In densely shaded greenery in the sweltering hot Malaysian rainforest, I watched three aboriginal men chop a mature Tongkat Ali root, one of the most powerful aphrodisiac plants on earth, out of dense soil. Researching sex-enhancing plants often puts me in marvelous and remote places. In this instance, the trail led me to Malaysia to research Tongkat Ali. For this I can thank Annie Eng of Herbal Powers, who first introduced me to this plant, and who accompanied me to Southeast Asia.
Tongkat Ali is a popular folk name for Eurycoma longifolia, a medium size slender tree reaching 10 metres in height. The name Tongkat Ali means “Ali’s walking stick.” Another folk name for the plant is Longjack. Tongkat Ali is native to Malaysia, lower Burma, Thailand, and Indonesia. The root is employed as a traditional remedy for the treatment of malaria, high blood pressure, fevers, fatigue, loss of sexual desire, and impotence. Tongkat Ali enjoys both a long history of traditional use, and a growing body of serious science corroborating its efficacy.
The difficulty of harvesting Tongkat Ali in the wild is one very good reason to cultivate the trees in plantations. Additionally, as this traditional plant remedy becomes more popular, supplies of Tongkat Ali in the wild will inevitably decrease. Over time, this tree could become endangered. To preserve the natural environment, and to protect remaining wild specimens of Tongkat Ali, Malaysia is currently establishing plantations of this tree. The Malaysian government is enthusiastic about the future of Tongkat Ali, and is providing economic support for its development. To every appearance, Tongkat Ali is a market volcano of Krakatoa proportions, ready to blow.
The Testosterone Builder
Tongkat Ali is a scientifically studied plant which holds up brilliantly under close scrutiny. The root contains a plethora of beneficial compounds, including potent protective antioxidants which inhibit cellular aging. Other phytochemicals in Tongkat Ali are anti-viral, anti-malarial, and anti-cancerous. Others combat high blood pressure, and quell dysentery. Quassinoids in the root prove twice as potent as aspirin against fevers.
Even with its other serious medical applications, what excites most people about Tongkat Ali is that the root significantly boosts sex drive and function in both men and women, by building testosterone. Agents identified as glycoproteins appear to be the sex-promoting ingredients in the plant. This discovery, and years of painstaking research, is the work of Dr. Johari Saad , who is called by many the King Of Tongkat Ali. Dr Johari has conducted the definitive animal research on Tongkat Ali, and developed a novel and proprietary method of extracting the beneficial compounds from the root. His extract, LJ100, has been used in both human and animal studies.
“In our studies, we looked at what was happening with animals when we gave them a specially made water soluble extract of Tongkat Ali.” Joe explained to me. “It basically came down to four categories, increased testosterone, increased energy, inhibition of SHBG, and increased muscle mass.” Joe explained that when given Tongkat ali extract, animals copulate three to four times more frequently than normal. This is due, as it turns out, to a significant increase in testosterone. In fact, testosterone levels in animals given Tongkat Ali increase an unprecedented three to four times on average. While animal results do not always guarantee similar activity in people, the same testosterone-boosting effect does occur in human studies. In laboratory tests on human testicular tissue, Tongkat Ali extract increased the formation of testosterone fourfold.
Increasing testosterone is the big objective from a sex drive standpoint. Testosterone is the most important of the male sex hormones, which are known as androgens, and are produced in the gonads. Testosterone plays a key role in the development and maturity of male sex organs. The hormone promotes secondary sex characteristics including the appearance of facial hair, enlargement of the larynx (producing a deeper voice), sexual desire and sexual behavior. But testosterone is not just a sex booster for men. Women also produce testosterone, about 5 – 10% the amount produced in men. In women, this vital hormone also fans the flames of ardor, and increases sensitivity in the erogenous zones. In both sexes, testosterone stimulates metabolism, promotes lipogenesis (burning of fat), increases the formation of red blood cells, and accelerates muscle growth.
From age thirty or so, blood levels of the hormone decline at a rate of about 2% per year. The level will vary from one person to another. Regular exercise helps to keep a somewhat higher level of testosterone. Those who smoke or drink heavily will lose more of this hormone more quickly. As testosterone decreases in the body, muscle tone, energy and sex drive all begin to decline. In both sexes, sex drive, function, fat metabolism and energy decline into middle age, as blood testosterone drops.
With Tongkat Ali extract you can boost your testosterone levels back up to more youthful levels. Dr Johari also found that Tongkat Ali extract inhibits Sex Hormone Binding Globulin. By inhibiting this agent, more free testosterone remains in the blood. This additionally stems the aging process, improving energy and sexual function, helping to reduce body fat, and reducing risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease.
Cures from Around the World (Part 2: Tongkat Ali)
The Dr. Oz Show
, with Dr. Mehmet Oz, Mar 2010
Dr. Oz scours the earth to find the best natural cures. What can Mother Nature’s medicines do for you? These healing plants, powders and pills can help with arthritis, allergies, acne and much more.
“And here to help me is my good friend Chris Kilham, the famous Medicine Hunter, who travels all over the world in search of plant-based medicines, where I think a lot of the future of all the world’s remedies lay.” - Dr. Mehmet Oz, The Dr. Oz Show
In both men and women, pharmaceutical testosterone has been successfully used as a therapeutic aid in cases of low sex drive. The hormone has also been used to treat some cases of erectile dysfunction in men. In the case of Tongkat Ali, we have a safe, natural plant agent which causes the body to produce its own testosterone, thereby boosting sexual desire and function. Tongkat Ali gets to the absolute essence of human sex drive, and improves it.
An Athletic Edge
As if increasing testosterone weren’t enough, Tongkat Ali extract also greatly increases ATP production. ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, is the basic unit of energy in the body, responsible for keeping us alive and going. By increasing ATP, overall energy and vitality are increased. Most people want more energy, and Tongkat Ali provides it, without hyperstimulation, jittery nerves, or insomnia. This is the holy grail of human energy production, and is a valuable enough health benefit by itself to make Tongkat Ali an enduring superstar on the medicinal plant stage.
Athletes and body builders will employ any agent which boosts performance or muscle mass. In both animals and humans, Tongkat Ali extract increases muscle mass. In a study of men, half of the subjects ingested Tongkat Ali extract and half did not. In an eight week physical training program, the men who consumed Tongkat Ali extract experienced greater gains in muscle mass and strength than those who did not. This demonstrates the powerful anabolic properties of Tongkat Ali. Thanks to this significant discovery, a growing number of Asian athletes and body builders now use Tongkat Ali extract as an androgen, to improve muscle size and strength, and to enhance sports performance.
The Sex Doctor
In the Malaysian capitol of Kuala Lumpur, I met with Dr Ismail Tambi, who runs the Human Reproduction Specialist Center. Dr. Tamby is one of the foremost experts on reproductive health in all of Southeast Asia, and is also the leading medical expert on the effects of Tongkat Ali root extract on human subjects. In his work with men, Dr Tamby has found that use of Tongkat ali extract significantly increases testosterone production. “In our studies, we found that Tongkat ali extract increased the serum level of testosterone considerably.” I asked Dr Tamby if the men in his study experienced renewed sexual vitality, or heightened sexual desire. “Oh, yes, most definitely. The men found that Tongkat Ali boosted their sex drive quite a lot. I think that for low libido, Tongkat Ali extract is very valuable. I have seen this result for myself, and can say that this plant really works.” I asked Dr Tamby if the same would apply to women, who secrete only about 5 – 10% as much testosterone as men. “Yes, it certainly should boost libido in women as well, as testosterone is essential to a woman’s sexual desire. Women have used Tongkat Ali for a very long time in this culture,” he added.
Dr. Tamby conducted the PADAM study, in which he investigated Partial Androgen Deficiency In Males. He selected thirty adult males of various ages, assessed their testosterone levels, and then gave them 100 mg of Tongkat Ali extract daily. The testosterone levels of all the subjects rose, resulting in a 91% improvement in libido, a reported 73% improvement in sexual function, and an 82% psychological improvement relative to sex among the men who participated in the study.
Using Tongkat Ali
Dr Johari and other experts involved with this plant recommend around 100 milligrams of concentrated Tongkat ali standardized to approximately 22% glycoproteins daily for men, and around 50 milligrams for women.