Quick Info

  • Tongkat Ali helps boost testosterone levels
  • Maca is believed to enhance libido
  • Tongkat Ali increases physical power and strength.
  • Maca boosts energy levels.
  • Both supplements come in powder, capsule, and extract forms.

Tongkat Ali vs Maca: What’s the Story? 

Both Tongkat Ali and Maca have a long history that dates back thousands of years, albeit in different parts of the world. Tongkat Ali comes from Malaysia and the surrounding areas; Maca stems from the Andes region of South America.

This article title pits Tongkat Ali and Maca against one another using the preposition versus, but they’re not really on opposing teams. In fact, you can argue that they’re on the same team. 

There’s a significant overlap between the benefits of the two, though both bring their own advantages to the table. You can stack (use together) Tongkat Ali and Maca to get the benefits of both, so you don’t really need to choose between one or the other. If you’re drawn to both, then you can use both. There’s information at the bottom of this page about stacking Tongkat Ali and Maca. 

However, if you’re looking to keep your supplement intake at a minimum, or have specific targets in mind, then read on — we’ll outline the pros and cons of both Tongkat Ali and Maca that’ll help you to make an informed decision. 

Understanding Tongkat Ali 

Tongkat Ali is a herb found in Southeast Asia that has been used in traditional medicine for hundreds of years, particularly in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia. In the past, it has been used to treat a wide variety of medical conditions, including fever and malaria. 

Tongkat Ali is still used to treat illness in some countries, but modern use tends to focus on its benefits as a natural supplement. There has been only a limited amount of scientific research into Tongkat Ali, but the studies that have been conducted suggest that the consumption of Tongkat Ali root can help improve libido, raise testosterone levels, reduce stress, and contribute to good all-round health. 

The power of Tongkat Ali lies in its wide range of compounds, which include antioxidants such as alkaloids and flavonoids. These compounds offer protection against molecules called free radicals that cause cellular damage. Available as powder, capsules, and extracts, the recommended dose for healthy adults is 300 – 400 mg per day. The effects of Tongkat Ali on pregnant and breastfeeding women are unknown, and as such consumption is not recommended for such individuals. 

Benefits of Tongkat Ali

Only a small number of studies have been conducted on the benefits of Tongkat Ali. However, that research, as well as plenty of anecdotal and historical evidence, suggests that the supplement can offer the following benefits:

Boost Testosterone levels

Low testosterone levels are a common side effect of aging, certain medications, testicular injuries and infections, chronic alcoholism, and other issues. Tongkat Ali has been shown to boost testosterone levels, helping people with low levels of this sex hormone to regain their libido. Healthy testosterone levels also help increase sperm production and concentration. 

Reduce Stress

A 1999 study found that Tongkat Ali was effective at reducing symptoms of anxiety. The study, carried out on mice, found that the supplement worked as effectively as common anti-anxiety medication. Another study found that taking Tongkat Ali for a month reduced the presence of cortisol — the hormone responsible for stress — by 16% in people with a history of moderate to high stress levels. 

Some studies, as well as plenty of anecdotal evidence from Tongkat Ali users, have found that the supplement can help reduce feelings of anger and tension. 

Increase Strength and Power

Research has suggested that Tongkat Ali may help increase physical strength and athletic performance. How exactly this works is unknown, but it’s thought that it’s due to the increased levels of testosterone that Tongkat Ali provides. 

The studies found that Tangkat Ali and exercise work well together. In one study with a sample size of 45 men, 6 months of consumption of Tangkat Ali combined with regular exercise resulted in improved sex drive, greater energy levels, enhanced strength, and better mood. 

Aerobic and strength exercising bring these benefits on their own, but the research that has been conducted on the benefits of Tongkat Ali suggests that consumption of the supplement can maximize such benefits. 

Understanding Maca 

Maca is indigenous to the Andes Mountains in Peru, though the popularity of the supplement has led it to be cultivated in other parts of the world, most notably China. It has been used in Peru for thousands of years, and though there are plenty of well-documented health benefits to Maca owing to its high content of vitamins and minerals, fiber, and bioactive compounds, locals typically just use the vegetable as a food item.

Interest in Maca in North America stems from its many reported benefits to sexual well-being. Studies have found that Maca root can reduce symptoms of stress, boost libido, and enhance energy levels. Maca is available as an extract or in capsule or powder form; the nutty flavor of Maca makes it particularly suitable for smoothies or as a topping to porridge. The recommended daily dose is around 2 – 5 grams. 

Benefits of Maca

As with Tongkat Ali, peer-reviewed studies into the effects of Maca are limited. The studies that have been conducted plus a wealth of anecdotal evidence suggest that daily Maca intake may provide the following benefits:

Enhanced Libido

Low libido can affect anyone, but it’s more likely for people middle-aged and older, people who experience depression, and those with certain medical conditions. Maca has long been viewed in Peru as a natural aphrodisiac that can improve sexual desire and libido. 

And though only a small number of scientific studies have been conducted, those that have been carried out suggest that this view is backed by science. In one study, a control group that took Maca for twelve weeks reported significantly increased sexual desire compared with a placebo group. 

Reduced Symptoms of Menopause

Maca is often discussed in terms of what it can do for male sexual wellness, but studies have found that it may be just as beneficial for women, particularly those experiencing symptoms of menopause. Though it’s a natural part of life, menopause can produce symptoms that include hot flashes, mood swings, and irritability. A number of studies have found that Maca consumption can help to relieve the severity of these symptoms

Increased Energy Levels

Maca has also been shown to increase energy levels. That finding was drawn from a study conducted on mice, but it’s believed to have the same effect on humans. 

Another study carried out on 175 women found that daily consumption of 3g of red or black Maca for twelve weeks resulted in improved energy levels and mood. 

Tongkat Ali and Maca: Which One Should You Take?

As we said earlier in the article, and as we’ll detail below, it’s possible to take both Tongkat Ali and Maca. However, if you’re looking to take just one, then you’ll need to decide between the two. While there is some overlap between Tongkat Ali and Maca, there are some key differences, and they’re generally used by individuals for different purposes. Below, we’ll outline some key information about who both supplements are recommended for.

Who Should Use Tongkat Ali?

Tongkat Ali is generally recommended for people who want to:

  • Reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.
  • Improve their sperm count.
  • Raise their testosterone levels.
  • Maximize their exercise and powerlifting results. 

Who Should Use Maca?

Maca is generally recommended for people who want to:

  • Improve sexual desire and performance.
  • Increase their intake of essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Combat the symptoms of menopause.
  • Increase their energy levels and boost mood. 

Combining Tongkat Ali and Maca 

As we’ve seen, while Tongkat Ali and Maca do have some key differences, they group together pretty well. Both bring benefits — including improved sexual performance, energy, and mood — that are in the same ballpark. As such, it should come as no surprise that it’s possible to stack these supplements. Indeed, many takers have reported that taking them together provides maximum results.

It’s important not to take the same amount of Tongkat Ali and Maca. Tongkat Ali has a much higher concentration than Maca, so you only need to take a little bit. The recommended daily doses for Tongkat Ali and Maca are:

  • Tongkat Ali: 300 – 400 mg daily.
  • Maca: 2000 – 5000 mg daily.

It’s also best to take them separately. For instance, Maca with your breakfast, Tongkat Ali with your lunch. As with all supplements, it’s best to start small and build up until you find the dosage that works for you. If you have any health conditions, it’s recommended to talk to your healthcare provider before taking Tongkat Ali or Maca. Due to a lack of research, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take Tongkat Ali or Maca. 

Summary: Tongkat Ali vs Maca

  • Both improve libido but in different ways.
  • Can be used together to optimize results.
  • Tongkat Ali reduces symptoms of anxiety, improves athletic performance, and raises testosterone levels.
  • Maca enhances sexual desire, provides essential vitamins and minerals, increases energy levels, and combats symptoms of menopause.
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.