Quick Info

  • Tongkat Ali and Ashwagandha both help with testosterone production 
  • Tongkat Ali also helps enhance power and physical strength
  • Ashwagandha helps reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety
  • Both available in extract, powder, and capsule form

Tongkat Ali and Ashwagandha: Similarities and Differences

People often compare Tongkat Ali vs Ashwagandha because of the similarity of the benefits they offer users. Both have been shown to be effective in helping to boost testosterone production and have anti-anxiety qualities.

Though Tongkat Ali and Ashwagandha share these benefits, they achieve them in different ways. They’re fundamentally different herbs, after all. Tongkat Ali is believed to raise testosterone levels by elevating the body’s free testosterone count; Ashwagandha achieves the same by offering protection to cells in the testes, where testosterone is produced. They also fight anxiety in different ways. Tongkat Ali provides anxiety support by regulating the body’s hormones, while Ashwagandha is a relaxant herb. 

So you can think of Tongkat Ali and Ashwagandha as achieving the same results via different means. The most notable difference between the two is the effect they have on sleep. Tongkat Ali is more of an energizer and doesn’t affect sleep in any way. Ashwagandha, as a relaxant, can help to improve stress. Additionally, though both provide similar benefits, users should expect different levels of results depending on their intake, body composition, and medical background. 

An Overview of Tongkat Ali

Tongkat Ali has been widely used in Southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, for hundreds of years. It’s packed with antioxidants and has historically been used as an herbal medicine to fight a wide range of common health complaints, though in recent years it has been largely used to promote virility and energy. Users typically report an increase in energy, sexual well-being, and mood. 

Tongkat Ali is available in powder, capsule, and extract forms. Highly concentrated, users only need to take small amounts of Tongkat Ali, with the typical dosage recommendation falling between 300 – 400 mg per day. The supplement is considered to be safe for healthy adults, though lack of research means that it should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women. 

Benefits of Tongkat Ali

Tongkat Ali has been used for hundreds of years in Southeast Asia due to its alleged benefits for overall well-being. Though there has been only a small number of peer-reviewed studies conducted on the effects of Tongkat Ali, those that have, along with many anecdotal reports from users, suggest that the supplement can provide the following benefits:

Increased Testosterone Production

Tongkat Ali is thought to have a positive impact on testosterone production. Low levels of testosterone are a common issue among aging people, people with certain illnesses and conditions, and chronic alcoholism, resulting in reduced libido, energy levels, and sexual desire.

Studies have shown that Tongkat Ali can help raise testosterone levels, in turn leading to improved sexual performance and enhanced athletic performance. 

Mood Stabilization

Tongkat Ali is reported to have a positive impact on mood stabilization thanks to its anti-stress properties. Some studies have found that Tongkat Ali can help to decrease the body’s cortisol (the hormone responsible for stress) levels, resulting in better stress management and improved mood.

Increased Energy

Tongkat Ali is believed to provide increased energy levels. Studies have shown that the supplement can improve athletic power and strength, which in turn leads to enhanced daily energy. The impact on energy is thought to be due to the increased levels of testosterone that the supplement provides. 

An Overview of Ashwagandha 

Like Tongkat Ali, Ashwagandha has also been used for hundreds of years, or perhaps even thousands of years, just in a different part of the world. The herb first rose to prominence in India, where it has long played an integral role in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It is known for alleviating the symptoms of stress, improving mood, enhancing brain functionality, and enhancing sexual performance.

The herb supplement is commonly available in capsule, powder, and extract forms. While the recommended daily dosage varies from person to person, most people find that taking around 250 – 500 mg for more than three weeks is enough to begin feeling some of the reported benefits. 

Benefits of Ashwagandha

As with Tongkat Ali, only a small number of peer-reviewed studies have been carried out on Ashwagandha. However, those that have been carried out suggest that the supplement can have a positive impact on stress and fertility. In any case, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence to support the reported benefits of Ashwagandha, since cultures have been using the herb for thousands of years. 

Some of the key benefits of Ashwagandha include:

Stress Reduction

Stress reduction is the primary, most reported benefit of Ashwagandha. It is thought that the supplement helps to keep the body’s stress mediators under control. One study involving 58 people found that taking Ashwagandha for eight weeks had a positive impact on an individual’s stress levels. 

Another study involving sixty people found that taking Ashwagandha for sixty days led to a significant reduction in symptoms of anxiety. It’s also believed that Ashwagandha can improve the quality of sleep, which has a knock-on effect on stress levels since people are more likely to be relaxed if they’ve had a good night’s sleep. 

Improved Sexual Performance

Ashwagandha is reported to provide improved sexual performance for both men and women. In men, the supplement has been shown to raise testosterone levels and improve sperm quality. In one study that looked at couples who were struggling to get pregnant, 14% of men who took Ashwagandha were able to get their partners pregnant.

A self-reported study by female takers of Ashwagandha indicated the supplement had a positive impact on sexual performance and satisfaction compared with non-takers. 

Enhanced Memory and Cognitive Function

Ashwagandha is reported to have a positive impact on memory levels and cognitive function. The small number of studies conducted in this area of research found that participants exhibited improved attention spans, performed better on memory tests, and increased reaction times. 

Is Tongkat Ali or Ashwagandha Better?

Neither Tongkat Ali nor Ashwagandha is better or worse than the other. They’ve both been used for hundreds of years in separate parts of the world. As such, they’re not rivals with one another. In fact, the opposite is true — they complement each other, which is why many users decide to stack (use) both supplements. 

While there’s overlap between the two supplements, they do serve slightly different needs. For instance, while Ashwagandha can help improve sexual performance, its true power lies in stress reduction. Similarly, while Tongkat Ali can help to keep stress levels under control, its main asset is the impact it has on libido, testosterone, and athletic performance. 

Below, we’ll run through how to decide which of these two popular supplements is right for you if you intend to take only one. 

When to Choose Tongkat Ali 

Tongkat Ali may be the right option for people who:

  • Want to increase testosterone production
  • Want to improve their athletic endurance and performance
  • Want to improve their sexual performance
  • Want to stabilize their moods. 

When to Choose Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha may be the right option for people who:

  • Want to reduce their stress levels
  • Want to improve their mood
  • Want to enhance their memory and brain functionality
  • Want to improve the quality of their sleep. 

Stacking Tongkat Ali and Ashwagandha

Tongkat Ali and Ashwagandra provide similar benefits, though there are subtle differences between the two. The good news is that users interested in taking these supplements don’t necessarily have to choose between the two. As of yet, there’s no known interaction between Ashwagandha and Tongkat Ali, which means it’s safe to combine both supplements. Reports from users who have taken both suggest that combining the two helps to maximize effects and benefits. 

With that said, it’s best to start at the lower scale of the dosage recommendations to begin with until you can judge how your body reacts. 

The Downsides of Tongkat Ali and Ashwagandha

Most people who take Tongkat Ali and Ashwagandha report no negative impacts. However, some individuals do experience side effects.

Reported side effects of Tongkat Ali include:

  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability

Reported side effects of Ashwagandha include:

  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Stomach problems.

Most side effects are related to overly high doses. The recommended daily dose for Tongkat Ali is 300 – 400 mg per day; for Ashwagandha, it is 250 – 500 mg. It’s best to start on the lower end of the dosage scale to see how you react before increasing the dosage. 

Tongkat Ali and Ashwagandha are not appropriate for everyone. Due to a lack of research, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take the supplements. 

Summary: Tongkat Ali vs Ashwagandha

  • Tongkat Ali and Ashwagandha offer similar benefits and are both available in powder, capsule, and extract forms. 
  • Tongkat Ali’s primary benefits include increased testosterone production and improved energy levels and athletic performance.
  • Ashwagandha’s primary benefits include stress reduction and mood stabilization.
  • Tongkat Ali also helps manage stress levels.
  • Ashwagandha also elevates testosterone levels. 
  • Can be taken together for maximum results. 
Adil Maqbool, Medical MD

Adil Maqbool, Medical MD

Dr. Adil is a seasoned medical writer, researcher, and physician with extensive publications in top medical journals. Holding an MBBS, BSc, and FCPS-1, he excels in medical writing and patient care. Certified as a Registered Practitioner, Medical Writer, and Peer-Reviewer, he stays current with the latest medical advancements.