Tongkat Ali or Eurycoma longifolia (I will use both names of the plant in the article) is a shrub of Indonesian origin from the Simaroubaceae family. The latter can reach a size of about 10 meters.
There you have to ask yourself “What is this guy talking to me about botany, isn’t this a bodybuilding page? “. Don’t worry, I’m coming.
Tongkat Ali is a plant that has been used in traditional Indonesian medicine for thousands of years as (among other things) an aphrodisiac. And as a general rule, the plants used as aphrodisiacs in ancient medicines are actually plants that increase testosterone levels, giving them those aphrodisiac qualities. Unfortunately, since this plant is still very little known, we do not have a large number of studies on the subject. But we have a theory about how Tongkat Ali works on your testosterone levels. There she is :
It would seem that Tongkat Ali (or e Eurycoma longifolia) acts on your testosterone molecules by breaking its bonds with the SHBG protein (a protein that transports testosterone to a certain tissue), allowing more testosterone molecules to bind to the receptors androgens from your muscles. In other words: taking Tongkat Ali will increase your body’s free testosterone levels. Note: only 1-2% of the total testosterone you have in your body is “free”. That said, the results of some studies lead us to believe that the plant also interacts with other physiological processes.
What part of tongkat ali to ingest?
The part commonly ingested in Indonesia and other neighboring countries is the root. The latter is transformed into powder, and traditionally ingested in a coffee.
- Online, the best-selling form is simply the root powder.
- Okay, enough blabla, let’s analyze the studies on the plant
- Photo of eurycoma longifolia or tongkat ali
Tongkat ali (or E urycoma longifolia ) and testosterone: review of studies
In this part, we will analyze the studies done on tongkat ali and its links to your testosterone levels and your physical performance. We will end this list with a new study on the tongkat ali of 2021 which shows the full potential of this plant.
Let’s start with this study from 2013:
63 participants (32 men and 31 women) took 200 mg of tongkat ali powder or a placebo daily for 4 weeks.
Results: the tension of the participants, their anger, and more generally their level of cortisol decreased compared to the placebo group (-11%, -12% and -16% respectively). And, brace yourself, their salivary testosterone levels increased by 37%.
Note: the salivary testosterone level is as representative or more than the measurement by blood test.
Cortisol is the main stress hormone. An inverse correlation exists between cortisol and testosterone (more cortisol = less test and vice versa).
For those who didn’t understand, 37% is just huge.
According to this study, the increase in testosterone from tongkat ali would be made through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (by limiting stress).
Now for the oldest study (2012):
109 participants between the ages of 30 and 55 took 300 mg of eurycoma longifolia powder or 300 mg of placebo. 12 weeks later (the duration of the study), the group who took the tongkat ali powder saw a significant increase in the number of erections, libido, quality and quantity of their sperm, as well as an improvement in all measures of physical functioning relative to the control group.
And for participants with a BMI over 25, their amount of body fat dropped significantly.BSo, it is true that testosterone levels were not measured directly during this study. But it should be noted that the results correspond to what one would expect from a substance that increases testo (increased sexual health and performance).
So the most logical interpretation, when you take into account the results of the last study, is that taking tonkgat ali will positively affect your test levels. And if this interpretation is true, tongkat ali would increase testosterone also through the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis.
Then we have this 2014 study.
During this study, 25 elderly people (13 men and 12 women) took 400 mg of tongkat ali for 5 weeks.
Participants saw their SHBG levels drop by 20%. Free testosterone levels increased for all participants taking tongkat ali. Their muscle strength also increased. That said, this study has a big problem, there is no placebo group, which greatly reduces the reliability of the results.
Now, on to the recent study (2021):
This study was done with a placebo control, double-blind and with paired participants. Placebo control and double blind you already know, but you may not know what a study where participants are paired.
A study with paired participants is a study where participants with the same external factors (age, physical activity, diets, etc.) are paired. And among each duo, one of the participants will be in the placebo group and the other in the group taking eurycoma longifolia . By doing this, the results obtained are more representative .
Anyway, back to our study. 32 men took 600 mg/day of best Tongkat Ali Supplement for 2 weeks. The results were measured from participants’ blood.
Participants taking the supplement saw their levels of total, free testosterone, and estradiol (estrogen levels) increase. That said, there was no change in the level of LH (one of the hormones that signals testo relaxation).
The researchers conclude that E urycoma longifolia could therefore increase the speed of muscle gain and strength. Studies analyzing testosterone changes when taking tongkat ali are now complete. That said, there are plenty of other studies on the benefits of the supplement on your sexual health.
Other Sexual Health Studies
Overall, the vast majority of studies show an increase in libido, frequency, intensity of erection, as well as other factors.
Take for example this meta- analysis on Eurycoma longifolia . Of 11 studies analyzed, 7 show a great improvement in sexual health parameters in men, and only 4 show no difference. The researchers conclude that this plant seems to be very effective against sexual health problems (in men). here are many other studies that come to this same conclusion, such as this review of studies .
Tongkat ali and testosterone: what should we conclude?
First of all, we must start by saying that more studies on testosterone variations are needed to be able to conclude with more certainty. That said, according to the studies that we have, it is very likely that supplementation with eurycoma longifolia helps to fight against sexual disorders of all kinds.
Will tongkat ali supplementation increase your testosterone?
I would say yes.
It is true that there are not a huge number of studies showing that taking eurycoma longifolia increases testo, but on the other hand. That said, if taking tongkat ali increases testosterone levels (I think so), this would explain why this plant also improves sexual health parameters (hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis).
And even if this plant has no direct effect on testosterone, the supplement could indirectly increase the levels of this male hormone by reducing the level of cortisol present in the body (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) or by increasing the level of free testosterone (very good for muscle gain).
- Personally, I’m going to start supplementing with tongkat ali.
- Additional Important Eurycoma Longifolia Information
- Supplement Toxicity
Consider this tongkat ali toxicity study . For doses higher than 0.29 g/kg/d (huge dose), participants had an elevation of certain problematic kidney parameters (male and female), as well as elevations in the lipid profile for women (exclusively).
I would therefore not recommend doses higher than 0.29 g/kg/day (i.e. 20.3 grams per day for a 70 kg person, very far from the doses of less than one gram used during the studies).
A study also tested whether the Sumatra Pasak Bumi powders on the market contained mutagens or heavy metals. Put simply, they conclude that tongkat ali powders alone should not be toxic, but some of the supplements containing multiple herbs including eurycoma longifolia might pose a risk of toxicity.
Since this herb has only recently entered public discussion, there really isn’t a “standard” dosage. Knowing this, and knowing the risks of toxicity, I would advise taking doses infinitely smaller than 0.3g/kg/d.
I would recommend 600 mg/day/person (for a 70 kilo man) , because that is the dose used in the 2021 study and the results of the latter are still impressive, and at this dose, the risks of toxicity are much lower than those for a dosage of 0.3 g/kg/d. I would add/remove about 10 mg per kilo if you weigh more/less than 70 kg. And I would wait for more studies on the subject before taking a higher dosage.
A study of the daily intake of adult rats calculated up to 1.2 g / day, based on the level of damage assessed in mice; however, the type of text used in that study was not specified. In humans, 400 mg / day Pysta did not cause any toxins in liver or kidney function for 6 weeks. Tongkat Ali is considered safe daily in the recommended doses of 200-400 mg. The Endocrine Society recommends that men with prostate cancer should avoid testosterone treatment.
Because Tongkat Ali increases testosterone levels, it may be a risk factor for older men, who are not usually diagnosed with incurable breast cancer. It should also be used with caution in patients receiving hypoglycemic medications and in patients with a strong immune system. This study suggests that it should be avoided by pregnant or lactating women (due to lack of research on men). Other sources make it clear that the use of “breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, or respiratory failure …” should not be avoided, as there is no real cause for most of these . . called.
The authors agree that more research is needed to evaluate performance. Research to date can be considered as a factor that may help guide future research in vivo and clinical trials. The authors also suggest that Tongkat Ali may be an important source of leading commissions in drug development.
The price of the pure supplement seems perfectly affordable. 100 g will cost you between 20 and 100 €, so it comes down to a maximum expenditure of 65 cents per day. You’re not going to ruin yourself with this.
I hope this article has been useful to you. If you have a question, don’t hesitate to ask it in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer it. That said, I would also appreciate if you would visit another page of this fabulous website (if the creator of the site says so, it must be true). For example, you can visit my pages on other aphrodisiac plants like the page on fenugreek seeds or my page on bulbine nataliensis .