What is Tongkat Ali?
Tongkat Ali is a herbal remedy used mostly for male sexual organs. It is a tree that is native to South Asia. It is used as a traditional medicine in Malaysia, Vietnam, and other Asian countries.
Tongkat Ali is used in treating malaria, fevers, infections, male infertility, and erectile dysfunction.(1) It contains flavonoids, alkaloids, and antioxidants. Antioxidants fight cellular damage caused by free radicals.
Health Benefits of Tongkat Ali
Most of the benefits of Tongklat Ali are not well-researched. Some studies show that it may be helpful in improving male infertility, improving mood, and increasing muscle mass. Its health benefits are as follows.
Increases Testosterone Level and Improves Male Infertility
Low testosterone level is due to aging, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, certain medications, injury and infection of testicles, and certain diseases such as obstructive sleep apnea and chronic alcoholism.(2) Low testosterone levels lead to low libido, erectile dysfunction, and infertility in some cases.
A study was performed on 76 men with low testosterone levels. They were given 200 mg of Tongkat Ali compound per day. It was observed that the level of testosterone hormone came to the normal level.(4)
Tongkat Ali may also be effective in improving sperm motility and concentration. A study performed on men 30-55 years for 12 weeks found that Tongkat Ali extracts increased sperm count and motility by 18% to 44%.(8)
May Help in Relieving Stress
Tongkat Ali helps in lowering the stress hormone and thereby helps in decreasing anxiety and improving mood.
A study done on rats in 1999 found that the effect of Tongkat Ali extract in reducing anxiety was comparable with the common anti-anxiety medication.(9)
One more study done on 63 adults with moderate stress found that supplementing with Tongkat Ali extract reduced the level of stress hormone in the saliva by 16% when compared with placebo.(10) The participants involved in the study also reported a significant reduction in stress, anger, and tension.
May Help in Improving Body Composition
Tongkat Ali contains compounds called quassinoids that may help the body use energy more efficiently and help in reducing fatigue and improving endurance.(11) It may act as ergogenic acid, a substance that enhances physical performance and improves body composition.
A study was done on 14 men participating in a strength training program. They were given 100 mg of Tongkat Ali extract every day. It was observed that there was an increase in lean body mass than those taking a placebo and also the participants lost more fat.(12)
Another study done on 25 older adults discovered that 400mg of tongkat ali extract everyday increased muscular strength.(13)
Side Effects of Tongkat Ali
A review done in 2016 on the safety and toxicity of Tongkat Ali found that it did not have any detrimental effects on sperms in therapeutic doses but could be toxic in higher concentrations.(14) It was concluded by the scientist that Tongkat Ali could be safe unless not taken in high doses. 200-400 milligram was recommended safe to be consumed.
People with hormonal cancer should be cautious before using it as it may increase their testosterone level.
Those taking blood sugar-lowering medication should speak with the doctor before starting Tongkat Ali as it may increase the effects of these medications.
Also, people with certain conditions such as cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, and those with weakened immune system should be cautious while using Tongkat Ali. Tongkat Ali is an effective remedy for numerous health conditions. As the studies are limited, for safety purposes it is always good to keep the doctor in the loop whenever planning to start with any herbal medication. After all, it is your health.