Quick Info: Is Tongkat Ali Safe?

Tongkat Ali is shown to be safe for the general population when taken in small doses. The standard dosage is anywhere between 100 to 600 mg per day depending on the individual. This dose can be taken across two sessions per day to reduce the chances of side effects further.

What Is Tongkat Ali?

Tongkat Ali is a rare herb that’s used as a health supplement across the world. It has its roots in Southeast Asia and is scientifically known as Eurycoma longifolia. There are reports of this herb’s usage in medicine from centuries ago and it is believed to have many benefits – particularly as a way of boosting testosterone in the body.

If you’d like to learn more about Tongkat Ali and its origin, read our in-depth guide here.

Longjack Plant

Is Tongkat Ali A Dangerous Supplement?

No. Tongkat Ali is not considered a dangerous supplement as it will not yield excessive side effects when the right dose is taken. Studies support this, and a review from 2016 outlines that Tongkat Ali is completely safe as long as the dose does not consistently exceed 400 mg per day.

This review also discovered that the herb was not toxic when taken in these lower doses. It paid close attention to the supplement’s effects on sperm, as this was commonly used as an argument against Tongkat Ali. People who oppose the supplement claim that it harms sperm quality, but this review shows otherwise.

As with all supplements, there are caveats to be aware of. Tongkat Ali isn’t dangerous if the individual taking it is generally healthy with no underlying medical conditions. Looking through the same review linked above, it details a list of individuals who should potentially avoid taking this supplement. This includes people with:

  • Heart diseases
  • Some forms of cancer
  • Kidney diseases
  • Immune system conditions

We strongly advise that you undergo a thorough health check before using this supplement to be 100% sure you don’t have any medical conditions that can complicate your reaction to it. If you don’t have any of the above conditions, small doses of Tongkat Ali will not be dangerous at all.

Does Tongkat Ali Have Any Serious Side Effects?

Tongkat Ali supplements have many proposed benefits, including but not limited to:

  • Fertility enhancement
  • Stress & anxiety reduction
  • Improvements in muscle strength & endurance
  • Increases in testosterone for men

Naturally, when a supplement can provide benefits like this, changes will happen throughout the body. This may include alterations in hormone levels, which could have a knock-on effect and cause side effects.

Having said that, various studies have already been conducted looking at Tongkat Ali as a supplement and seeing its potential benefits/side effects. One in 2013 analyzed its effect as a stress reduction supplement while another in 2014 looked at it as a daily supplement for elderly individuals. Neither study recorded any known major side effects of Tongkat Ali in humans.

Of course, it’s naive to sit here and say that you are 100% guaranteed to not see side effects when taking Tongkat Ali. Every individual is different and we all have different reactions to things. It’s the same as any other supplement – even something as simple as whey protein powder can cause minor side effects in some people.

As a result, it is our duty to inform you of the following recorded side effects of Tongkat Ali. Keep in mind that most of these were discovered in tests on animals:

  • Changes in liver function – This was observed in a study that used this supplement on rats. It discovered pathological changes in the liver and how it functioned when the rats were given an equivalent dose of 1,200 mg for humans. When the dosage was dropped to 200-300 mg, no changes in liver or kidney function were found.
  • Potential DNA damage to stomach – One of the biggest reports on the safety of Tongkat Ali showed that an extremely high dose may cause DNA damage to the duodenum tissues in the stomach. However, this report looked at doses as high as 2,000 mg per day, way beyond the recommended amount.
  • Mild gastrointestinal issues – Minor problems with the stomach and digestive system are one of the only known side effects reported by humans. This is rare and usually occurs in individuals either with underlying gastrointestinal conditions or those taking additional supplements/medication that may interact with Tongkat Ali.
  • Mild itching – Likewise, some human subjects have said that Tongkat Ali makes them itch. Again, this is not widely reported and there isn’t enough research into this side effect to understand why it happens to some people and not others.

We should also note that some Tongkat Ali supplements have been linked to mercury poisoning as a possible side effect. Upon further investigation, researchers discovered that this had nothing to do with the herb itself, but rather the way certain supplements were prepared in Southeast Asia – particularly Malaysia.

It is therefore critical that you check where your Tongkat Ali supplement was sourced and review all of the ingredients. Ideally, you should see a lab report from the manufacturer that proves what is in your supplement, giving you the confidence that it has low mercury levels and remains safe.

Does Tongkat Ali Interact With Medications?

It’s possible that Tongkat Ali can interact with different medications, possibly leading to other side effects.

The two main medication types known to be affected by this supplement are:

  • Hypoglycemic Medications – This includes any medication that’s designed to lower blood sugar levels. Tongkat Ali could inhibit this medication’s role and lead to issues for people with high blood sugar. If you’re taking medication like this, consult a medical professional to see if it’s wise to use Tongkat Ali.
  • Propranolol – This is a common medication used to treat high blood pressure and ensure better heart health. When taken with Tongkat Ali, the supplement is believed to make the medication less bioavailable in the human body. In essence, the body is unable to use it to reap the benefits. As such, you’re advised to avoid Tongkat Ali if you take this medication.

If you take other prescription medication regularly, it’s recommended that you pay close attention to any changes in your body. Should you notice negative changes after taking Tongkat Ali, stop using the supplement immediately. Inform your doctor and they can run tests to see if the supplement had a negative interaction with your medication.

Drinking tongkat ali with other supplement

Who Should Take Tongkat Ali?

Tongkat Ali is a good supplement to consider if you suffer from any of the following:

  • Low testosterone
  • Poor libido
  • High-stress levels
  • Erectile dysfunction

Due to its lack of side effects among the human population, almost anyone can try this supplement and see if it works for them. As mentioned before, individuals with certain medical conditions or using specific medications are advised to either steer clear or consult with a doctor beforehand.

Similarly, Tongkat Ali is not widely recommended for women and should never be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women of any age.

Summary: Is Tongkat Ali Safe To Use?

  • Tongkat Ali is shown to be safe for human use according to countless studies
  • It must be consumed in small doses – the recommended daily dose is up to 400 mg per day
  • There are very few known side effects attributed to Tongkat Ali when taken in small doses
  • Proceed with caution if you have underlying medical conditions or take propranolol or hypoglycemic medications
  • When taken regularly, Tongkat Ali may help increase testosterone, boost libido, enhance sexual performance, and reduce stress
  • Be sure to check the origin of your Tongkat Ali supplement and check the ingredients to be sure it contains safe levels of mercury
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.