The official name of Tongkat Ali is Eurycoma longifolia, which is a flowering shrub (up to ten meters tall), typically found in lowland forests and native to a range of Southeast Asian countries, such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand.
Tongkat Ali is also known as Pasak Bumi, Penawar Pahit, Malaysian Ginseng, Tung Saw, or Longjack, among many other names, very much depending on the country or regions within countries. Several parts of the plant are used in traditional medicine systems of Southeast Asia — notably the roots (which are very bitter), but also the leaves, flowers and fruits — for a range of health benefits.
Tongkat Ali Health Benefits
It’s thought that Tongkat Ali supports quick postnatal recovery, relieves from fever and combats malaria (antipyretic), reduces blood sugar levels and fat, fights off bacterial infections and inflammations, strengthens the immune system and improves blood circulation, reduces high blood pressure, increases muscle mass, relieves from anxiety and stress, works against intestinal worms, dysentery, diarrhea, indigestion, and jaundice, and alleviates headaches and stomachaches.
Nevertheless, Tongkat Ali is perhaps best known as an aphrodisiac that increases or improves sexual performance, sexual energy, libido, sexual stamina, testosterone, sperm count, and sperm motility. It’s also said to alleviate or cure Erectile Dysfunction (ED) i.e. impotence. Seen in a broader, more general sense, Tongkat Ali increases male fertility.
The extracts of Tongkat Ali are used as a herbal product, typically boiled in water to make a decoction or tonic, but also in the form of a paste or pill. It can be used pure, as an additional ingredient in herbal supplements, or as a food and drink additive, such as in energy drinks.
Although scientific research on Tongkat Ali is rather limited to date, a variety of studies show that Tongkat Ali indeed increases the testosterone hormone (with all derived benefits of higher testosterone levels), sperm volume, sperm motility, sexual drive (libido), and sexual arousal. Additionally, research also finds that it reduces fatigue, balances cortisol hormone levels, and improves general well-being.
The typical intake dosage of Tongkat Ali extracts are 100 mg to maximum 400 mg per day (depending on what one wants to treat), during one to three months. Tongkat Ali is generally considered safe, but the effects in children, pregnant women, or in breastfeeding women have not been studied.
Some articles about studies on Tongkat Ali can be found at, for instance:
- Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects
- Tongkat Ali as a potential herbal supplement for physically active male and female seniors
- Efficacy of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) on erectile function improvement
- Review on a Traditional Herbal Medicine, Eurycoma longifolia Jack (Tongkat Ali)
- Human Performance and Sports Applications of Tongkat Ali