It’s used in traditional medicine in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and other Asian countries to treat malaria, infections, fevers, male infertility, and erectile dysfunction.
The health benefits of tongkat ali likely stem from various compounds found in the plant.
Specifically, tongkat ali contains flavonoids, alkaloids, and other compounds that act as antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that fight cellular damage caused by molecules called free radicals. They may benefit your body in other ways as well.
Increase testosterone levels and improve male fertility
Here are science-backed research findings associated with testosterone restoration from consuming Tongkat Ali:
Tongkat Ali extract appeared to be beneficial as a health supplement in disabling the appearance of late-onset hypogonadism (LOH) symptoms.
For a period of one month, out of 320 patients suffering from late-onset hypogonadism (LOH), 76 patients were given 200 mg of water-soluble Tongkat Ali extract and results showed improvement in Ageing Males’ Symptoms (AMS) scores and improvement in the serum testosterone concentration. The method of AMS score is explained here.
Likewise, during another research by the University of Western Cape, South Africa, both men and women (ranging from the age of 57-72 years) were daily given 400-mg of Tongkat Ali extract over a course of 5 weeks.
It was observed that Tongkat Ali not only enhanced the levels of testosterone but also greatly promoted muscle strength in men and women. It was shown that women had an increase in free testosterone levels owing to the momentous reduction in the concentrations of sex hormone-binding globulin.
Tongkat ali’s potential to increase testosterone in men with low levels of this primary sex hormone is well known and well documented.
Low testosterone can result from aging, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, some medications, injury or infection of the testicles, and certain diseases, such as chronic alcoholism and obstructive sleep apnea.
Effects of inadequate testosterone levels include low libido, erectile dysfunction, and in some cases, infertility. Since compounds in tongkat ali may boost low testosterone, it could treat these issues.
A 1-month study in 76 older men with low testosterone found that taking 200 mg of tongkat ali extract per day significantly increased levels of this hormone to normal values in over 90% of participants.
What’s more, studies in both animals and humans show that taking tongkat ali stimulates sexual arousal and may improve erectile dysfunction in men. Furthermore tongkat ali may improve sperm motility and concentration, boosting male fertility. One study in 75 male partners of couples with infertility found that taking 200 mg of tongkat ali extract per day significantly improved sperm concentration and motility after 3 months. The treatment helped over 14% of couples become pregnant.
Similarly, a 12-week study in 108 men ages 30–55 observed that taking 300 mg of tongkat ali extract daily increased sperm volume and motility by an average of 18% and 44%, respectively. According to these studies, tongkat ali effectively treats low testosterone and infertility in some men.
Increases muscle growth and strength
In a study of 32 men published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 11g daily of Tongkat Ali supplements were given for 4 weeks and resulted in increased total strength based on squats, bench and deadlift exercise.
Similarly, in another 5 week study by Department of Medical Bioscience in the University of Western Cape, South Africa where 13 men and 12 women were given 400 mg each of Tongkat Ali daily revealed an increase of 16.6% of the muscular force hand-grip test in men and 13.7% in women. This study also confirms Tongkat Ali’s ergogenic benefit through improved muscle strength.
Tongkat Ali had a great impact on the improved muscle strength of middle-aged women too. This effect was found in a study conducted by the University of MARA Technology Malaysia on 31 women between 45 to 59 years. It was revealed that in a duration of 12 weeks, 200mg of Tongkat Ali daily resulted in 67% improvement on the bench press, 21% improvement on upper body power and significant improvement in handgrip strength.
In a similar 5-week study on 14 men published on the British Journal Sports of Medicine in 2003, showed an improvement in the strength and size of muscle. This is over and above significant improvement in athletic performance based on daily intake of Tongkat Ali.
Improve body composition
During a 12-week study conducted by a group of scientists at the School of Medical Science at the University of Science Malaysia on 109 men, in comparison with the placebo test subjects, the group exposed to 300mg of Tongkat Ali exhibited a decrease hip size, fat mass, and waist circumference!
Similarly, another research published on British Journal of Sports Medicine, Tongkat Ali showed increased in muscle strength and bulk with reduced body fat when given to 14 healthy men for 5 weeks.
The research by the University of South Africa, Tongkat Ali was shown to decrease body weight and belly fat in mice, with no change in the internal organ’s weight.
Tongkat ali is often claimed to boost athletic performance and increase muscle mass.
This is because it contains compounds called quassinoids, including eurycomaoside, eurycolactone, and eurycomanone, which may help your body use energy more efficiently, reduce fatigue, and improve endurance.
In other words, the supplement may act as an ergogenic aid, which is a substance that can enhance physical performance and improve body composition.
A small, 5-week study in 14 men participating in a strength training program found that those who took 100 mg of tongkat ali extract per day experienced significantly greater increases in lean body mass than those taking a placebo.
They also lost more fat than participants in the placebo group.
What’s more, a 5-week study in 25 active older adults discovered that supplementing with 400 mg of tongkat ali extract daily significantly increased muscular strength, compared to a placebo.
Tongkat Ali is proven by scientists to reduce anger, tension and confusion – factors that influence your mood and stress levels. The benefit of Tongkat Ali in this area helps busy professionals or those who are experiencing depression or stressful situations.
For those searching for a natural remedy without side-effects, Tongkat Ali is a proven alternative to Celexa, Zoloft and Prozac.
The Tongkat Ali bio-active compound responsible to produce this calming-effect is alkaloid – which is found in coffee, nicotine and other natural ingredients.
A study conducted by a well-known psychonutritionist Dr Shawn Talbot published at The Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition showed significant improvement in mood.
This study was performed in 2013 on 63 men and women who were in a reasonably stressed state. The results showed that 200mg daily of Tongkat Ali for 4 weeks resulted in:
Reduction in Tension by 11%
Reduction in Anger by 12%
Reduction in Confusion by 15%
Reduced cortisol exposure by 16%
These are scientific-backed proof that prehistoric and traditional remedy such as Tongkat Ali may be an effective method in protecting the body from the damaging effects of contemporary chronic stress – attribute by daily customary stress due to lack of sleep, dieting, and lack of exercise.
A 1999 study first identified the possible role of this remedy in treating mood issues and found that tongkat ali extract was comparable to a common anti-anxiety medication in reducing symptoms of anxiety in mice.
A 1-month study in 63 adults with moderate stress found that supplementing with 200 mg of tongkat ali extract per day reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol in saliva by 16%, compared to those who received a placebo.
Participants also reported significantly less stress, anger, and tension after taking tongkat ali.
Anti Inflammatory, Anti Bacterial and Parasitic Agent
A study in 2019 by a group of collaborative researchers from Kangwon National University in Korea and Hanoi University of Pharmacy found that Tongkat Ali contains anti-inflammatory properties.
In a study by Taif University published in the Saudi Medical Journal, it has been exhibited that the growth of harmful bacteria (which includes Salmonella, staph, typhoid-causing bacteria E and. coli,) was inhibited by Tongkat Ali in the laboratory.
Owing to the presence of quassinoids in Tongkat Ali, it has certain anti-parasitic properties which not only inhibit the growth of parasite, but also its movement and reproduction.
In another study conducted in the laboratory by a group of researchers at the University of Malaya in 2015, Tongkat Ali was seen to constrain the growth and production of a parasite (Blastocystis sp) which causes intestinal problems in our human body. Tongkat Ali exhibited the highest anti-protozoal activity at 1.0 mg/ml
Moreover, the growth of Toxoplasma gondii (toxoplasmosis causing parasite) was also seen to be inhibited by Tongkat Ali in another laboratory study
Enhancing the Immune System
Our immune system protects our body from virus and bacteria. The immune system is complex and early research on Tongkat Ali showed promising results to boost our immune system.
A research study conducted by Tokyo Medical University and Institute of Life Sciences in Japan in 2016 analyzes the effect of Tongkat Ali consumption using human test subjects.
Results showed the amount of T-cells, naïve T-cell amounts, and CD4+ were increased after 4-week period. Tests were performed by 84 human subjects (both middle-aged men and women)
This breakthrough in research and development in Japan was a milestone as Tongkat Ali is gaining rapid interest amongst mainstream scientists around the world.
Read detail analysis on how Tongkat Ali could potentially increase the number of immune cells (i.e T-cells, CD4+ and Naive T-Cells)
Reduce Blood Sugar and Blood pressure
Maintaining your blood sugar level is crucial as you age due to prolonged exposure of processed sugar from unregulated diet regime. When or if you are diagnosed with diabetes, your blood sugar level may be consistently high and can damage your body.
American Diabetes Association estimates 86 million people in the US are diagnosed with diabetes alone with more than 400 million people diagnosed with diabetes as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Tongkat Ali is classified as an adaptogen, thus helps the body resist stressors of all kinds, whether physical, chemical or biological.
At the same time, Tongkat Ali was found by scientists to reduce stress, anxiety and tension, largely due to alkaloids and quassianoids found in Tongkat Ali.
However, does it Tongkat Ali benefit patients with high blood pressure? Or does it help to promote the widening of the blood vessels to reduce the blood pressure?
We found the first research experiment performed to investigate the effect of Tongkat Ali on blood pressure levels by the Faculty of Medicine, the University of Malaya. This study published in the Journal of BioMed Research International in 2016, showed that Tongkat Ali enables the widening of blood vessels, resulting in reduced blood pressure