Throughout history, humans have had a variety of names for tongkat ali – including the formal eurycoma longifolia and nicknames like longjack – as well as a variety of uses for the Southeast Asian plant. Today, science has confirmed many of those uses, prompting tongkat ali's popularity as a supplement.
Tongkat ali benefits for men and women include increased libido and testosterone as well as decreased fatigue. (1)
Benefit #1 – Increased Libido
Most people know of tongkat ali as a purported herbal remedy for poor libido, so it makes a lot of sense to start here.
According to researchers at the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia, tongkat ali can boost testosterone and sperm count. (2)
Boosting testosterone in particular is a powerful method for increasing libido among men. This perk, along with increased sperm count, makes a tongkat ali tincture particularly helpful for couples trying to produce offspring.
Tongkat ali doesn't just help male libido, however; females can see increases in sex drive and overall energy as well. (3)
While tongkat ali can increase male libido, it's worth noting that there is little evidence to suggest it behaves like conventional modern erectile dysfunction drugs. That is to say, it's not a 'pop one pill and you're ready for action' type supplement. It's rather something you incorporate into your lifestyle and reap the rewards with continued use.
Thankfully, this means you won't experience some of the negative side effects of such conventional medicines, which can include flushing and lightheadedness.
Benefit #2 – Increased Muscle-Building Capabilities
Because tongkat ali increases testosterone levels, its potential to increase muscle-building capabilities should come as no surprise.
A study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that 100mg per day of tongkat ali extract over the course of five weeks increased muscle growth among men who participated in a strength-training program. (4)
The muscle growth those men saw was above and beyond what the men who engaged in the high-intensity training alone witnessed.
You don't need to be a young, extensive trainer to see the benefits either. Another study, this one from the journal Phytotherapy Research, found that men between the ages of 57 and 72 benefited from tongkat ali as well. (5)
The herb increased the level of free and overall testosterone in the test subjects, contributing to greater muscular development.
Benefit #3 – Reduced Stress
According to research from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, tongkat ali shows promise as a stress reliever.
During the study, researchers observed the stress hormone levels and moods of patients before and after taking tongkat ali. They discovered that the supplement's use significantly decreased tension and anger in patients while simultaneously reducing cortisol levels. (6)
Prior to participating in the study, the patients were moderately stressed. The results of the study suggest that those experiencing moderate levels of stress may benefit from tongkat ali supplementation.
Benefit #4 – Increased Fertility
As hinted earlier, tongkat ali has the potential to significantly improve fertility in men – and not just because it increases testosterone (and subsequently libido).
According to research in the Asian Journal of Andrology, taking 200mg of tongkat ali daily for three to nine months results in higher semen volume. Additionally, patients saw increased sperm concentrations and sperm mobility. In fact, several of the study's participants spontaneously got their partners pregnant after the study exposed them to tongkat ali. (7)
Potential Side Effects of Tongkat Ali
While there is plenty of research concerning tongkat ali's purported benefits, research into potential side effects is more limited, particularly when referring to those effects in the long term.
There are, however, some guidelines experts recommend following should you decide to take tongkat ali for any of the reported benefits above.
Firstly, some tongkat ali supplements from Malaysia contain mercury or lead. (8)
While this isn't an indictment on all tongkat ali from Malaysia, it is a reminder that you need to source the supplement from a reputable dealer, such as The David Wolfe Shop.
Our tongkat ali comes from Indonesia and we know the supplier well.
Some tongkat ali supplements may also contain small amounts of commercial erectile dysfunction medications.
Manufacturers may do this because their tongkat ali is of low quality and may not produce the desired effect. As a result, they'll attempt to fool you into thinking their product works by adding other substances.
Again, this boils down to sourcing your tongkat ali supplement properly to ensure you're not getting ripped off.
Because tongkat ali increases your testosterone levels, you should avoid using it (or at least speak to your doctor first) if you suffer from illnesses to which high testosterone levels are dangerous. This can include heart disease, some types of cancer, kidney disease and sleep apnea.
Regardless of your health condition, please be sure to consult a doctor before taking tongkat ali, as you should with any supplement.