Tongkat ali (Eurycoma longifolia Jack) Herbal Medicine

This article discusses the medicinal uses, health Benefits, side effects and warnings of Tongkat ali.

Tongkat ali  is one of the well-known folk medicines for aphrodisiac effects as well as intermittent fever (malaria) in Asia. Tongkat ali is also used as a body building supplement but is more popularly used to improve sexual performance in men.

Tongkat ali

Scientific Name: Eurycoma longifolia Jack

Also knows as:

pasak bumi, bidara laut (Indonesian); tho nan (Laos); plaalai phuenk, hae phan chan, , phiak (Thai); babi kurus (Javanese); cay ba binh (Viet Namese); Tongkat ali, bedara merah, penawar pahit, lempedu pahit, penawar bias, bedara putih, payong ali, muntah bumi, tongkat baginda, petala bumi (Malay);

Tongkat ali (pasak bumi) with scientific name Eurycoma longifolia, is a flowering plant that is native in Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Tongkat ali is a treelet that takes about 20 years to mature and grows up to 15 meters in height. Tongkat ali leaves has spiral pinnate leaves that are about 20 to 40 centimeters long with about 13 to 41 leaflets. Tongkat ali flowers bloom in pink to reddish pink in color. tongkat ali fruitsThe flowers are dioecious, with the male and the female flowers blooming in different trees. Tongkat ali bears fruits that are originally green the turns to red then dark red in color as it ripens. Tongkat ali fruit is obloid in shape with length up to 2 cm and 1 cm in width

Folkloric uses of Tongkat Ali herbal medicine include the treatment for diarrhea, boils, ulcer, tuberculosis, jaundice and dysentery. It is used to increase muscle mass such as in body building. But Tongkat ali is widely known for its ability to enhance sexual activity in men.

Tongkat ali Traditional Medicinal Uses

Tongkat ali is largely used in traditional herbal medicine for various conditions.

Almost the entire plant has use in folkloric herbal medicine. Each has its own health benefits.

Tongkat ali leaves. The decoctions from Eurycoma longifolia leaves are used for washing itches and wounds.

Tongkat ali Fruits. The fruits are used in curing dysentery.

Tongkat ali bark. The bark is mostly used as a vermifuge

Tongkat ali taproots are used to treat high blood pressure,

Tongkat ali root bark is used for the treatment of diarrhea and fever.

tongkat ali roots

Tongkat ali roots. The roots has the most health benefits and is widely used. Root extract of Eurycoma longifolia are used for sexual dysfunction, aging, malaria, cancer, diabetes, anxiety, aches, constipation, exercise recovery, fever, increased energy, increased strength, leukemia, osteoporosis, stress, syphilis and glandular swelling.
The roots are also used as an aphrodisiac, antibiotic, appetite stimulant and health supplement.

Scientific Studies Relating to Tongkat ali Health Benefits

Tongkat Ali as sexual activity enhancer. Scientific studies have shown that Tongkat ali enhances sexual characteristics and performance in rodents In other laboratory animal tests, it has been observed that there is an increase of sexual activity in mature rats which exhibited arousal, sniffing, and mounting behavior. In another study for Tongkat ali, it was found that eurycoma longifolia increases sperm count when compared with that of the control and infertile animals.("Ang, HH; Lee, KL; Kiyoshi, M (2004). "Sexual arousal in sexually sluggish old male rats after oral administration of Eurycoma longifolia Jack". Journal of basic and clinical physiology and pharmacology)

Tongkat ali as anabolic enhancer. The anabolic impact of Eurycoma longifolia has been confirmed in the animal model, when the size and weight of just one muscle was measured in treated and untreated rats of equal size. "Results showed that 800 mg/kg of butanol, methanol, water and chloroform fractions of E. longifolia Jack significantly increased (p<0.05) the levator ani muscle (Ang, HH; Cheang, HS (2001). "Effects of Eurycoma longifolia jack on laevator ani muscle in both uncastrated and testosterone-stimulated castrated intact male rats". Archives of pharmacal research)

Tongkat ali, anti-cancer activity. Studies made by Taiwanese scientists isolated compounds from the roots of Eurycoma longifolia, that exhibited "strong cytotoxicity" towards human lung and breast cancer cell lines. (Kuo, Ping-Chung; Damu, Amooru G; Lee, Kuo-Hsiung; Wu, Tian-Shung (2004). "Cytotoxic and antimalarial constituents from the roots of Eurycoma longifolia". Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry)
Another study confirmed that fractions of Eurycoma longifolia extract induced apoptosis in breast-cancer cells

Tongkat Ali with anti-malaria activity. Tongkat ali or Eurycomanone as a bioactive component has shown strong anti-malarial activities. It is currently being studied and selected for further investigation of its derivatives to enhance its anti-malarial activities.

Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state. This study indicates that daily supplementation with tongkat ali root extract improves stress hormone profile and certain mood state parameters, suggesting that this “ancient” remedy may be an effective approach to shielding the body from the detrimental effects of “modern” chronic stress, which may include general day-to-day stress, as well as the stress of dieting, sleep deprivation, and exercise training.(Source: J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013)

Tongkat ali Dosage and Safe Usage

Where can I get or buy Tongkat ali?

Tongakat ali can be bought from health and drug stores. Tongkat ali can be bouhgt over the counter and would not require a doctor's presciption. You can purchase Tongkat Ali online.

Take note that there are a lot of variants, brands and grades whereby Tongkat ali is sold. Needless to say, some may be less effective than others. Buy your tongkat ali herbal medicine from reputable sources. Amazon listed: Pure Science SD-200 Tongkat Ali Extract this enjoys a very good review from users and can be an indication of good quality.

What is the usual dosage for Tongkat ali?

The usual dosage for Tongkat ali depends on the ability of the body to absorb the constituents and adjust to its effect. It is recommended to start at small dosage to minimize potential side effects incrementally increasing to full recommended dosage. It is best to consult and follow the product labels.

Typically, tongkat ali supplementation is taken by periodic cycle to avoid

Body building. Most bodybuilders would cycle from a six to eight weeks supplementation then a 2 weeks break.

For improved sexual performance, a five-day supplementation and two-days break is the typical cycle.

Tongkat ali Warnings and Side Effects

Tongkat Ali just like most herbal plants are safe for use in small dosages and at limited time. But large doses taken in prolonged time may result to the following unfavorable conditions.

Insomnia. The most commonly reported Tongkat Ali side effect is insomnia. It is recommended that Tongkat Ali be taken in small doses at first and let the body cope with its effect before using at recommended dosage.

Behavior change. Tongkat Ali is known to boost the testerone level in the body. This increase of testerone may manifest as change in personality. Others reported irritability, restlessness, impatience and the tendency of being easily angered.

Tongkat ali use is not recommended for pregnant women. There are no sufficient studies that have been made to establish the adverse effect of Tongkat Ali in pregnancy.

Tongkat ali use is known to further decrease the immune system, thus it is not advisable for those who already have weakened immune system.

Tongkat Ali is a powerful herbal medicine that is now being regulated by various medical and health agencies. If adverse reaction and symptoms occurs, stop its use and consult your doctor.

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Article last reviewed: 10.21.2016