1 - What is Tongkat Ali?
Eurycoma longifolia is a slender, red stemmed jungle treelet from the family of Simaroubaceae that can grow to 30 feet tall. It is commonly found growing in South East Asia including Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Indo-China, and Malaysia. Eurycoma longifolia is widely used throughout these region because of its reported properties. The roots are tuber-like, long and twisted and often resemble a walking cane.
It is know as Tongkat Ali, Longjack, and Malaysian Ginseng. In fact, it's also known as Payong Ali, Bedara Pahit, Tongkat Baginda, Petala Bumi, Setunjang Bumi, Penawar Pahit in Malaysia, as Pasak Bumi in Indonesia, and as Cay Ba Binh in Vietnam!! The Malaysiam term "tongkat ali" literally means "Ali's staff or walking stick".
2 - Isn't Tongkat Ali now a protected plant in Malaysia?
Yes it is. Because of rampant, unlicensed harvesting of Tongkat Ali in the jungles of Malaysian Borneo (known as Sarawak state), the tree has now been placed on the list of protected plants in Malaysia. There are now Forest Rangers who guard areas where the plant still can be found in the wild.
Click for details as published in the Malaysian newspaper "The Star" 2001-01-30 >>>
Department to root out 'tongkat ali' pilferage
By V. Chandrasekaran
GURUN: The demand for tongkat ali, the plant reputed to have aphrodisiac properties, is causing rampant encroachments into forest reserves.
The raids have become so frequent that the Forestry Department is worried that the plant species may become extinct if immediate steps are not taken to stop the wanton uprooting.
The department's director-general Datuk Zul Mukhshar Md Shaari said there was a big market for the plant extract, as evidenced by the number of factories set up by public listed companies to process tongkat ali into capsules for export.
He said that five years ago, only bomohs, herbal medicine practicioners and officers from the forestry department recognized the efficacy of tongkat ali. "But since then, it has become a big industry," he said.
"Now you can find tongkat ali the tarik being sold in every nook and corner," he said after opening the Jeniang/Sik Forest Ranger office in Jeniang near here yesterday.
Zul Mukshar said the companies or individuals did not require any licence or permit to extract the plant from forest reserves.
"If this continues, we fear the plant might become extinct," he said.
He said directives had been given to the respective forestry departments to deploy a ranger to take charge of two areas in the forest reserves where tongkat ali was extensively found.
"By doing this, we may at least help preserve some areas," he added.
Zul Mukhshar said although it was difficult to overcome the problem of encroachment, his department was finding ways if permits or licenses could be issued to those who processed tongkat ali for commercial purposes.
"Various aspects have to be considered before guidelines and procedures are worked out to issue licenses or permits," he said.
He said his department would encourage companies processing the plant to grow the species themselves instead of getting their supply from forest reserves.
Our supplier engages in ethical farming. There is no standardized concentration. For the active
ingredients, please see http://www.testingtongkatali.com/index.htm. Our roots are harvested in remote jungle areas. No fertilizer and no pesticides have been used. Furthermore, there is no contamination through industrial pollution as has been established in lab examinations.
3 - Tongkat Ali is just a tree root - why should I care about the origin of the product I buy?
Widespread harvesting of wild-grown trees has led to rapid thinning of natural populations, causing a potential decrease in genetic diversity among E. longifolia.
Sumatra Pasak Bumi Website http://www.tongkatali.org
It's worth noting that studies have been taking place to identify key characteristics in the E. longifolia species in an effort to identify those strains possessing the desired medicinal markers making the plant suitable for medicinal uses.
(Reference site: PubMedCentral)
Suitable genetic markers would be very useful for propagation and breeding programs to support conservation of this species, although no such markers currently exist. To meet this need, we have applied a genome complexity reduction strategy to identify a series of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the genomes of several E. longifolia accessions. We have found that the occurrence of these SNPs reflects the geographic origins of individual plants and can distinguish different natural populations. This work demonstrates the rapid development of molecular genetic markers in species for which little or no genomic sequence information is available. The SNP markers that we have developed in this study will also be useful for identifying genetic fingerprints that correlate with other properties of E. longifolia, such as high regenerability or the appearance of bioactive metabolites.
4 - Is Tongkat Ali Safe?
Used according to directions Tongkat Ali has not been found to have any adverse side effects. There have been those that experience nausea the first few days upon starting Tongkat Ali, however this usually goes away after a few days. Alternately smaller doses can be taken until a tolerance is built up.
In traditional forests where the Tongkat Ali roots are collected, no pesticides are used whatsoever, and there is also no industrial pollution. The nearest town is at least 50 kilometers away from the areas where our roots are collected. For this reason, the soil where our Tongkat Ali roots are collected carries virtually no load of industrial pollutants.
5 - What is the correct dosage and when should I take it?
To treat problems like migraine, fatigue, or malaria fever, a dose is approximately 500 mg per day of 1:50 powdered extract. To increase sexual function, the recommended dosage is 1,000 to 1,500 mg per day.
Tongkat Ali should be taken on a cycle of 6 days on, followed by 3 days off or on-cycle of 10 days, followed by 5 days off.
It would be best if customers take their daily dosages of Tongkat Ali extract at once with a meal. For those who prefer a full breakfast, this should be at breakfast time. For others, it should be at lunch.
6 - I have found some Tongkat Ali much cheaper - what is the difference?
For the production of our Tongkat Ali extract, only roots are used. While the same glyco-proteins that form the active ingredients of Tongkat Ali roots are also found in the stem, branches, and even the leaves of the shrub, the concentration of active ingredients is by far the highest in the root, especially in roots of shrubs older than 5 years, a single dose needs about 50 gram of root.
Some companies use the bark, stems or branches, fillers, or cellulose. Pure Tongkat Ali is identified by its very dark brown color, bitter taste, and water solubility.
Root powder in capsules, as it is offered by some companies in the US, is a gimmick. The root powder is very light, so what would fit into a typical supplement capsule is just about 100 milligram. One would have to swallow 200 capsules to have the effect of one capsule filled with 400 milligram of our 1:50 extract.
And, what's worse, a common brand of Tongkat Ali in the US that claims to be 1:100 extract possibly is just root powder, not extract. This suspicion is justified because the supplement application of the company marketing the capsules (of Malaysian origin http://www.asiadaily.com/heavy_metals.htm) with the FDA has just been for root powder, not for Tongkat Ali extract. Anybody can check this for himself by conducting a search on the FDA website (www.fda.gov) for Tongkat Ali.
Unfortunately, the sale of plain root powder, or root powder in capsules, gives Tongkat Ali a bad name. Tongkat Ali won't have a therapeutic or pro-sexual effect at that dosage, so people will falsely conclude that this herbal supplement is useless.
Make sure you compare product for product, this is 50 capsules, 400 MG of pure 1:50 extract, imported directly from Indonesia. The same product and dosage recommended by Dr. David Williams of the popular Alternatives Newsletter.
Some companies sell powdered root, which is not powdered extract and will not have the same effect. TA powder capsules are not recommended for human consumption. The powder needs to be boiled for 30 min and drank. Our capsules are pure 100TA extract, not powder. We do not use any fillers. You can use 2 or 3 of our capsules or 100 of theirs, do the math. Genuine Tongkat Ali extract does have a clear effect.
7 - I've seen Tongkat Ali in strengths of 100:1 and 200:1 - why buy 50:1?
There's no reason you should buy one over the other - but there are some things we'd like to make you aware of so that you know what you're spending your money on.
We're going to break this into two sections - first, we'll define exactly what Tongkat Ali Extract is, then we'll talk about the concentrations of the Tongkat Ali products you can purchase on the market today.
First we'll discuss the exract itself...
There are mainly 2 types of extracts - crude extracts and standardized extracts.
Crude extracts are basically "broad spectrum" concentrations; to over-simplify the process (because they are complex at times) - these concentrations are typically produced by steeping the base material in water and/or other solvents, and then concentrating the liquid or evaporating it entirely. Some crude extracts will also have some additional processing to remove some of the solid material. All of this as it relates to our Tongat Ali Extract is detailed here.
A standardized extract is one where a "marker" chemical or chemicals (the desired "active compound" in the plant) is concentrated to standard level. Some examples are St. John's Wort which is standardized for Hypericum content, Chinese Ginseng Root standardized to 30% Total Ginsenosides, and Ginkgo Leaf standardized to both 24% Flavonglycosides & 6% Triterpenes. These types of extracts are always more desirable than the "XX:1" varieties.
So why isn't there a "standardized" extract of Tongkat Ali? Because the fact is that there are so many potentially active constituents and there is so little clearly known about how it does what it does that it simply isn't clear exactly what to standardize against! But that certainly doesn't keep shady Internet folk from trying. Here's a couple of interesting pages of information - take a look and you'll see what we're refering to:
What are the active ingredients of tongkat ali
(sadly this page contains links to content now only available via the Internet Archive)
and the more current page at: Eurypeptides and bogus science
NOW let's talk about "strength". When our competitors market their "extra strength" products they LOVE to make "concentration comparisons" saying things like:
200:1 extract is twice as potent as 100:1 extracts, twenty times more potent that 10:1 extracts, and 200 TIMES more potent than the root powder found in many Tongkat Ali products"
"185mg 200:1 Extract found in xxxx is equivalent to:
370mg of 100:1 Extract
740mg of 50:1 Extract
3,700mg of 10:1 Extract
7,400mg of 5:1 Extract
37,000mg of Root Powder!"
These claims are purely false, and meant to mislead you. There is currently no "standardized" concentration of Tongkat Ali. But even at a more basic level, it needs to be made clear that 200:1 Tongkat Ali Extract is NOT FOUR TIMES STRONGER than 50:1. While one would like to believe that it's simple math to say 100:1 is twice as strong as 50:1, and therefore 200:1 must surely be twice as strong again - but these numbers are NOT linear. They represent a ROUGH estimate of raw product to finished extract per gram of finished extract. So what these numbers are saying is that for 50:1, roughly 50 grams of root are used to produce 1 gram of extract. Similarly, for 100:1 and 200:1 the raw root to finished extract ratio does increase. But one must look at the process used to reduce the extract to its powdered form, and that's were the "economies" are not a lineat scale. What follows is straight from our source:
Regarding the production of our exract - the values are not linear. 1:200 is not four times the strength of 1:50. In the 1:50, only cellulose is removed as part of the concentration process. For 1:200 additional constituents are removed to increase the concentration.
The final key to this puzzle is cost. While it's true that you will take fewer capsules with the 200:1 concentration, the fact is that unless your daily dose in lots of grams and you just can't swallow that many piils you're going to get a better product in the 50:1 capsules. That's why it's our flagship product, and people see results. We do not have an issue with sourcing 200:1 extract for anyone that should desire to purchase it. If you want to spend lots of money we'll gladly assist - E-Mail Us and we'll work out the details.
There is no standardized concentration (reference site). Our roots are harvested in remote jungle areas. No
fertilizer and no pesticides have been used. Furthermore, there is no contamination through industrial pollution as has been established in lab examinations.
8 - I've seen products that tout a mix of several kinds of "male enhancers" - aren't they better?
You may have noticed that the Tree of Wellness products contain only one herb in each capsule. This is more powerful! This is unlike many of our competitors who mix a number of herbs and chemicals to produce a cocktail that they hope will be effective. We do not believe this is the best approach. The amount of active ingredient must be reduced in each capsule to make room for the others, and the reduced dosage of the primary herb is often so low as to be ineffective.
Also, mixing many herbs often results in a diminishing of the power of each one as they may be antagonistic in their action. We believe the best approach is to provide a small selection of pure herbal extracts, each in a separate capsule, taken daily. Only those with no antagonistic action in their release and phyto-activity are included.
More about Tongkat Ali...
Heavy metals in Malaysian tongkat ali:
Laboratory test result:
We would like to encourage every user to assess the effect of tongkat ali not just by how it feels, but by what it scientifically does for plasma levels of testosterone, free testosterone, and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). And we actually support users who take the effort of having proper lab work done before and after tongkat ali usage.
Lab tests for testosterone and free testosterone can be obtained through the Internet for a reasonable price. These tests are based on saliva, thus no blood is drawn from a participant's vein, nor does the trial participant have to visit a laboratory. The common procedure is that one buys a test kid and uses it for a saliva sample at home. The used test kit is then sent to the lab, where the hormone profiling is done. The lab then sends the report back to the participant.
Please note that both the initial test and the follow-up test should be for testosterone AND free testosterone.
Results will be published anonymously, just as the sample lab reports below.
Click here for a lab report done after a period of 4 weeks WITHOUT tongkat ali extract capsules.
Click here for a lab report done after 8 weeks of usage of 800 mg (2 capsules) of 1:50 tongkat ali extract.
Click here for a scan of reference values for the testosterone (by the lab that did the above two lab reports.)