on the rise, creating a real problem in recent years. Many factors affect fertility including age, medication use, pollution, stress, disease, and more. One of the common causes of male infertility is low testosterone levels, and it appears that tongkat ali can help with that.
Tongkat ali is able to boost serum testosterone levels, which improves sexual health, bone health, and overall physical condition. That’s why some researchers suggest there’s a need for future studies that examine the potential of tongkat ali to replace conventional testosterone replacement therapy.
Studies have shown that tongkat ali extract can significantly boost testosterone levels and help with hypogonadism occurring in old age. One study showed that 90.8% of a group older men displayed normal testosterone levels after one month of supplementation as compared to 35.5% before treatment.
An increase in testosterone is responsible for aphrodisiac effects, which improves sexual desire in rat studies. Human trials showed similar results highlighting tongkat ali’s potential to enhance libido and other factors related to male sexual health including sperm motility and semen volume. In addition, a meta-analysis revealed that this herbal extract could improve erectile function.
Another study detected the effects of these improvements with researchers reporting that better sperm quality led to an additional 14.7% spontaneous pregnancies in people struggling to conceive.
The potential of tongkat ali to reduce the effects of stress and anxiety has been known for some time. Initial rat studies discovered the anxiolytic potential of tongkat ali and the results were similar to those of anti-anxiety medications like diazepam.
Human studies discovered that regular supplementation with tongkat ali reduces tension, anger, and confusion. In addition, it reduces cortisol levels, suggesting that this supplement could help people mitigate the effects of chronic stress.
Another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the effects of this herbal extract on mood and stress. The results showed improved emotional well-being, social functioning, decreased stress levels, and better vitality. However, it’s important to mention that the study’s leading author is employed by the company manufacturing the Eurycoma longifolia extract used in the trial.
Some athletes use ergogenic aids, which are substances that boost performance. Since tongkat ali has the potential to improve testosterone levels and reduce stress, it is an excellent option for athletes looking to up their game.
Studies in rats have observed slight increases in muscle weight in addition to reproductive health improvements. Researchers have identified various active compounds in the extract of tongkat ali, with quassinoids being responsible for increased muscle strength and better endurance during cycle time.
Tongkat ali supplements could reduce fatigue and improve energy levels, helping athletes train harder and decrease recovery time.
In addition, they could be a significant aid to prevent age-related muscle decline, with one studying showing that tongkat ali could increase muscle strength in seniors. It can also improve certain performance parameters during stair climbing.
However, that same study observed no effects in muscle gain in women taking this supplement. Another study comparing the effects of a tongkat ali drink with water showed no difference between the performance of young cyclists consuming these beverages.
Because of these mixed results, we need more quality research to confirm sports performance-related benefits.
Other Possible Benefits
Various small studies have observed other minor tongkat ali benefits, but the evidence is weak and we need more research to confirm them.
For instance, supplementation with tongkat ali could have protective effects against hepatotoxicity and hyperuricemia. Quassinoids and other active compounds exhibit anti-cancer properties, showing the potential of tongkat ali in the treatment of lung and prostate cancers.
Many people use tongkat ali for weight loss because increased testosterone levels should help burn fat and build muscle faster. Eurycoma longifolia extract can aid weight loss by decreasing serum leptin levels. This hormone plays a vital role in maintaining appetite and regulating energy intake and expenditure. Leptin is released by fat cells, and obese people usually have high concentrations of this hormone.
So, by increasing testosterone and lowering leptin levels, tongkat ali could help people lose weight.
Tongkat Ali Side Effects
Tongkat ali is considered safe as long as it’s not used in high concentrations. Studies suggest that taking 200 mg daily for nine months, or 400 mg for three months, is safe.
However, even higher doses could be safe, as some studies found that supplementing with 600 mg per day for up to two months had no side effects.
However, the examination of available tongkat ali supplements in Malaysia found that 1 in 4 products had higher mercury concentrations than recommended. Consuming too much mercury could lead to poisoning with symptoms like tremors, memory problems, anxiety, numbness, and irritability.
Although standard doses should be safe for healthy adults, some people have reported tongkat ali side effects such as:
- Sleep problems
In addition, we don’t know if these supplements are safe for pregnant women, children, people with heart disease, kidney problems, or other conditions. That’s why they should consult with a medical professional before taking them.
Overall, we need more safety studies to estimate the full scope of tongkat ali’s side effects, especially long-term.
How To Take Tongkat Ali
Tongkat ali is available in tablet, capsule, and powder forms. You can choose the one you prefer and should follow the manufacturer’s intake instructions.
You can start with 50-200 mg and increase the dosage if needed. The best time to take tongkat ali is in the morning, with or after your breakfast. Avoid taking it late at night as some reviewers claim it contributed to the onset of sleep problems.
If you are an athlete, you can take tongkat ali one hour before going to the gym. That way, you’ll have enough energy to fuel your workout and enhance your performance.
It doesn’t matter whether you choose pills, tablets, or powdered tongkat ali extract since the effects should be the same. However, keep in mind that most studies examined hot-water extracts, and the dosages refer to that extraction process.
Some products use alcohol extracts, which give a completely different chemical profile and may not be as effective or safe.
Tongkat Ali Dosage
Most studies examining the efficacy and safety of tongkat ali used 200-400 mg daily, and the general conclusion is that these dosages are safe for healthy adults. Like most other supplements, we suggest starting with a lower dose and slowly increasing it to find the sweet spot.
However, tongkat ali has very few reported side effects, so you should be able to start using 200 mg daily right away.
What To Look For When Buying Tongkat Ali
If you’ve decided to buy tongkat ali, then there are several things you need to consider.
First, you need to determine whether you want to purchase capsules, tablets, or powder. Powder form allows easier experimenting with the dosage, while tablets and capsules are easier to take when busy.
The most important thing when considering a tongkat ali supplement is to confirm that the ingredients are extracted in a water-based process. We mentioned that some brands use an alcohol extraction process, resulting in an altered chemical profile of the end product. That leads to different efficacy and safety, so the benefits and side effects may be off.
Most tongkat ali (around 90%) comes from Malaysia and Indonesia. Manufacturers usually source raw ingredients from these places and create the end product.
You should make sure that the brand has a GMP or equivalent certification of their facility. In addition, they should subject all raw ingredients and finished products to rigorous testing, including independent 3rd-party lab testing. When a manufacturer is transparent about these analyses, you know you are looking at a good product.
You also need to consider brand history and reputation, user reviews, and bioactive compound content. Some tongkat ali manufacturers use numbers like 50:1, 100;1, or 200:1. Pay no attention to this, as these numbers only represent how many grams of the root is needed to make one gram of powdered extract. So, they have nothing to do with potency or quality.
Instead, look for the exact amount of tongkat ali in the product. Even better, you can take a look at the eurycomanone content as these proteins seem to be responsible for the potency of tongkat ali.
Ideally, a powdered extract should contain 22% of eurycomanones, but getting this number isn’t so easy. That’s why most products have 2-10%.
How To Find The Right Tongkat Ali On Amazon
Finding the perfect tongkat ali supplement on Amazon may be more challenging than you think. You need to consider several things, and even some of the best supplement brands may fail these requirements.
So, here’s what you need to pay attention to:
- Brand Reputation
Choose a well-known and respected company with a history of making top-quality supplements. Research if they’ve had any reclaimed products, as a clean track record is a good indicator. Also, read their product reviews as they can paint a good picture of the supplement quality.
However, keep in mind that some of the reviews can be fake, so you can use an add-on like Fakespot to estimate the percentage of fake reviews. Finding authentic user experiences can often tell you more about the product than the manufacturer’s description.
- Adequate Dosage
Consider the dosage you want to use, and look if the brand is transparent about the amount of tongkat ali in their products. In addition, see if they mention eurycomanone content, and the higher the number, the better.
- Domestic Manufacturing
Most tongkat ali is sourced internationally, but you should search for a domestically manufactured product. That’s because the US has stricter policies and regulations, ensuring better quality.
In addition, you should look for a brand with GMP-certified facilities, as this ensures that the company follows standards set by the FDA.
- 3rd Party Testing
When manufacturers test their products, there is a small risk of bias. Although most of them try to be as objective as possible, submitting their products to third-party labs for independent testing is best. That way, they can get an objective analysis that confirms the quality and potency of their products.
Look for the certificates of analysis when searching for the right tongkat ali product on Amazon, as they are among the best quality indicators.
What Are The Most Trustworthy Tongkat Ali Brands?
If you want to try tongkat ali but don’t feel like doing all the research, then don’t worry – we’ve done the work for you and selected the best 4 tongkat ali brands on the market.
We explain how we choose and review supplements in another article, so feel free to read it if you are interested in our selection process.
Double Wood Supplements
Double Wood Supplements is a reputable company in the supplement industry with a history of creating top-quality products. Their supplements are manufactured in a GMP-certified facility in the US. You can easily find certificates of analysis for their products and view third-party lab results.
Double Wood is also completely transparent with product descriptions, possible benefits, and side effects.
Nootropics Depot has become one of the favorite brands of users looking for natural supplements. They have several tongkat ali options, so finding your favorite supplement form or buying a unique stack for higher potency is easy.
The company is transparent about eurycomanone content and anything else regarding its products.
Bulk Supplements is a go-to brand for affordable supplements you can buy in large quantities. Their products are manufactured according to cGMP standards and tested by independent labs. However, they don’t publish the results publicly on their website.
The natural health industry can be sketchy, but Source Naturals is one of the companies trying to bring more rigorous testing and quality control into the mix. And they’ve been doing that for 30 years!
Their supplements are lab-tested for quality and manufactured in the US.
Tongkat Ali FAQs
In this section, you can find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about tongkat ali.
Does Tongkat Ali Lower Estrogen?
No, current research doesn’t indicate that tongkat ali lowers estrogen. However, it does increase testosterone, which could improve testosterone deficiency and may help men break estrogen dominance.
Can Tongkat Ali Raise Blood Pressure?
Tongkat ali has been traditionally used to relieve high blood pressure. Initial research suggests that tongkat ali promotes blood vessel widening, which lowers blood pressure.
So, you shouldn’t be worried about tongkat ali raising your blood pressure.
How Much Does Tongkat Ali Increase Testosterone?
The efficacy of tongkat ali depends on several factors, but it has an excellent potential to restore normal testosterone levels in older men. It has the potential to increase testosterone levels by 37% in healthy adults.
Can You Take Tongkat Ali And Maca Together?
Maca is a plant native to Peru, and its root has been used for thousands of years to improve libido, boost energy levels, elevate mood, and reach mental sharpness. Many natural supplement enthusiasts recommend taking these two powerful herbs together, as they enhance each other’s benefits.
In short – yes, you can use tongkat ali and maca together if you want to see better results.
Is Tongkat Ali Good For Erectile Dysfunction?
Absolutely! Tongkat ali appears to be an excellent natural remedy for erectile dysfunction, as many studies show it can boost testosterone levels and improve erectile function. Taking 200 mg of this supplement could potentially increase your testosterone levels, enhance sexual desire, and improve erectile dysfunction.
Does Tongkat Ali Increase DHT?
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is an androgen sex hormone essential for developing male sex characteristics during puberty. However, too much DHT later in life can lead to male pattern baldness.
Luckily, tongkat ali blocks an enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into DHT, so taking this supplement doesn’t increase DHT levels.
Does Tongkat Ali Cause Hair Loss?
No, tongkat ali doesn’t cause hair loss. Although it enhances serum testosterone levels, it also blocks an enzyme that converts this hormone to DHT. And too much DHT is responsible for hair loss in men (among other factors).
What Is the Best Tongkat Ali Supplement?
Double Wood Supplements manufactures our favorite tongkat ali supplement. It is incredibly potent, 3rd-party lab-tested, and processed in a GMP-compliant facility.
If you want to learn more about this supplement and discover our other top pics, read our review of the best Tongkat Ali products.
Is Tongkat Ali A Steroid?
Researchers have found over 60 different active compounds in various parts of the longjack plant. That includes quassinoids, alkaloids, phytosterols, and many other bioactive compounds.
Plant sterols are similar to steroids, with an additional hydroxyl group on one of the carbon rings. These compounds are similar to cholesterol, and they play many vital roles in the proper functioning of plant cell membranes.
Can You Take Ashwagandha And Tongkat Ali Together?
Yes, both ashwagandha and tongkat ali have similar effects, and taking them together could lead to more benefits. Studies examining ashwagandha show great potential to relieve stress, improve athletic performance, and increase testosterone levels in men.
So, combining these two seems like a good idea, but keep in mind that there are no studies so far examining the safety and efficacy of taking these supplements at the same time.
How Does Tongkat Ali Work?
Tongkat ali contains many active compounds that activate different processes in your body. For instance, it deactivates sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), increasing the levels of free testosterone in the body. That results in better male sexual health.
It also lowers cortisol and increases dopamine levels, which has mood-lifting and anti-stress effects.
What Is Tongkat Ali Used For?
Tongkat ali has traditionally been used to reduce stress, improve libido, lower blood pressure, combat malaria, and treat many other conditions. Today, people use tongkat ali supplements to enhance erectile function, increase testosterone levels, relieve stress, boost sports performance, and lose weight.
How Long Does Tongkat Ali Take To Work?
People who use tongkat ali usually experience some benefits within hours to days, depending on several factors. Most people feel more energized on the second day of taking this supplement, while the improvements in sexual desire could be felt after a few hours.
For long-term testosterone-boosting effects, you need to take tongkat ali for at least four weeks.
Can Women Take Tongkat Ali?
Yes, women can take tongkat ali. They can experience better mood, higher libido, more energy, stronger bones, and better weight management.
However, men do seem to feel more benefits when taking this supplement.
Studies You Can Read About Tongkat Ali
- Review on a Traditional Herbal Medicine, Eurycoma longifolia Jack (Tongkat Ali): Its Traditional Uses, Chemistry, Evidence-Based Pharmacology and Toxicology (Molecules, 2016)
- Phytoandrogenic properties of Eurycoma longifolia as natural alternative to testosterone replacement therapy (Andrologia, 2014)
- Standardized water-soluble extract of Eurycoma longifolia, Tongkat ali, as testosterone booster for managing men with late-onset hypogonadism? (Andrologia, 2012)
- Effects of Eurycoma longifolia Jack (Tongkat Ali) on the initiation of sexual performance of inexperienced castrated male rats (Experimental Animals, 2000)
- Sexual arousal in sexually sluggish old male rats after oral administration of Eurycoma longifolia Jack (Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology, 2014)
- Randomized Clinical Trial on the Use of PHYSTA Freeze-Dried Water Extract of Eurycoma longifolia for the Improvement of Quality of Life and Sexual Well-Being in Men (Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012)
- Efficacy of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) on erectile function improvement: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 2015)
- The Effect of Eurycoma Longifolia Jack on Spermatogenesis in Estrogen-Treated Rats (Clinics, 2010)
- The effect of Eurycoma longifolia on sperm quality of male rats (Natural Product Communications, 2009)
- Eurycoma longifolia Jack in managing idiopathic male infertility (Asian Journal of Andrology, 2010)
- Studies on the anxiolytic activity of Eurycoma longifolia Jack roots in mice (Japanese Journal of Pharmacology, 1999)
- Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects (Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2013)
- Efficacy and safety of Eurycoma longifolia (Physta®) water extract plus multivitamins on quality of life, mood and stress: a randomized placebo-controlled and parallel study (Food & Nutrition Research, 2018)
- In vivo effects of Eurycoma longifolia Jack (Tongkat Ali) extract on reproductive functions in the rat (Andrologia, 2014)
- Review Ergogenic Effect of Long Jack, Eurycoma Longifolia (Pharmacognosy Review, 2016)
- Human Performance and Sports Applications of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) (Nutrition and Enhanced Sports Performance, 2019)
- Tongkat Ali as a Potential Herbal Supplement for Physically Active Male and Female Seniors—A Pilot Study (Phytotherapy Research, 2013)
- Enhancement Effects of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) Supplementation on Performance Functions Following Strength Training in Middle-Aged Women (Proceedings of the 2nd International Colloquium on Sports Science, Exercise, Engineering and Technology, 2015)
- Effects of a herbal ergogenic drink on cycling performance in young cyclists (Malaysian Journal of Nutrition, 2001)
- The Effect Of Eurycoma Longifolia Jack (Tongkat Ali) On Carbon Tetrachloride-Induced Liver Damage In Rats (Malaysian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2010)
- Experimental Study on the Anti-hyperuricemia Effect of Different Extracts of Tongkat Ali (China Pharmacist, 2018)
- Eurycoma longifolia, A Potential Phytomedicine for the Treatment of Cancer: Evidence of p53-mediated Apoptosis in Cancerous Cells (Current Drug Targets, 2018)
- Five new quassinoids and cytotoxic constituents from the roots of Eurycoma longifolia (Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 2014)
- The In Vitro and In Vivo Anti-Cancer Activities of a Standardized Quassinoids Composition from Eurycoma longifolia on LNCaP Human Prostate Cancer Cells (Plos One, 2015)
- Changes in Leptin in Relation to Increased Testosterone Levels Associated with Eurycoma Longifolia Jack (Tongkat Ali) Root Extract Consumption in Male Rats (Journal of Young Pharmacists, 2017)
- Contamination of mercury in tongkat Ali hitam herbal preparations (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2006)
- Eurycomanone, the major quassinoid in Eurycoma longifolia root extract increases spermatogenesis by inhibiting the activity of phosphodiesterase and aromatase in steroidogenesis (Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2013)
- First Report of Eurycoma longifolia Jack Root Extract Causing Relaxation of Aortic Rings in Rats (BioMed Research International, 2016)
- An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (Medicine, 2019)
- Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial (Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2015)
Make sure to read our article on the best tongkat ali supplements!
Editor’s note: we are regularly updating this review. If you see any problems, weird interpretations of the data, or just want to say hi, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.