Tongkat Ali – inhibit aromatase, increase free testosterone & lower cortisol

Tongkat Ali (TA), Long Jack, or Eurycoma longifolia is a common herbal shrub found along the slopes of hilly terrains in the Malaysian rainforests.

The roots of Tongkat Ali, often called “Malaysian ginseng”, are used as an adaptogen and as a traditional “anti-aging” remedy to help older individuals adapt to the reduced energy, mood, and libido that often comes with age.

A proper supplement will be very bitter due to the presence of quassinoids, which are recognized as some of the bitterest compounds in nature.

Tongkat Ali is mainly used as a testosterone booster or to increase free testosterone, but few know of how it does this or of its other benefits.

Benefits of Tongkat Ali:

  • Decreases hesitation time and increases right decision making (R).
  • Anti-malaria (RR)
  • Anti-cancer (RR)
  • Potent anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-parasite (RR).
  • Anti-inflammatory (RR)
  • Anti-anxiety (RR)
  • Anti-depressant (RR)
  • Anti-diabetic (increase glucose uptake (a significant antihyperglycaemic effect), reduce lipid accumulation suppress lipogenesis, improves insulin sensitivity) (RR, R, R)
  • Potent antiulcer effect (RR)
  • Anti-Rheumatism effect (RR)
  • Very protective against kidney damage and can significantly decrease creatinine and urea and increase creatinine and urea clearance (R).
  • Aphrodisiac (R)

Tongkat Ali & Testosterone

Tongkat Ali is more of a testosterone restorer than a stimulator. However, in men with low testosterone, it’s actually said to be a safe alternative to testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), as it’s been shown to restore serum testosterone levels. It can even replace TRT for increasing bone mineral density (R).

It increases, or restores, testosterone levels mainly by inhibiting the aromatase and phosphodiesterase (lowers the breakdown of cAMP, which then increases StAR), protecting the testes from oxidative stress and suppressing α-2-HS glycoprotein expression (R, R).

The aromatase inhibiting properties of Tongkat Ali must be pretty potent seen by how effectively it increases free testosterone. Remember, estrogen is a potent stimulator of SHBG, and Tongkat Ali doesn’t displace testosterone from SHBG, but actually lowers the levels of SHBG, most likely by lowering estrogen significantly.

Some of the “eurypeptides” in Tongkat Ali has been shown to activate steroidogenic enzymes, such as the CYP17 enzyme (17 alpha-hydroxylase and 17,20 lyase) that enhances the metabolism of pregnenolone and progesterone to yield more DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) and androstenedione, respectively.

Tongkat Ali is also an adaptogen as seen by significant improvements in tension (−11%), anger (−12%), and confusion (−15%) after a 200mg dose. It also significantly improves the stress hormone profile (salivary cortisol and testosterone) by lowering cortisol exposure (−16%), increasing testosterone status (+37%) and improving the overall cortisol:testosterone ratio (−36%) (R).

In the dieting and overtraining arena, Tongkat Ali has been shown to reduce fatigue, heighten energy and mood, improve stress resilience, improve the sense of well-being, prevent the decrease in the metabolic rate and testosterone from dieting and helps to maintain the normal cortisol:testosterone balance to prevent overtraining syndrome and to enhance body composition and accelerate postexercise recovery (R, R).

A few studies have also found that Tongkat Ali increases muscle mass and strength and reduces fat mass (R, R). However, don’t expect miracles from it in that regard. For proper muscle and strength gains and fat loss, a proper training program and meal plan and the guidance and assistance of an expert in the field will get you there.

Tongkat Ali has been classified as extremely safe according to the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).

I think it’s a great herb to use and to have in your arsenal. Just be sure to get a good extract like the ones below.

12 Comments Add yours

  1. It’s definitely effective. The most potent/pure source I could find was Lost Empire Herb’s Tongkat. The only issue with it is that it raises body temperature and for me this can cause sleep-onset insomnia.

    1. Thanks for sharing. This can make TA valuable for people that want to raise their body temperatures. Some people report anxiety from it. Did you experience anxiety from using Tongkat Ali?

      1. No, just the raised body temp, perhaps I’ll try it again in the fall or winter time.

      2. Why does it do that? Is it affecting Thyroid hormones?

      3. I don’t know really. I can’t find research to why it should. It’s actually been used to lower stress and anxiety so I’m not sure why it would have the opposite effect. Maybe it’s a negative reaction to the excipients and thats why it’s key to finding a clean product.

      4. I mean the higher body temperature, I didn’t experience any anxiety. There’s no research indicating what is the cause?

      5. It’s most likely due to lower stress hormones and a better running metabolism. It also probably increases thyroid, catecholamines and uncoupling a little.

  2. Mateo says:

    It think it also give me Anxiety, Buy i’m also taking Tribulus, so is hard to know. Do You recommend taking both herbs at the same time?

    1. Hans Amato says:

      Yes, taking both can have a synergistic effect. Maybe you’re reacting negatively to excipients?

  3. Mateo says:

    I think it was the Tribulus (GAT Nutrition), The T. Ali alone feels like “pro-Gaba” to me. I’m expecting the Herbolab brand (2% Eurycomanone) and Will report the effects. Thanks

    1. Hans Amato says:

      Ok sweet. Badmonkeybotanicals also have a pure tribulus powder if you want to check them out.

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