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History & Uses of Tongkat Ali

August 25, 2022

History & Uses of Tongkat Ali

Tongkat Ali is a shrubby herb that comes from Southeast Asia that offers a variety of health benefits. In this article, we’ll explain exactly what it is, the history behind it, the potential risks/side effects, and the benefits it offers.

Tongkat Ali: What is it?

As mentioned, Tongkat Ali is a shrubby herb from Southeast Asia. It is also known as Eurycoma longifolia. It can typically be found in Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Some other versions of this plant can be found in Cambodia, Myanmar, and Thailand.

So, what does “Tongkat Ali” mean? The name literally translates to “Ali’s walking stick”, which refers to the aphrodisiac effects it seems to have on people. Some people say it refers to the roots of the plants, which are sometimes used for their medicinal value.

There are also a few other names used for this plant:

  • Malaysian ginseng
  • Long Jack
  • Ali’s Umbrella

There are a few other plants that are sometimes called Tongkat Ali, but the primary one is E. longifolia.

Historical Uses for Tongkat Ali

Those who are familiar with this herb know that it is primarily used as an aphrodisiac, but that’s not the only use for it.

In the past, it has been used as a treatment for malaria. In fact, this entire plant has been used to create a variety of remedies. It can also be used to treat body pain, aid in workout recovery, to reduce anxiety, and to regulate blood pressure. It can also be used to help with appetite, improve energy and strength, and it’s often used for its antibiotic properties to treat a variety of infections.

Some countries have used to as a treatment for male infertility and erectile dysfunction.  

Of course, please note that this is not a full list of its uses. This is just a sampling to show you the versatility of this plant. In fact, there is a lot of anecdotal information indicating that it’s useful for treating many conditions, but research is limited regarding just how effective it really is.

In the past, most people used liquid versions of Tongkat Ali. However, now you can find it in powdered and capsule forms.

This herb also contains flavonoids, alkaloids, and components that act as antioxidants, which is why this herb is good for you- it can fight off cell damage in your body.

Many herbalists consider Tongkat Ali to be an adaptogen, which is something that helps your body deal with the effects of stress.

Tongkat Ali Benefits & Side Effects

Now that you know a little more about this plant, let’s take a closer look at the benefits and side effects associated with Tongkat Ali.

Benefits

As mentioned, this herb is used for a variety of things. Some of the benefits include:

Male fertility and reproductive issues

If you’re struggling with male infertility and reproductive issues, this herb could potentially help. In the past, it has been used to treat fertility and sexual performance issues. In fact, it has been proven to boost testosterone levels in men who have low T.

Men may have low T due to a variety of things including particular diseases, testicular injury, certain medications, and chemotherapy. If any of these are causing or contributing to low T, Tongkat Ali may be able to help.

One study indicated that this herb may improve sperm, including larger volume, vitality, sperm count, and motility. Another study involved couples struggling with infertility and after 3 months of taking Tongkat Ali, more than 14% of the couples became pregnant.  

As mentioned, it’s also been used as an aphrodisiac. Since it increases testosterone levels, it also improves dopamine in the brain.

Finally, it can also be used as a treatment for erectile dysfunction.

Improves body composition

There is some information suggesting that Tongkat Ali can also improve muscle mass and improve performance in athletic activities. The reason for this is because it contains compounds such as quassinoids, eurycolactone, and eurycomaoside, which help your body store and use energy more efficiently. It is also believed to improve endurance and reduce fatigue.

Some research indicates that this herb is an ergogenic aid, so it can improve overall body composition.

Research has examined men engaging in strength training programs and found that those who took this herb had better performance and improved body composition more than those that were not. Of course, it does depend on how you take it and how long you take it.

Reduces Stress Levels

If you’re feeling stressed, Tongkat Ali may be helpful. Some studies indicate that individuals taking this herb are less tense, confused, and angry after taking it for a period of 4 weeks. This is likely due to the reduction in cortisol and increase in testosterone levels.

There is also data suggesting that this herb could help with sleep issues, chronic stress, and more. However, it’s important to note that these studies are limited- but the results are positive. Still, we need more studies to confirm these findings.

Improves bone health

There have been a few smaller studies on animals indicating that this herb can also improve bone health. In one rodent study, it was shown that while Tongkat Ali is not as effective on bone health as some of the other Malaysian herbs, it can potentially reduce the rate of bone loss.

Reduces inflammation

There is some information suggesting that Tongkat Ali can fight bacteria, especially salmonella typhi and Escherichia coli. It has also been proven that the anti-inflammatory elements and antioxidant properties meaning it may protect against a variety of illnesses.

Benefits for Female Sexual Health

In addition to being helpful for men, it is also ideal for balancing female hormones. After all, imbalanced hormones can cause a variety of issues for women, including brain fog, low sex drive, fatigue, and more.

Hormones are also involved in metabolism as well. If they are out of balance, it can cause a variety of issues. Tongkat Ali improves metabolism and prevents weight gain due to age.

Tongkat Ali can be used by women to increase their sex drive and energy levels. Since it can increase sensitivity in the female erogenous zones, it can boost female libido in general.

Potential Side Effects

Of course, as with anything else, there are some potential side effects and dangers associated with Tongkat Ali. We’ll look at a few of those below:

Most of the studies involving Tongkat Ali agree that it seems to be safe overall- but again, the studies are limited.

One study indicated that taking 300 milligrams of Tongkat Ali is just as safe as taking a placebo of the same amount. Other information indicates that you can safely consume up to 1.2 grams of this herb but there have been no official studies, so it’s best to be careful. In addition, this herb has not been studied for its long-term effects, so it’s a bit of a gray area.

It is important to mention that this herb is often used to treat erectile dysfunction and male infertility. Research does indicate that there are no catastrophic side effects on sperm cells in test tubes, but if taken in large amounts, it may be toxic. However, please note that this has only been demonstrated in animal studies.

That being said, it is important that you exercise caution if you have a hormone-based cancer. It is believed that this herb increases testosterone levels, which can be a problem for those with hormone-based cancers.

You must also be careful if you’re taking medications to reduce blood glucose levels, since Tongkat Ali can increase the effects of these medications. Also, at this time, it is unclear how Tongkat Ali affects women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, so it’s best to avoid this herb if you fall into that category.

Some versions of this her contain mercury, which has been proven to be lethal in large doses.

Some people do experience side effects such as insomnia, restlessness, and irritability when taking this herb- while others have no side effects at all. If you do experience side effects, you should stop using it immediately.

Where to Buy Tongkat Ali

Since Tongkat Ali is an herbal supplement, it is widely available. Our hormone optimization product, XWERKS Rise contains Tongkat Ali along with other clinically backed natural ingredients.

Conclusion

As you can see, Tongkat Ali has a long history of use with a variety of benefits. If you believe that it may be beneficial for you, it’s worth giving it a try. However, just like with anything else, you’ll want to check with your physician before trying it to ensure that you do not have any underlying health conditions and you’re not taking any medications that could be affected by this herb.

Ultimately, this little herb offers a variety of benefits for men and women alike, but it’s important to weigh the benefits versus the risks first.

References

Cleveland Clinic. “Malaria: Symptoms, Treatment, Causes, Prevention and Signs.” Cleveland Clinic, 20 Aug. 2020, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15014-malaria.

“Do Aphrodisiacs Really Work?” Cleveland Clinic, 7 Jan. 2022, health.clevelandclinic.org/what-are-aphrodisiacs/. Accessed 25 Aug. 2022.

“Erectile Dysfunction (ED): Causes, Treatment, and More.” Healthline, 2014, www.healthline.com/health/erectile-dysfunction.

HealthWebMagazine. “Female Libido: Say Good-Bye to Low Sex Drive with These Tips.” Health Web Magazine, 16 Apr. 2021, www.healthwebmagazine.com/womens-health/boost-libido-in-women/. Accessed 25 Aug. 2022.

Mayo Clinic. “Male Infertility - Symptoms and Causes.” Mayo Clinic, 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/male-infertility/symptoms-causes/syc-20374773.

Watson, Kathryn. “Everything You Need to Know about Flavonoids.” Healthline, 23 Oct. 2019, www.healthline.com/health/what-are-flavonoids-everything-you-need-to-know.

“What Do Tongkat Ali Supplements Do?” Verywell Fit, www.verywellfit.com/the-benefits-of-tongkat-ali-89588. Accessed 25 Aug. 2022.

“What Is Cortisol?” Verywell Health, www.verywellhealth.com/cortisol-what-it-is-its-functions-associated-conditions-5208916.



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