Is Tongkat Ali an Effective Testosterone Booster?

Active adults, especially men are looking for healthier ways to boost testosterone levels to enhance libido, increase lean mass and improve athletic performance. Alternative medicine continues to grow as an effective option to accomplish these goals.

Tongkat Ali (TA), also known as Eurycoma Longifolia Jack, is a medicinal plant shown to increase testosterone along with other health benefits


Studies have shown testosterone supplementation to be beneficial for fat loss, increased muscle, strength, and improved sexual function. However, prescribed and even over the counter testosterone supplements can come with adverse health effects partly due to their being abused by athletes and bodybuilders. 

Misuse of testosterone can lead to heart attack, stroke, male infertility, depression, and aggression.

Tongkat Ali (TA), similar to the flowering plant Tribulus, appears to be an effective and natural way to boost testosterone. Several studies on humans and animals have examined TA as beneficial for male sexual disorders.

It’s also shown to help increase energy levels, improve aging, reduce anxiety, provide stress relief and reduce the risk of certain cancers. TA is said to help men and women with lowered testosterone levels and struggling with the following:

  • Decreased libido
  • Anorgasmia
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Reduced stamina
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Inability to reduce body fat
  • Plateau in muscle building

Many of the above conditions were significantly improved with Tongkat Ali according to research.

What Makes Tongkat Ali Effective?

A green leafy natural medicine and its juice on table
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Tongkat Ali (TA) is an herbal medicinal plant originating in Malaysia. The valuable bio-active contents of this flowering plant are contained within the roots. Compounds are extracted from the roots and used in traditional herbal medicine. 

An article published in the Pharmacognosy Review indicated Tongkat Ali (TA) contains a group of compounds called quassinoids. Quassinoids are molecules extracted from plants having therapeutic health benefits.

TA contains several of these compounds shown to have aphrodisiac properties and to increase testosterone levels.

According to an article published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, properly standardized Tongkat Ali (TA) stimulates the release of free testosterone, improves sex drive, reduces fatigue, and improves well-being. In addition, ongoing studies have discovered cancer-fighting compounds in TA.

Tongkat Ali (TA) is also shown to improve our ability to build muscle, according to an article published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. A pilot study was conducted on 14 healthy men half utilizing a placebo and the remaining supplementing with Tongkat Ali. The study was performed over a 5-week period and those using TA showed the following results compared to the placebo group:

  • A significant increase in lean mass
  • A significant decrease in body fat percentage
  • A significant increase in strength
  • A significant increase in arm circumference
  • Superior muscle recovery 

Other animal research indicates increased testosterone with Tongkat Ali supplementation and is suggested responsible for increased muscle mass and strength in humans. Further human research is required to confirm these findings.

Tongkat Ali's Effect on Libido

Testosterone is the primary sex hormone for men but also important for female sexual hormone function and balance. When a drop in testosterone occurs it can negatively impair sexual performance in both men and women. Maintaining a healthy libido with aging is a concern for men and women and Tongkat Ali (TA) research has shown promising results.

A twelve-week study on 109 men examined the aphrodisiac effects of Tongkat Ali (TA). The men ranged from 30 to 55 years of age, half given 300mg fluid extract TA and remaining participants a placebo. Those men taking TA experienced higher scores in erectile function, libido, seminal fluid analysis, and sperm motility, and semen volume. 

Similar research was conducted on healthy men between 40 to 65 years of age. Results for those men taking Tongkat Ali (TA) for a 12-week period showed significant improvements in the ability to perform sexual intercourse and maintain an erection. Sexual performance was greatly enhanced according to research findings. 

A small pilot study was conducted on physically active male and female seniors aged 52-72 years. The participants supplemented with 400-mg Tongkat Ali (TA) extract daily for 5 weeks. Research results indicated a significant increase in total and free testosterone levels in both male and female volunteers. They also experienced enhanced muscle strength supplementing with TA. 

Other Ways Tongkat Ali May Benefit Your Health

Tongkat Ali (TA) has been widely researched for its therapeutic value and ability to help with certain conditions. TA may help increase our testosterone level but is also shown to benefit our health in other areas including: 

  • Daily supplementation with Tongkat Ali root extract improves stress hormone profile according to research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
  • Mood state parameters may be improved providing an overall feeling of well-being.
  • TA supplementation may be an effective way to protect our body from chronic stress including general stress, sleep deprivation, stress from exercise training, and stress on the body from dieting.
  • Shown to provide antibacterial properties.
  • Antioxidant properties of TA may be useful to prevent or treat inflammatory diseases.
  • TA is shown as a potential treatment for certain cancers, specifically leukemia.

Should You Supplement With Tongkat Ali?

Tongkat Ali (TA) is considered a dietary supplement with claims to increase testosterone levels and enhance sexual and physical vitality. Tongkat Ali, also referred to as E. longifolia, has become one of the most common herbal products on the market. It has grown in reputation as a sexual performance enhancer causing an increase in consumer purchase.

TA is effective as an alternative treatment option to increase testosterone levels and demonstrates a good safety profile. However, supplements remain unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and their quality, effectiveness, purity, and safety cannot be guaranteed.

Some suppliers and marketers of E. longifolia may produce fake products by reducing the concentration of E. longifolia herbs to gain more profits. This manipulation of Tongkat Ali or any supplement is the reason trusting the quality of unregulated supplements is questionable.

As supplement consumers, it would be wise to put in some research to discover reputable supplement companies with many years of trusted sourcing. 

Because Tongkat Ali (TA) is a testosterone booster, it may be contraindicated with other prescribed medications or not recommended if you have been diagnosed with certain medical conditions including heart problems or hypertension. Before taking this or any other supplement, it’s always a good idea to discuss it with your doctor. 

A Word From Verywell

Maintaining healthy levels of testosterone is important for optimal body functioning. Alternative medicine and herbs like Tongkat Ali (TA) appear to be helpful and a natural way to increase this hormone.

Although positive research findings are available, more human clinical studies are recommended. In order to discover if TA is right for you, having a discussion with your doctor is advised. 

10 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Darla Leal
Darla Leal is a Master Fitness Trainer, freelance writer, and the creator of Stay Healthy Fitness, where she embraces a "fit-over-55" lifestyle.