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Tongkat ali

What it is, benefits, side effects, dosage, and recommendation

Tongkat ali is a herbal supplement used to treat male infertility and low testosterone. This article discusses its benefits, side effects, and dosage.

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts, and fact-checked by experts.
We look at both sides of the argument and strive to be objective, unbiased, and honest.
Tongkat ali extract: Benefits, side effects, and dosage
Last updated on February 16, 2024, and last reviewed by an expert on September 15, 2023.

Tongkat ali is a natural cure that’s been a staple in Southeast Asian home remedies for ages.

Tongkat ali extract: Benefits, side effects, and dosage

People commonly use it for different health problems like high temperatures, issues with sexual performance, and fighting off bacteria.

Some research indicates that tongkat ali could help improve men’s reproductive health, lower stress levels, and even enhance your physical shape, although more studies are needed to confirm this.

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This article digs into tongkat ali, covering its perks, potential downsides, and recommended amounts.

In this article

What is tongkat ali?

Tongkat ali, also known as longjack, is a natural supplement sourced from the roots of the Eurycoma longifolia tree, native to Southeast Asia.

In traditional healing practices of Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and other Asian nations, it’s used for a range of health issues like malaria, infections, fevers, issues with male reproductive health, and sexual performance problems.

The plant’s health perks likely come from a mix of special ingredients it contains.

To get specific, tongkat ali is rich in flavonoids, alkaloids, and other elements that work as antioxidants. These antioxidants help combat cell damage from rogue molecules known as free radicals, and they might have other health benefits too.

You can usually find tongkat ali in pill form, featuring an herbal extract, or in special health beverages.

Summary: Tongkat ali is a natural remedy coming from the Eurycoma longifolia tree in Southeast Asia. It’s packed with different beneficial substances and is used for treating a range of health problems, from male reproductive issues to infections.

Potential health benefits of tongkat ali

While many claims about tongkat ali’s health benefits still need more research, some studies do support its use for improving men’s reproductive health, enhancing mood, and boosting muscle growth.

Tongkat ali can lift testosterone and help with male fertility

Tongkat ali is widely recognized for its ability to boost testosterone in men who have lower-than-normal levels of this crucial sex hormone.

Reasons for low testosterone can vary, from getting older to undergoing treatments like chemotherapy or radiation, or even due to specific medications and conditions such as chronic alcoholism or sleep disorders.

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Low testosterone can lead to a decrease in sexual drive, difficulties in maintaining an erection, and even fertility issues. Tongkat ali, with its natural compounds, may help remedy these problems.

A study that lasted one month involving 76 older men with low testosterone showed that a daily intake of 200 mg of tongkat ali extract could significantly raise testosterone levels. More than 90% of the men saw their levels return to normal.

Furthermore, research on both animals and people indicates that tongkat ali can spark sexual excitement and may be beneficial in treating erectile dysfunction.

Tongkat ali can also improve the movement and number of sperm, making it helpful for male fertility.

One particular study with 75 men in couples struggling with infertility showed that taking 200 mg of tongkat ali extract daily substantially improved sperm quality and movement over three months. This treatment assisted over 14% of the couples in conceiving.

Another 12-week study involving 108 men between the ages of 30 and 55 found that a daily dose of 300 mg of tongkat ali extract led to an average increase of 18% in sperm volume and 44% in sperm motility.

Based on these studies, tongkat ali appears to be effective in treating low testosterone and improving male fertility, although more comprehensive studies are still needed.

Tongkat ali can help reduce stress

Tongkat ali could be a natural way to lower stress hormones in your system, ease your anxiety, and better your mood.

Back in 1999, a study first highlighted how this herbal remedy could play a role in managing mood disorders. In this study, tongkat ali extract was found to be as effective as a commonly used anti-anxiety medication in lessening anxiety symptoms in mice.

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There’s also some evidence showing similar mood-improving effects in humans, although the research is still not extensive.

In a one-month study with 63 adults who had moderate levels of stress, taking 200 mg of tongkat ali extract daily reduced the stress hormone cortisol in their saliva by 16%, compared to a placebo group.

People in the study also felt notably less stressed, angry, and tense after using tongkat ali.

While these findings are encouraging, additional human studies are required to fully understand its benefits.

Tongkat ali might enhance physical performance and muscle growth

Tongkat ali is often touted as a way to improve athletic abilities and help build muscle.

It contains specific compounds known as quassinoids, such as eurycomaoside, eurycolactone, and eurycomanone. These compounds may help your body use energy more effectively, lessen tiredness, and boost stamina. In simple terms, it can act as a performance enhancer that helps improve how your body looks and performs.

In a small 5-week study involving 14 men who were doing strength training, those who took 100 mg of tongkat ali extract daily saw a more significant increase in muscle mass compared to those who didn’t take the supplement.

These men also lost more body fat than the participants who took a placebo.

Additionally, a separate 5-week study in 25 older adults who were physically active found that taking 400 mg of tongkat ali extract daily led to a considerable rise in muscle strength when compared to a placebo group.

However, in a small study involving cyclists, a beverage containing tongkat ali didn’t boost performance or strength any more than drinking regular water did.

The mixed results suggest that while tongkat ali could have some performance-enhancing effects, the effectiveness may depend on the dosage and how long you take it. More research is still needed to confirm these benefits.

Summary: Research indicates that tongkat ali might improve testosterone levels, assist with male fertility, reduce stress, and potentially help in building muscle. However, more in-depth studies are needed to validate these claims.

Potential side effects and recommended dosage of tongkat ali

So far, human studies on tongkat ali haven’t flagged any significant side effects.

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One study even stated that taking 300 mg of tongkat ali extract every day was just as safe as taking a sugar pill or placebo.

However, other research suggests that you could safely take up to 1.2 grams of tongkat ali extract per day if you’re an adult. But remember, this amount hasn’t been confirmed in scientific studies. We also don’t know yet about its safety in the long term.

It’s important to note that a study analyzing 100 tongkat ali supplements from Malaysia found that a concerning 26% contained mercury levels exceeding the safe limit. Consuming too much mercury can lead to serious issues like mood swings, memory problems, and issues with motor skills.

As for special populations like children or pregnant and breastfeeding women, the safety of tongkat ali hasn’t been studied. So it’s best to steer clear until we know more.

Summary: For most healthy adults, taking 200–400 mg of tongkat ali daily seems safe. But its long-term safety is unknown, and it’s not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Also, be cautious of mercury content in some supplements.

Should you take tongkat ali?

Some studies show that tongkat ali might help with things like anxiety and improving your body’s muscle-to-fat ratio, but the research isn’t extensive.

It could also help men who have low testosterone levels, low sex drive, or fertility issues.

However, most of the research so far has focused on short-term use and doses up to 400 mg per day. We still don’t know if taking tongkat ali for a long time is either safe or beneficial.

If you’re considering adding tongkat ali to your health regimen, it’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider first.

Be aware that some tongkat ali supplements could have mercury in them, which is unsafe. Also, the supplement market isn’t tightly regulated, so you might get a product that contains either more or less tongkat ali than what’s stated on the label. Always choose a trusted brand that has third-party testing.

If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or dealing with specific medical conditions or medications, consult your healthcare provider before taking tongkat ali.

Summary: Tongkat ali has the potential to improve low testosterone, reduce stress, and better your body composition. However, the research is still limited, so consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice.


Tongkat ali, also known as longjack, is a herbal supplement that some say can help with things like low testosterone, male fertility, stress relief, athletic performance, and gaining muscle.

But remember, there isn’t a ton of research to back up all these claims.

If you’re thinking about giving tongkat ali a try, your best move is to chat with your healthcare provider first. Also, make sure to pick a trusted brand, whether you’re shopping in a store or online.

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