Quick Info: Does Tongkat Ali Cause Hair Loss?

No. As of yet, zero scientific evidence suggests that Tongkat Ali causes or is linked to hair loss. At best, it is an extremely rare side effect though no studies confirm that it is frequently experienced by human subjects.

The Connection Between Tongkat Ali And Hair Loss

Why do some people worry that Tongkat Ali may cause hair loss, particularly in men? While there’s a lack of evidence proving that this supplement leads to hair loss, there are studies that showcase some of its core benefits.

A study from 2013 looked at the effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones in humans. It specifically measured the levels of testosterone in the bloodstream and discovered that daily supplementation led to significant improvements in testosterone production.

Another pilot study in 2014 backed up these claims by testing physically active male and female subjects. Both grounds were given a 400 mg daily dose of Tongkat Ali and saw increases in total and free testosterone in their bodies.

These studies – and many more – indicate that this herbal supplement can boost testosterone levels for humans. As a result, this is where the connection between Tongkat Ali and hair loss begins.

The Connection Between Tongkat Ali And Hair Loss

What Causes Hair Loss?

Hair loss can be caused by a wide range of factors, such as:

  • High-stress levels
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Certain medications/health treatments
  • Specific hairstyles
  • Poor hair care

Nevertheless, androgenic alopecia is one of the most common forms of hair loss, also known as male pattern baldness. This accounts for over 95% of hair loss in men and it is frequently linked to increased levels of a hormone called DHT (dihydrotestosterone).

Cleveland Clinic states that this is a key hormone in the sexual development of people born with male genitalia. It conducts various jobs in the body and around 10% of the body’s testosterone gets converted to DHT every day. Normal DHT levels aren’t a problem and slightly raised levels also elicit few concerns.

When DHT increases beyond the normal level and remains high, it will harm parts of your body. Too much DHT can shrink your hair follicles and reduce the natural hair cycle. As a consequence, hair starts to look thinner and is more prone to falling out. This is why many hair growth treatments or medications include DHT blockers. Blocking the production of this androgen can help the hair regrow or prevent further hair loss.

Why Tongkat Ali Is Believed To Cause Hair Loss

If you recall, one of the main benefits of Tongkat Ali is its testosterone-boosting properties. This can lead to countless positive changes in your body – such as increased muscle mass, a boosted libido, and better sexual performance.

On the other hand, increasing total testosterone levels means a lot more of it gets converted into DHT. Thus, higher levels of DHT can (in theory) cause hair loss.

You see why people make the connection between Tongkat Ali and hair loss now, but we should reiterate that no such connection exists according to scientific research.


It’s largely because Tongkat Ali will not boost testosterone levels enough to have a sizable impact on DHT. Additionally, people using this supplement are likely to have slightly lower T-levels than normal, meaning the body can make use of additional testosterone without needing to convert more to DHT.

Overall, you see the testosterone-boosting benefits of Tongkat Ali without worrying about hair loss.

Tongkat Ali May Improve Hair Health & Prevent Hair Loss

The links between Tongkat Ali and hair loss continue but in a more positive light. Despite what you may hear online, this supplement could aid in preventing hair loss and improving overall hair health.


It all comes down to the herb’s anti-stress properties. We linked a 2013 study earlier in this guide that showed Tongkat Ali improved testosterone levels, but the study went on to discover that subjects saw decreased levels of cortisol – the main stress hormone. An additional study a few years later in 2018 bolstered this claim by seeing that Tongkat Ali combined with multivitamins led to improved emotional well-being.

Tongkat Ali May Improve Hair Health & Prevent Hair Loss

Why Stress Reduction Can Prevent Hair Loss

Stress is one of the biggest causes of hair loss outside of genetics. Very little was known as to why this was the case until 2021 when a study at Harvard University looked at this link in detail.

The study took lab rats and experimented with their adrenal glands – the glands responsible for producing stress hormones – to see how this affected hair loss. Initially, they removed the glands from rodents and saw that their hair growth cycle sped up. The rodents were able to grow their hair back at a rapid rate and the hair follicles were in excellent condition.

After this, the study increased corticosterone levels in the rodents over several weeks. For reference, this is the main stress hormone in rodents – it’s the equivalent of cortisol for us. After multiple weeks it was clear that increased stress hormone levels inhibited hair growth in rodents. The hair follicles appeared to stay in a resting stage and the stress hormones even impacted hair follicle stem cells, stopping them from reproducing.

This yields the conclusion that lowering the production of stress hormones can prevent hair loss and maintain a healthy hair growth cycle. The same researchers responsible for this study carried another one out that showed a clear link between stress and gray hair too. Once more, reducing stress levels can keep their hair follicles healthier and stop them from turning gray.

All of this leads us back to Tongkat Ali’s effect on your hair. Theoretically, supplementing this herb can lower your overall stress hormone levels and reduce cortisol production. Based on the findings of various research studies, this should lead to a lower chance of hair loss while improving your hair health.

Things To Be Aware Of Before Taking Tongkat Ali To Prevent Hair Loss

Science certainly indicates that Tongkat Ali may lower stress levels and aid in preventing hair loss. However, there are many things to consider before you take this supplement specifically to improve hair health or fight hair loss.

Firstly, the potential hair benefits are solely linked to stress. No studies or research suggest that this herb can prevent or reduce the signs of other types of hair loss.

Secondly, you must be aware that a stress supplement won’t magically make your stress disappear. It is merely one piece of a very complicated puzzle. You must address the cause of stress and make other lifestyle changes so your cortisol levels can remain as low as possible.

Finally, keep in mind that stress is usually one of many factors contributing to hair loss in people. You can be stressed and lose your hair – though the two may not necessarily be connected. Stressed individuals could also contain the genetics for male pattern baldness. Or, they may be subjected to other factors – like chemotherapy treatment – that cause hair loss. Tongkat Ali can help with your stress but it won’t necessarily deal with other factors, so you could still lose your hair.

Is Hair Loss A Common Side Effect Of Tongkat Ali?

No. We’ve stated many times that there are no known records of people experiencing hair loss directly as a result of taking Tongkat Ali. We’ve also noted that this supplement is more likely to improve hair health by reducing stress.

With that being said, some people may be at an increased risk of losing their hair if they take this supplement. Predominantly, we’re talking about people with high DHT levels already. In reality, if you have high DHT, you shouldn’t be taking a supplement like Tongkat Ali that increases your testosterone. If you do, then your body will start making even more DHT which can speed up hair loss.

Again, this is not a common side effect at all. Most people with high testosterone will not look into using Tongkat Ali at all – why would they? If you don’t know your testosterone/DHT levels, we advise you to get tested by your doctor as it helps you know if this supplement is safe for you or not.

Summary: Does Tongkat Ali Cause Hair Loss?

  • No, Tongkat Ali will not cause hair loss when taken as a supplement
  • Individuals with high DHT levels and existing hair loss may see more hair loss when taking Tongkat Ali due to its testosterone boosting properties
  • If anything, Tongkat Ali can make hair healthier by lowering stress and cortisol levels
  • Speak to a doctor before using Tongkat Ali as a daily supplement
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.