What is Longjack (Tongkat Ali) Supplement?
Tongkat Ali supplements come from the Eurycoma longifolia shrub native to Indonesia, Indochina, and the Philippines. Southeast Asian cultures used the Eurycoma longifolia plant to make herbal remedies by boiling the roots in water to make a tonic. The plant goes by many other names, with the most common being tongkat ali, longjack, and Malaysian Ginseng. The name tongkat ali translates to Ali’s walking stick, a potential reference to its aphrodisiac properties or its slender, stick-like appearance. Other regional names for the plant relate to the intense bitterness of its roots. For example, the Malay-Indonesian term for tongkat ali is penawar pahit, meaning bitter medicine. Today, people take tongkat ali supplements for their potent aphrodisiac and stress relief properties.
Potential Tongkat Ali Benefits
Tongkat Ali Supplements and Sexual Health
Tongkat ali has a long history as a libido booster. It contains several bioactive compounds that enhance sexual function, including the quassinoids compounds eurocomanone and eurycomanol, canthin-6-one, and eurypeptides. Several animal studies have confirmed that tongkat ali is a powerful aphrodisiac, and a human study noted participants experience an 8.4%-10.8% increase in libido after taking tongkat ali supplements. How tongkat ali improves libido isn’t well understood. One possible mechanism is that tongkat ali supplements may increase serum testosterone levels due to their eurypeptide contents. Tongkat ali may support sexual health in men, as some studies have noted that supplementation significantly improves sperm quality.
Tongkat Ali Supplements and Stress
Tongkat ali also has anxiolytic properties, which can relieve stress and promote relaxation. Researchers have theorized this effect may support tongkat ali’s aphrodisiac properties by reducing stress related to sexual performance. However, tongkat ali supplements can improve stress outside of sexual function. One study found that tongkat ali supplements reduced tension by 11%, anger by 12%, and confusion by 15% in moderately stressed participants over a four-week period. Their stress hormones also improved, with a 16% reduction in cortisol and a 37% increase in testosterone status.
Tongkat Ali Supplements and Exercise Performance
Tongkat ali may improve exercise performance and body composition thanks to its quassinoids contents. The quassinoids help the body make the most efficient use of available energy, which can delay fatigue while improving endurance. One study found that men who took tongkat ali while circuit training experienced a 4% increase in lean body mass over the course of five weeks, whereas the placebo group did not experience muscle gains. The group taking tongkat ali also experienced a substantially greater increase in strength. Another study confirmed that participants taking tongkat ali supplements achieved significant strength gains over the course of five weeks compared to participants taking a placebo.
Potential Tongkat Ali Side Effects
Human studies haven’t noted any side effects from taking tongkat ali supplements. Some individuals may experience restlessness or difficulty falling asleep. However, the studies haven’t yet examined the long-term use of tongkat ali supplements. Tongkat ali may impede the absorption of propranolol, a hypertension medication. It may also increase the efficacy of medications that lower blood glucose. Consult with a physician before starting any new supplements.