Tongkat Ali prevented the growth of subcutaneous (under the skin) tumors in mice.
Laboratory studies found that Eurycoma longifolia (the plant from which Tongkat Ali originates) contains specific compounds (quassinoids) that prevent the growth and progression of cancer cells.
Other cell-based studies found that Tongkat Ali was effective against various types of cancer, including leukemia and lung and breast cancer. However, it only showed moderate efficacy against bowel cancer.
Tongkat Ali May Reduce Stress and Anxiety
A 4-week study in 63 people with moderate stress showed that Tongkat Ali root extract reduced stress hormone (cortisol) levels, tension, anger, and confusion.
Tongkat Ali also reduced the frequency of fighting episodes and increased exploratory behavior in mice.
Tongkat Ali May Improve Immune System
In a 4-week study (DB-RCT) of 83 subjects, best Tongkat Ali supplement increased T cells, CD4 T cells, which improved overall immune function.
Tongkat Ali May Lower Blood Sugar
Tongkat Ali lowered blood sugar levels in diabetic rats.
Tongkat Ali May Lower Blood Pressure
In rats, Tongkat Ali widened blood vessels, which lowered blood pressure.
Tongkat Ali Decreases Pain and Inflammation
In the laboratory, Tongkat Ali exhibited antioxidant (free radical scavenging) and anti-inflammatory properties.
Tongkat Ali Can Fight Bacteria
Tongkat Ali inhibited the growth of harmful bacteria in the laboratory (such as Salmonella, E. coli, staphylococcus, and typhoid-causing bacteria).
Tongkat Ali Can Fight Parasites
In the laboratory, Tongkat Ali inhibited the growth of Blastocystis sp, a parasite that causes intestinal problems.
Another laboratory study showed that Tongkat Ali inhibited the growth of Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis.
This is likely due to its content of quassinoids, compounds that exhibit antiparasitic properties by inhibiting parasitic growth, movement, and reproduction.
These compounds are also toxic to Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite responsible for malaria.
Tongkat Ali Has Anti-Ulcer Properties
Tongkat Ali contains quassinoids (eurycomanone and pasakbumin-B), which prevent ulcers by reducing excess stomach acid.
Tongkat Ali reduced the severity of alcohol-induced stomach injuries in rats.
Tongkat Ali is reported to reduce fever, but there are no clinical or animal studies to support this.
Tongkat Ali can cause:
- A clinical study showed that doses up to 600 mg/kg of Tongkat Ali did not cause any adverse effects.
- Another clinical trial also showed that Tongkat Ali had no side effects.
- However, in the laboratory, high doses (equal to or greater than 2.5 μg ml) of Tongkat Ali were found to be able to damage human sperm.
- Tongkat Ali herbal coffee is associated with high blood pressure in pregnant women and fetal.
Limitations and caveats
Most of the studies investigating the effects of Tongkat Ali are done on animals. More human studies are needed to confirm its efficacy.
Although Tongkat Ali has been reported to improve libido and bone health in women, there is no clinical evidence to support it.
- Tongkat Ali reduces the absorption of beta blockers (such as propranolol), so these drugs should not be taken in conjunction with Tongkat Ali.
- Tongkat Ali inhibits the metabolic activities of CYP1A2, CYP2A6, and CYP2C19 enzymes. These enzymes are part of the CYP540 family, which are responsible for breaking down or activating medications. Inhibition of these enzymes can cause adverse effects with specific medications (eg, some antidepressants, beta-blockers, statins, warfarin, and antiepileptics).
- Natural sources (or forms of supplementation)
- Tongkat Ali is an herbal supplement available as tablets, water-soluble powder, and coffee.
- Most clinical trials use 200 mg or 400 mg of the water-soluble extract of Tongkat Ali daily.
- According to a toxicology report, the acceptable daily dose for adults is up to 1.2 g/day.
- The dose for children is unknown.
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