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.
Tongkat Ali, whose scientific name corresponds to Eurycoma longifolia, is a plant that is known in different ways, depending on where we find it. While in Indonesia it is called pasak bumi, in the United States, Canada and Australia it is often called longjack.
This plant is native to Southeast Asia and Indonesia is the country with the largest population, with smaller concentrations in nations such as Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Laos. In the same way, it stands out for reaching a height of up to 12 meters in a period of between 10 to 15 years, adopting a reddish color when ripe.
Now, the root of the tree is the one attributed to compounds that have been used for centuries for medicinal purposes, either to increase testosterone levels or treat erectile dysfunction, among other uses. Today it can be found as an extract or in capsules.
Potential Health Benefits of Tongkat Ali
Traditional medicine in some Southeast Asian countries uses Tongkat Ali benefits to treat fever, malaria, and male infertility. Let’s look at some of its other possible health effects, based on the available evidence.
1. 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 Andrologia suggested that tongkat Ali may increase levels of this hormone.
Similarly, research in 76 older men with low testosterone levels suggested that taking 200 milligrams of tongkat Ali extract daily for 1 month significantly increased hormone levels by 90%.
Likewise, an investigation in animals showed that the consumption of Eurycoma longifolia is capable of increasing sexual stimulation and improving erectile dysfunction.
Lastly, there is scientific evidence that tongkat ali can also increase sperm motility and concentration, thus improving male fertility. According to a study published in the Asian Journal of Andrology, the intake of 400 milligrams improves sperm motility by 44%.
2. Reduce stress
A study published in the Japanese Journal of Pharmacology found that tongkat ali can act as an anxiolytic medication and relieve anxiety symptoms in mice. Now, although these same effects have been observed in humans, more research is required.
On the other hand, research in 63 moderately stressed adults found that taking supplements of 200 milligrams of tongkat ali extract daily lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol by 16% . Likewise, the participants experienced less anxiety.
3. Can improve body composition
It is proven that tongkat Ali can work as an ergogenic aid, that is, a substance capable of improving sports performance and increasing body mass. In general, this is because it is a source of quassinoids, chemical compounds that allow the body to use energy more efficiently, reducing fatigue and increasing endurance.
A study of 14 men who were 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 led to gains in muscle strength. However, a study in cyclists concluded that a drink with a little of this plant does not improve performance or strength, but rather its action is similar to that of water.
Considerations and side effects of tongkat Ali
Although the consumption of tongkat Ali in humans has not shown any side effects, it should be noted that little research has been done. On the other hand, a study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology found that the root from Malaysia has mercury levels that are 26 percent higher than the recommended limit.
In general, this could cause mercury poisoning, the symptoms of which include mood swings, as well as memory and motor skill problems.
However, since it has not been tested in children, pregnant or lactating women, it is unknown if it can be safe and its consumption is not recommended in these population groups.
Dosage and recommendations
According to a study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine , taking 300 milligrams of tongkat ali daily may be safe . Similarly, research published in Molecules and Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that taking up to 1.2 grams of its extract is safe in adults.
Although there are no studies that have examined long-term use. Therefore, there is no certainty of employment in chronicity.
Tongkat Ali: studied for erectile dysfunction and infertility
Eurycoma longifolia is a plant native to Southeast Asia that can reach 12 meters. Despite its height, it is its root that is used for medicinal purposes.
For centuries, the traditional medicines of the different countries in this area have used tongkat Ali to reduce fever and treat malaria, erectile dysfunction and male infertility.
For its part, science has shown that it is effective in increasing testosterone levels and, therefore, in helping against impotence and infertility. Other science-backed benefits include stress reduction and improved body composition.
However, despite being considered safe to consume through supplements and extracts, it could be harmful due to its high mercury content. Also, it is not recommended for children, pregnant and lactating women.