The understanding of Tongkat Ali is still in its infancy, but several studies have been conducted to analyze the proposed benefits of the herbal supplement for men and women.

Tongkat Ali: Traditional In The East, New & Exciting In The West

Scientifically referred to as Eurycoma longifolia, Tongkat Ali is a flowering plant that is found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and several other countries in Southeast Asia. The plant itself can grow up to 15 meters in height but the bioactive compounds – such as quassinoids, alkaloids, and triterpene – are found in the roots, which are up to 2 meters themselves. 

Tongkat Ali has long been used in traditional Southeast Asian cultures with primary uses including aphrodisiac purposes, defense against infections, and boosted energy and endurance. However, it only made its way to America towards the end of the 20th century. Since then, its proposed benefits have been studied by experts in several fields in an attempt to gain further clarity about the potential effects of the potent 

Tongkat Ali Studies: Proposed Functions

Testosterone Boosting Capabilities

Many of the potential benefits gained from Tongkat Ali supplements can be attributed to the proposed increase in testosterone and free testosterone levels. The potent natural herb extract has been praised by many experts, including Dr. Andrew Huberman who has stated that a daily supplement of 400mg can boost testosterone levels by 100-200 points.

It is proposed that this occurs as a result of peptides stimulating the release of free testosterone from its binding proteins. Research shows that Tongkat Ali is “known to increase testosterone levels and alleviate aging males’ symptoms”. While data regarding its impact on men and women has been limited, there are strong links suggesting that it may serve as a suitable replacement for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) for people with low levels.

Another study into the impact of Tongkat Ali and heightened testosterone found that men experiencing erectile dysfunction saw improvements over a six-month period of 200mg per day, especially when coupled with three 60-minute training sessions per week.

Libido Boosting Capabilities

Tongkat Ali has long been touted as a potent natural aphrodisiac. Proposed libido-enhancing capabilities have subsequently been a major source of attraction for Westerners. Scientific analysis shows that several rodent studies have indicated that recipients of the supplement demonstrated improved sex drive.

Human studies are preliminary but one clinical trial found that men who took the daily supplement saw increased libido, as well as improved sexual performance and satisfaction. Further evidence will be needed to secure conclusive results but the studies thus far do support the anecdotal evidence.

The link between healthy testosterone levels and increased sex drives has been proven many times. While the early human studies have focused largely on men, it suggests that women may experience the same benefits.

Sperm Boosting Capabilities 

Increased testosterone levels are heavily associated with improved sperm health. Ongoing research, including both human studies and animal studies, hopes to verify claims that it could boost sperm counts, motility, and concentration.

One of the most promising studies to date was one that focused on 75 males with low fertility. Following a three-month course of daily Tongkat Ali supplements, 14 (18.6%) couples feel pregnant. 

Meanwhile, a review of existing data from animal and human studies has highlighted clear indications of increased semen volumes, sperm count, sperm viability, and sperm motility. The clearest results have been shown in aging patients as well as men with hypogonadism or testosterone deficiency syndrome. 

Muscle Growth Capabilities

It is universally known that increased testosterone production is heavily linked to increased muscle growth, and the proposed natural testosterone-boosting capabilities for muscle growth are under review. One particular study put a group of men on a five-week cycle of exercise and Tongkat Ali supplements, finding significant muscle growth.

Another study discovered clear indications that muscular force improved in both male and female seniors following a four-week cycle of Tongkat Ali supplements. Heightened Human Growth Hormone (HGH) production leads to protein synthesis to support muscle growth.

When combined with the efficient energy utilization gained through increased free testosterone levels, the potential muscle growth benefits make a lot of sense. Backed by anecdotal evidence, as well as early-stage research, the supplement has gained popularity with athletes, bodybuilders, and aging populations wanting to maintain muscle mass.

Fat Loss Capabilities

Tongkat Ali’s fat loss potential is linked to possible suppression of appetites, increased energy exertion, better physical endurance, and increased metabolism. The same study into lean muscle mass growth showed a correlation between the supplement and fat loss compared to participants on a placebo.

Thermogenic properties are viewed as the main reason for potential fat loss capabilities. Average fat loss from a small study is between 5% and 20%9 depending on starting BMI and the use of 200/400mg.

Meanwhile, analysis of research into the herbal supplement has indicated “accelerating fat lossin male and female participants. While the evidence is not conclusive, it offers some extra weight to the proposed benefits. 

Mood Enhancing Capabilities

Relaxing the person’s mind is another traditional use for Tongkat Ali, leading to suggestions that it could help manage anxiety and depression symptoms. The adaptogenic properties within the herb are believed to regulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which supports healthier responses to stressors. 

It is also suggested that the properties help regulate stress gene levels and overcome the impacts of chronic stress. Anecdotally, the concept has been supported for centuries by people in Southeast Asia and subsequently by a growing percentage of Americans.

From a scientific perspective, one four-week human study found that daily supplements caused significant improvements with patients showing the following averages;

  • Anger down 12%.
  • Confusion down 15%.
  • Cortisol exposure down 16%.
  • Tension down 11%.

The same study additionally offered further evidence of the supplement’s testosterone-boosting capabilities. 

In addition to fighting anxiety and stress-induced problems, there are indications that Tongkat Ali improves overall mood (not least because anti-inflammatory properties may reduce physical discomfort and the impact it has on the mind) and mental clarity. 

Tongkat Ali Studies: Dosage Analysis

While Tongkat Ali supplements have been shown to promote increased testosterone and hormonal balance, dosages play a vital role. Research often uses a daily 200mg dose as this is deemed safe for most individuals. However, the amount needed will be determined by several factors including the person’s age and current testosterone levels.

It is advised that you begin the process with a low dosage and increase it as necessary until the right level is found. Generally speaking, though, the following amounts are advised:

Purpose Dosage (Average)
General Health (Men 20-39)100-200mg
General Health (Men 40-59)200-600mg
General Health (Men 60+)200-400mg
General Health (Women 20-39)50-200mg
General Health (Women 40-59)100-200mg
General Health (Women 60+)100-200mg
Erectile Dysfunction200-400mg
Sperm Motility200mg 
Cortisol Regulation200mg 
Athletic Performance200-400mg
Immunity Boosting 100-200mg
Testosterone Boosting 200-400mg

While the herbal extract itself is safe under most circumstances, research shows that pregnant women and anyone with high blood pressure should take care. Moreover, it’s important to find quality Tongkat Ali products as to avoid the threat of lead or magnesium poisoning. 

What We Know About Tongkat Ali

  • Further research is needed but there are indications that it can help with several health issues.
  • Tongkat Ali can be used by men and women, taken daily either as a single dose or split dose.
  • Due to the possible effects on testosterone levels and psychological triggers, the time of consumption matters.
  • Tongkat Ali is usually taken in 100mg-400mg daily depending on the goal and can be used alongside other supplements.
  • Clinical studies and laboratory trials are continuing, including human testing as well as animal research.  
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.