Review: Tongkat Ali Benefits & Effects
Tongkat Ali comes under many guises, however, does it have any health benefits? Read on to find out more about this shrub native to South East Asia.
LAST UPDATED: March 2019 by Ben.
Eurycoma Longfolia & Testosterone
Tongkat Ali is present in many natural testosterone booster supplement products.
What we seem to find in these testosterone booster supplements are the extracts of a tall, slender shrub which is native to Southeast Asia.
It has been claimed for centuries that this can increase libido when it forms part of a tea, these claims still exist as do claims of increasing testosterone levels.
As a result, the plant is now an endangered species as companies look to profit from its traditional uses.
If you weren’t quite sure, tongkat ali comes under a variety of names.
The most common are as follows:
- Eurycoma Longifolia
- Tung Saw
Tongkat Ali Supplement
However, it is not just virility and testosterone that this plant is claimed to improve, and hence why it is so popular as a supplement.
According to some sources the chemicals in this plant are able to treat the following areas:
- Erectile dysfunction (impotency)
- Male infertility
- High blood pressure
- Bone pains
That is quite a list.
Yet, there are even more benefits. Traditional uses boast that it is also able to increase:
- Fat burn
- Testosterone levels
- Athletic performance
You may think that this long list is somewhat absurd, especially whereby it is claimed to treat cancer, malaria and syphilis.
And, you would be correct…
There is no substantial evidence available that demonstrate these health problems can be treated. Including increasing testosterone levels. 
In fact, you could extend that list to nearly everyone of those spurious claims.
There is a glimmer of hope for male infertility though.
However, even the science behind this ‘evidence’ does seem a little biased.
That is because it seems only one particular product, from Malaysia can improve the quality and quantity of sperm for men who are infertile.
Now, before you are start running around shouting in joy, it is important to understand that only 30 million men globally are infertile. 
What are the Tongkat Ali side effects?
Thankfully there is very little evidence that would warn us against the use of Tongkat Ali.
It seems very safe all round.
Tongkat Ali doesn’t seem to have any adverse effect or interactions with any other medications which is promising.
Tongkat Ali is very safe.
Toxicity levels have been demonstrated to be as high as 2,000mg per kilogram of body weight.
Yet, there were no observed unwanted side effects from doses of up to 1,000mg per kilogram of body weight.
Besides, past human studies a daily dose of 600mg has had no ill effect on blood profiles or liver function. 
Are there any Tongkat Ali Benefits for Males & Females?
This is where we have to dig really deep to see what the point of Tongkat Ali is, and what its purpose could possibly be.
As Tongkat Ali is commonly included in testosterone boosters, I wanted to establish whether Tongkat Ali could have any effect on natural testosterone levels.
One possible function was its ability to reduce stress, this is because too much stress can reduce natural testosterone production.
Can Tongkat Ali Reduce Cortisol?
First we need to understand what Cortisol is.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone and nature’s built in alarm system. It controls fear, mood and motivation levels.
If you have too much cortisol being produced and circulating your body it can cause weight gain, increase fatigue and lower testosterone production. 
As a result it is important to ensure that we can find a hormone balance, it is no secret that testosterone levels in men and women peak before they it the age of 30 years old.
Again, it is no secret that people are stressed.
This can be a combination of modern chronic stresses which can include:
- Day-to-day stress
- Sleep deprivation
- High levels of exercise
With these stress factors coming in to play it can have a negative impact of testosterone levels which, when high, are responsible for a wide range of healthy benefits such as
- Muscle mass
- Less body fat
- Mental and physical well being
- High energy levels
Tongkat Ali Cortisol Study
Sixty- four participants were considered suitable for the study after being screened to ensure that each subject was experiencing moderate levels of stress.
These were split in to equally numbered groups of males and females.
The participants were then randomly assigned either 200mg of Tongkat Ali per day or a placebo.
It was considered that a four week period would better demonstrate and represent continual stress levels rather than short, emotional daily stresses that can be experienced.
Over the period of the study the participants’ Mood State and Hormone Profile was measured using surveys and saliva samples.
Tongkat Ali Study Results
It is important to note that there were no ill effects reported for the study and there were no changes of body fat or body weight.
The study saw no changes in the participants’ levels of fatigue, vigor or depression.
Which then contradicts the claims of Tongkat Ali as a supplement.
However, one area that it did show a positive result was the cortisol and testosterone balance.
The study demonstrated an improvement of the cortisol and testosterone ratio when compared to the placebo group.
As a result, it would seem that while Tongkat Ali does not increase natural production of testosterone (nor does it comply with other claims) it may help protect testosterone levels.
So, overall, Tongkat Ali appears to improve the stress hormone profile.
Thus, it can protect the body from the stresses from daily life such as dieting, sleep deprivation and intense exercise regimes. 
Tongkat Ali – Cortisol & Testosterone Regulator Conclusion
These results also compliment other studies that have investigated the balance of cortisol and testosterone in athletes when the hit the ‘wall’ which is an early sign of over training.
The effects of over training are recognized by a reduction in physical performance, increased injury risk, weight gain and poor immunity. 
Thus, when dieters hit the wall they can see signs such as plateau of weight loss.
All of these signs are common with a reduction of testosterone and an increase of cortisol levels.
As a result, the studies strongly suggest that Tongkat Ali is an effective plant source that is able to suppress cortisol levels triggered by day-to-day stresses and thus readdress the hormone balance.