You may not have heard of Tongkat Ali before, but it has a bunch of benefits. This little shrubby tree from Southeast Asia can be used as an herbal supplement, giving you a lot of benefits to your health.
But just what is this herb, what is it used for and what is its history? Here’s everything that you need to know.
What Is Tongkat Ali?
Tongkat ali, also known as eurycoma longifolia, is a plant that originated from Southeast Asia.
It’s generally found in places such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia – you may have spotted the plant in these locations if you’ve been there on a visit.
Sometimes there are also versions of the plant that you can find in places in Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia.
So, what does tongkat ali actually mean? Well, the name translates to ‘Ali’s walking stick.’ This is basically because it has aphrodisiac effects on people.
People also say that the stick part is in reference to the roots of the plants that are sometimes harvested because they provide medicinal value.
The plant goes by a few other names too, including Malaysian ginseng, Long Jack and Ali’s Umbrella. There are other plants that are sometimes referred to as tongkat ali, but the main one is the E. Longifolia.
How Has It Been Used In The Past?
For people that are familiar with this herb, there’s one main thing that it’s known for – it’s an aphrodisiac. Of course, that’s not the only use either.
It has historically been used to treat malaria. In fact, the entire plant is often used by people in order to create remedies for healing illnesses.
There are a number of other things that can be treated using tongkat ali. It can treat symptoms of anxiety and high blood pressure, pains in the body and recovery from exercise.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it just illustrates how versatile it is.
Often the plant is used to help with the appetite, and it can also be used to improve energy and strength levels. It’s even used for its antibiotic characteristics.
There’s a lot of information to suggest that the formula is great for treating lots of conditions, but research is still limited regarding how effective it is as a form of treatment.
In the past people have used water versions of tongkat ali, but you can usually find it in powdered and capsuled forms these days. It has also been used in some countries to treat male infertility, erectile dysfunction and infections.
This herb contains alkaloids and flavonoids. It also contains other things that can work like antioxidants. This is partially why the herb is so good for your body, as it can help to battle any cell damage in your body.
The plant is primarily considered to be an adaptogen by many herbalists, something that can help your body to deal with stress.
Potential Side Effects and Dangers
Now, before we list the benefits, it’s important to mention some of the potential dangers that may come with putting this herb into your body in some form.
Notably, the vast majority of studies on this herb have said that there aren’t any apparent side effects. It’s worth mentioning, however, that the studies on this herb are somewhat limited.
In fact, one particular study has stated that it’s just as safe as taking a placebo to take 300 mg of the herb.
Other data suggests that it’s okay to consume up to 1.2 grams of the herb, but it has never been studied so it’s best to err on the side of caution.
It has never been studied for its long term use either, making this a bit of a gray area.
So, it’s important to mention first of all that this herb is often used for issues linked to male infertility and erectile dysfunction.
Studies have suggested that it doesn’t appear to have any catastrophic effects on sperm cells that are in test tubes, but it can sometimes be toxic if it’s taken in large amounts.
This has only been demonstrated in animal studies, however. In addition to this, you should be incredibly careful if you have hormone based cancers.
This herb has been speculated to increase the levels of testosterone in the body, and this may be problematic for people with hormone cancers.
You also need to be careful if you are taking any medications that may lower the level of blood glucose in your body, since the effects of these sorts of drugs can be increased if you take tongkat ali.
It is crucial to remember that we do not yet know what effect tongkat ali can have on pregnant and breastfeeding women, or in children. It’s best to err on the side of caution until more data becomes available.
Some versions of tongkat ali can contain mercury too, which can be lethal if taken in large doses.
Some people also experience side effects from taking tongkat ali. For instance, some of the most common issues that people experience when taking this medication are restlessness, irritability and insomnia.
Of course, side effects may vary by person. Some people may get lots of side effects, others may not get any side effects.
You should always take it for a trial at first then stop taking it if you are getting side effects.
The Benefits of Tongkat Ali
Okay, so this is what you came for! What are the benefits of taking Tongkat Ali? Here’s everything that you need to know.
Male Reproductive Issues and Fertility
If you are struggling with male infertility, there’s a chance that taking tongkat ali could help you to make some improvements. It has been known to treat issues related to sexual performance and fertility.
In fact, the herb is very well known for its staggering effects on testosterone in men that don’t produce enough of it on their own.
Men may experience low testosterone as a result of testicular injury, chemotherapy, taking certain medications and because of particular diseases.
As such, if any of these issues are causing fertility or performance issues, taking tongkat ali may be an effective way to deal with the problem.
One particular study has suggested that the herb may help to produce better sperm, with larger volumes, vitality, motility and overall sperm count.
In fact, it has been shown in a study of 75 males in couples with infertility issues that over 14% of couples became pregnant after taking tongkat ali for just 3 months.
It is an effective aphrodisiac too since the testosterone levels are raised and thus the amount of dopamine is increased.
The herb can even be used to improve issues with erectile dysfunction.
Body Composition Improvements
There is data to suggest that tongkat ali can be helpful for improving levels of muscle mass and providing better performance in athletic pursuits.
Why is this? Well, the herb contains certain compounds, such as eurycolactone, eurycomaoside, quassinoids and more. These compounds can help your body to store and use energy much better.
They may also help with making you feel less tired and giving you better endurance.
Some studies have suggested that this herb is a good ergogenic aid. As such, it’s good for your body composition if you are looking for results.
Research has looked at men doing strength training programs and has discovered that people who took this herb performed better in trying to improve lean body mass than people who weren’t taking it.
It does depend on the way that you take it and how long you are taking it for, however.
Feeling stressed? Tongkat Ali may be able to help with that. Some studies have demonstrated that people felt less angry, tense and confused after taking tongkat ali after 4 weeks.
This is partially because the levels of cortisol and testosterone were altered from taking the extract.
There’s data to suggest that taking this herb could potentially be effective for dealing with sleep deprivation, constant stress and more.
It’s worth noting, however, that the studies are again rather limited in this respect. As such, it’s important that more studies are conducted so we can get a better understanding.
With that being said, these results are certainly positive.
There are some smaller studies on animals that have suggested this herb can help with the health of bones.
In a study on rats, it has been proven that while tongkat ali isn’t as effective on the bones as other Malaysian herbs, it still does have great potential for reducing the rate of bone loss.
Anti Inflammatory Purposes
There’s some information to imply that tongkat ali works well against bacteria. To be specific, it works well against escherichia coli and salmonella typhi.
It has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory elements which could mean that it can be effective against various types of illness.
Female Sexual Health Benefits
Tongkat ali isn’t just good for men, however. It’s also great for balancing female hormones. Imbalanced hormones can cause all sorts of issues for women, such as fatigue, low sex drive, brain fog and more.
Hormones have a key role in the metabolism too, so if they are imbalanced it can cause some problems.
Tongkat ali can help to keep the metabolism in good working order and can help to prevent weight gain related to age.
Tongkat ali is sometimes used for helping women to increase their sex drive and is used for women to increase their energy levels.
It’s great for boosting the female libido in general, since it can make the female erogenous zones more sensitive.
Is it Okay to Take Tongkat Ali?
So, with all of that in mind, is it a good idea for you to be taking this herb? Well, most of the data suggests that it can be good for anxiety levels and your body.
It has also been suggested that it can treat issues related to male infertility. The research is limited, however, so you should thoroughly assess whether it’s right for you based on the risk factors.
It’s always best to speak to your doctor if you have any doubts.
Also, make sure that you’re choosing supplements of tongkat ali that have come from reputable providers. Don’t take supplements that have not been tested or from dubious sources, as this can be bad for your health.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding then it’s best to avoid taking the herb until more data becomes available. If you have any medical issues, speak to a healthcare professional before you take tongkat ali.
Where Can I Get Tongkat Ali?
Tongkat ali is pretty widely available. You can usually get it from your local herbalist or a health store. Some people may be able to get prescriptions for it.
Alternatively, you can also buy it online on places like Amazon or other major retailers.
There are a number of different benefits to taking tongkat ali, so it’s worth a try if you think that the benefits are worth it. It’s just important to ensure that you are fully considering what you are putting into your body.
Double check that it is safe for you to take the supplement, and make sure that you don’t take too much of it.
As with any other herb or supplement, you should always speak to your healthcare provider first to ensure that it’s okay for you to take it. If you have any doubts while taking it, speak to a professional for further help.
Ultimately, tongkat ali is a useful herb that can be helpful for many people, but weigh up the risks alongside the benefits.