Tongkat Ali: Benefits, Side Effects, and More

Tongkat Ali (technically Eurycoma longifolia) is a flowering plant that is found predominantly in Southeast Asia. For a long time Tongkat Ali root has been used for medicinal purposes. Sometimes called Malaysian ginseng, this plant has a variety of uses which I’ll explore during the course of this article. I’ll discuss the benefits, side effects, and uses of Tongkat Ali, and where this root extract is commonly found. Perhaps most frequently found in male enhancement type supplements, Tongkat Ali is known especially for its stimulation of free testosterone.

Tongkat AliBiology And The Boudoir

Tongkat Ali was used as a folk medicine in Southeast Asia. The root of this plant has long been thought to have aphrodisiac qualities. People are always looking for ways to improve sexual performance and energy, so when it comes in a natural, economical form, people get excited. Studies of Tongkat Ali have shown that this extract helps stimulate free testosterone, boost sex drive, and reduce fatigue. For these reasons Tongkat Ali is sometimes known as a natural aphrodisiac. Indeed, testosterone is vital to male sexuality. It plays a key part in promoting sexual characteristics, drive, behavior, and identity. Testosterone also helps with muscle growth and increasing the formation of red blood cells. But there are other studies that point to other benefits than this traditional one.

Tongkat Ali as a Stress Reliever

For example, a study done in 2013 researched the effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and how it affected psychological states in stressed subjects. What these researchers found was that Tongkat Ali is quite beneficial in the area of stress relief. They found significant improvements in these subjects for tension, anger, and confusion, for example. There is also an important linkage between the aforementioned testosterone increase and the stress decrease. It has been suggested by some studies that high stress levels are associated with low testosterone. So Tongkat Ali may boost libido and lower stress simultaneously.

Side Effects of Tongkat Ali

Not too many users of Tongkat Ali have reported side effects, or have reported only mild side effects. For instance, because Tongkat Ali supposedly raises your energy levels, it can cause restlessness and insomnia when taken in larger doses. There are also reports of mildly increased aggression. That being said, these are often accompanying side effects of testosterone boosters.


There is a still a lot of research to be done in this field, but conclusions seem to be similar. Tongkat Ali definitely raises testosterone levels, the result of which is widely known. Subjects who increase this hormone experience greater energy, stronger libido, and enhanced performance. The new research also suggests that daily supplementation of the Tongkat Ali root can help some with their stress profiles, in some cases reducing anger, confusion, and tension. Based on these results, it is suggested that Tongkat Ali may help with simply day-to-day stress, sleep deprivation, and exercise recovery. Using this root extract for more extreme forms of stress, then, is obviously not recommended. In these cases it is always urged that the individual seek out professional medical help.