Tongkat ali is an herb familiar in the Southeast Asian region especially in countries like the Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia. This herb goes by many names, but its scientific name is Eurycoma longifolia. This plant does not grow very tall, usually about 15 meters high. Its leaves are spiral pinnate leaves are characteristic of this tree, and its obloid-shaped fruits turn from green to red and deep red as it ripens.
Tongkat Ali has been used as an herbal medicine for hundreds of years in Southeast Asia. Its health benefits range from being an aphrodisiac to a health tonic and even as folkloric medicine for such health conditions like malaria, ulcer, boils, tuberculosis, diarrhea, dysentery, jaundice, boils, wounds, fever, high blood pressure, and allergies.
Scientific studies conducted on animals to learn about the uses, benefits, and side effects of Tongkat ali have confirmed at least four health issues:
In this article, we will take up Tongkat ali from the perspective of the fourth health issue: Tongkat ali as a sexual enhancer.
The chemical constituents of this herb are quite effective in stimulating natural testosterone production. When the testosterone level reaches its natural peak, the negative feedback cycle occurs. Tongkat ali has been found to successfully block this cycle, thereby contributing to an enhanced sexual drive.
This ability of Tongkat ali to “trick” your body into overproducing testosterone has been beneficial to men who are facing low-testosterone- related dysfunctions and illnesses.
As a man ages, his testosterone level also decreases. This is because man naturally produces less testosterone as he increases in age. This natural process in aging is called andropause, similar to menopause which is what women experience in their older years. In a study conducted on a group of 76 men, of which only 35% had normal testosterone levels, it was found that after daily taking supplements of Tongkat ali for 1 month, 90% of the total 76 men had normal levels of testosterone. In another study wherein a double-blind, placebo- controlled study was conducted, men who daily took Tongkat ali supplements experienced improvements in libido, semen count, erectile function, and even fat loss. In relation to fertility, a study was conducted on 75 men who took Tongkat ali daily. The study showed that they experienced significant improvements in their sperm quality. This improvement even lasted for months after the initiation of the study. Nearly 15% of them even reported pregnancies.
Hormonal imbalance is a health concern common to women today. Symptoms generally include slowed metabolism, low libido, fatigue, and brain fog. Many herbalists believe that Tongkat ali plays a significant role in treating health issues related to hormonal imbalance.
Other women’s health benefits from Tongkat ali:
One of the symptoms of hormonal imbalance is slowed metabolism. This can eventually cause weight gain. When the imbalance is addressed, metabolism will likewise be regulated thus avoiding the unwanted health gain.
Women also produce testosterone but only in a significantly lower level than women produce estrogen. Tongkat ali has been found to increase the testosterone level in men. It is also believed that it does the same effect on women. This increase in testosterone level can also boost libido in women as it does in men.
Tongkat ali has been used for centuries as a herbal medicine to fight off the fatigue that results from hormonal imbalance. It has the ability to balance metabolism and energy. As metabolism is increased, the body consequently receives more energy. This increase in energy has been related to women’s ability to achieve more during exercise which leads to a decrease in their weight.
Low testosterone level negatively affects the calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium levels of the body. Since Tongkat ali has been studied and found to improve not only the quantity but also the quality of testosterone produced, Tongkat ali also plays a role in skeletal health. This also stems from Tongkat ali being used to address hormonal imbalance – a key issue that will affect the overall health of the body. Maintaining hormonal balance will regulate the body’s good health.
Women and mood swings are often associated together. Tongkat ali has been found to reduce stress by reducing the production of cortisol which is the stress hormone of the body. When cortisol is reduced, tension, anger, confusion, and mood swings are also reduced, if not eliminated. When this herb is taken together with the practice of proper sleep and dietary habits and exercise, its positive effect of relieving the body of stress will be genuinely experienced. Also, memory improvement has been associated with Tongkat ali supplementation.
Tongkat ali greatly contributes to a person’s ability to exercise as well as the body’s regulated metabolism. Exercise and proper diet are two very powerful and effective precautionary measures to fight an elevated blood sugar level.
When taking Tongkat ali as supplements, it is very highly recommended that you discuss it prior with your doctor. It is best to be informed as much about their uses and benefits as their side effects. As with other supplements, Tongkat ali should be taken in small doses for only a period of time. Large doses taken for a long period of time may cause some side effects to manifest.
Some of the common side effects are insomnia, behavior change, and weakening of the immune system. Tongkat ali supplements are also not recommended to be taken by pregnant and nursing women as there are no sufficient studies yet to advise otherwise.