Tongkat Facts & FAQ
Below are facts and answers to frequently asked questions about Tongkat Ali. You can You will not find fake or biased or unverified information on this site, everything below can be verified and is taken from reputable sources. If you own an information-based Tongkat Ali site or blog you may use and copy this info as you please with my permission, but you must NOT be selling a product.
What does Tongkat Ali mean?
The word "Tongkat Ali" is Malaysian and translates to "Ali's¬†walking stick", partly because of the long thin trunk of the tree which resembles a huge stick, and partly some say because it is a sexual innuendo, as It is mostly used as an aphrodisiac.
Where is it from?
Tongkat Ali is a very rare and unique plant which only grows in the far east, mainly in Indonesia, Malaysia & Thailand. Unfortunately, it is now a protected species in Malaysia due to the locals over harvesting the plant. According to FRIM (Forest Research Institute of Malaysia), the plant can still be harvested in the wild without any issue, but there are now national parks and reserves containing Tongkat Ali in Malaysia to prevent extinction and harvesting from these areas only is strictly forbidden. Some Malaysian manufacturers may also import the roots from Indonesia.
PowerOfTheHerb.com sells an extract that uses Indonesian roots, but unlike other sellers, we will not lie to you and say it is better than Malaysian extracts, because the 2 countries produce extracts of equal quality, and of equally bad quality, depending on who you buy it from. Both countries have honest sellers and dishonest sellers.
What about plantations?
There are some field plantations, the oldest of which I know of mentioned is 7 years old, see HERE for proof of this in a study.
There are even modern and safe ways of growing Tongkat Ali to increase the active ingredients in the plant's roots, and even increase the number of shoots from 1, which is all a wild grown plant will have, to 6!
A study that you can download HERE has proven not only the above, but also that it is now possible to yield more Eurycomanone from a 1-year old cultivated plant than a mature wild plant, meaning in the future harvesting mature plants in to near extinction will no longer be needed, which is of course great news for the declining species and for manufacturers, and it may even bring the price down if it ever happens on a large scale.
Do not believe dishonest manufacturers or people who say the root must be at least 10 years of age to be beneficial, it probably is not 10 years old even if it is advertised as such, and in this day and age with today's technology and extraction methods the age is not really important at all anyway, unless of course, you are using very old and more traditional/simple methods of extraction.
How many species exist?
There are a total four species being referred by locals as Tongkat Ali according to the Journal of applied science, but I count five including Jackiopsis ornata which is often called Red Tongkat Ali, though this is not an official member of the same species. The species are...
Eurycoma longifolia Jack, also known as Longjack, which is yellow/beige in color in its raw form and is the most studied and the most used for extracts. When people talk about Tongkat Ali, this is usually what they are referring to and is really the only species you should consider if you are basing your purchase on studies.
Polyathia bullata, also known as Hitam, which is Black/dark brown on the outside and creamy white on the inside, sometimes called King. Also used in extracts by some manufacturers though not as much as it is not very well studied.
Eurycoma apiculata, very little info about this species online.
Goniothalamus sp, very little info about this species available online.
Jackiopsis ornata, also known as Merah, which has reddish pink tinge to it in places and is called Red Tongkat Ali by some people in Malaysia although it is not actually a member of the same species. It is not as bitter as Eurycoma Longifolia and is said to have a pleasant Ginseng like taste.
What is it used for?
Tongkat Ali is commonly used as an aphrodisiac. It has many other reported benefits also but EU legislation does not allow these to be mentioned by retailers as they may be perceived as medicinal claims in some countries or by some people. Because poweroftheherb holds stock in the EU we cannot list any other benefits as we need to follow EU legislation, but if you came to this site looking to buy Tongkat Ali, you have probably already read about it and done your own research anyway.
What is a standardized extract?
A standardized extract is an extract that was created with standards, usually to contain a specific percentage of an active constituent or constituents that have shown to be effective for whatever the herb is being sold for. In the case of Tongkat Ali, Eurycomanone is the most common constituent for standardization as it is the most studied and looks to be one of the most beneficial for use as an aphrodisiac or bodybuilding supplement.
Some manufacturers may also produce an extract using normal methods, and test every batch for the Eurycomanone content after the extract has been created. If it meets or exceeds the percentage they require, it can be kept, If not then it cannot be used for that specific product and may be discarded, used in another product or modified until it does meet the requirements.
In Malaysia, it is said that all Tongkat Ali extract products should contain at least 0.8% Eurycomanone, although there are still plenty of fakes in circulation as it is not properly policed.
The problem with non-standardized extracts (extract ratios).
The problem with herbs sold with only extract ratios, such as 1:200, is that it is 100% impossible to know if the herb is real or not or how genuine the extract ratio given is, since no tests exist to test for such a thing. There are simply too many factors involved in the production process that may affect the amount of raw herb needed to be used and too many different extraction methods. Unless you are literally stood inside the room watching it being manufactured, you cannot know how much raw root was used and therefore have no way at all of knowing the extract ratio meaning you can claim what you like on the packaging.
HOWEVER if you standardize an extract to make sure it contains a good amount of Eurycomanone, which is exactly what World A.B.S have done, then you can be sure it is going to be genuine and should also contain a good amount of other active constituents also, and that each batch will be consistent in potency and quality.
Buying a standardized Tongkat Ali product that has been HPLC tested, is always going to be the safest way to ensure what you are buying is of good quality and legit. Some brands will claim ridiculous amounts of Eurycomanone such as 25% but will not be able to prove it as they are just scam artists, and also that would be a bad idea since there are hundreds of other beneficial constituents in Tongkat, so producing a 25% Eurycomanone extract would reduce the overall quality of the product as you would need to discard most of the other constituents. A 25% extract is normally only available from an R&D laboratory and costs close to 10,000 dollars per kilo or more so it's not likely to ever be sold to the public or used in a supplement ever at all anyway.
The only real downside to standardization is that to increase the percentage of one constituent others may need to be removed, this may or may not decrease the desired effect depending on what you are trying to achieve. Since Eurycomanone is the major and most studied of Tongkat Ali's constituents it is felt that the benefits outweigh this minor downside. With Tongkat Ali it is not really a problem anyway, as long as you do not take the percentage too high it can still offer a full spectrum of active constituents. 2-3% Eurycomanone is perfect in my opinion.
Some companies claim 8%, but then because of the costs needed to produce an 8% extract, they only put 100mg of that extract in the capsules, so you actually get LESS eurycomanone than you would in a lower percentage product that has 300-400mg in the capsules AND you get a LOT LESS of the other active constituents also.
100mg at 8% is 8mg of eurycomanone and 92mg of the other constituents per capsule and a high price tag.
400mg at 2.4% is 9.6mg of Eurycomaone and 390.4mg of the other active constituents, with a medium price tag. This makes higher percentages totally pointless.
For more info about plant extracts and how they are made etc, there is plenty of information at www.ahpa.org about all sorts of things herbal, and an article explaining about extracts in more details can be found HERE. The following link has lots of info on Eurycomanone.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Eurycomanone
So what are the active constituents found in Tongkat Ali?
Below is an image taken from a scientific site showing the many known active constituents. Hold control and move your mouse wheel up to zoom in on images if using a Windows PC.
Studies and Research
If you want to view actual studies on Tongkat Ali you can do so at the below link.
The Truth about the Color of Tongkat Ali
You will have no doubt heard some people say it should be dark brown and others light brown or tan/beige/yellow. The truth is that there is no color or shade that it "should" be and never has been, the color may be determined by a number of factors such as temperatures used, extraction methods, extract solvents used, extraction times, species used, drying methods etc. It could be whitish-yellow, yellow, creamy white, pink, pinky brown, reddish brown, tan brown, dark brown etc, it honestly makes zero difference to the quality if done correctly.
Of course you will find sellers of dark extracts saying it should be dark and sellers of light extracts saying it should be light, blah blah blah, etc etc. You can ignore every single one of them as none of them have any proof for what they say and it is simply a marketing technique, or sometimes lack of knowledge from resellers who just repeat what their supplier tells them.
Traditional extraction methods using high temps for long periods and milling tend to be darker, newer methods of extraction such as high-pressure extraction, and drying methods like freeze and spray drying, tend to produce lighter extracts.
In fact, you can take a light extract, put it in an oven on a high temp and darken it up yourself to see what effect high temp extraction and drying methods would have. It will turn dark brown, proving temps affect the color. In fact, most things turn dark brown when exposed to high temps, right before they turn black and burn...
The whole " 1:200 should always be dark brown" rumor started because Sumatra Pasak Bumi, who used to supply many Tongkat Ali resellers including World A.B.S, but thankfully no longer do, told people this, and because they seemed to have all the certificates required people had no reason to doubt them. I myself even used to paste their info on my site years ago when they where used as what I THOUGHT was an honest supplier, but then I did my own unbiased research and found this not to be the case at all, and I quickly removed everything they had told me and reported them as it was obvious they could not be trusted.
Since then Sumatra Pasak Bumi has now also corrected their site to reflect the truth, and they now admit lighter extracts are from different drying methods etc, even making basic lighter extracts themselves now. However this is too little to late, they deceived thousands of people industry-wide, sellers and customers alike, and their extract quality is still inconsistent and they still have not had it standardized or tested, instead they are now falsely claiming standardization is, in their words, bullsh!t, and make out as if it is incredibly difficult and expensive to do which it most certainly is not. They are stuck in the past unwilling to move with the times and as a result being dishonest appears to be their way of competing with an ever-changing industry.
The only thing that truly determines if an extract is real or a fake substitute herb such as Tribulus, is if it contains Eurycomanone or another constituent that is only found in the roots of Eurycoma Longifolia, and NOT the color. IGNORE THE COLOR!
Indeed the study I refer to further down this page by the Journal of applied sciences, which tested 41 products and found many to be fake, lists many of the products and if you look at the ones that were tested and found to be real, you will find they were not dark brown, they were not all the same color either, which is yet more proof color simply does not matter.
Below is what World A.B.S say about the color of their extract...
Due to the process used to produce the new 2.4% Eurycomanone HPLC Standardized Tongkat Ali extract, the color may vary from batch to batch. The color will range from a sandy brown to a slightly darker reddish brown; This variation arises from the color of the Tongkat Ali root used, the color of the chosen extract that passes the required specifications and also the drying process used.
¬†HPLC Standardized Extraction
One of the many benefits of using the HPLC standardized extract is that Tongkat Ali root can be sourced based on its sustainability, rather than color or age. World A.B.S allow the HPLC testing to monitor the strength of the extract during the liquid stage before going on to the drying phase.
This technique drys the extract without overheating it, unlike the¬†traditional drying process that often darkens the color.
In traditional Tongkat Ali extraction, a vacuum drying process is commonly used. This longer exposure to higher temperatures will often overheat the extract damaging the active ingredients darkening the extract further, and in some instances reduce the extract almost to a charcoal state.
Other things of note...
I have had a few people recently emailing in asking about the color of Tongkat Ali extract, because they have read a few false statements on another brands site, which sells what is claimed to be 1:200 Tongkat in bigger capsules, that Tongkat Ali is "more impure the darker the color" This is obviously marketing hype which holds no truth whatsoever, and is very confusing for customers.
The statement they use is...
“Eurycomanone is snow white.” “The further from white an extract is the more impurities it contains.”
Yes, Eurycomanone "as a single constituent In its pure form when not attached to anything else" is White, BUT this is irrelevant and has nothing at all to do with regular herbal extracts in any way, shape or form, and is nothing at all to do with how pure or unpure Tongkat Ali extract is. I will explain why below in simple terms...
Oranges are Orange, everyone knows this!
Pure Orange juice is Orange, everyone knows this!
Vitamin C, which is one of the many constituents in Oranges and the most well known, just like Eurycomanone is one of the many constituents in Tongkat Ali and the most well known, is white when removed and viewed in its pure form.
Everyone that has purchased Vitamin C powder knows this. Vitamin C powder is usually crystalline and white for those that don't know!
This obviously does not mean the further from White your Orange juice is, the less pure it is! Yet that is what the seller of the light extract does indeed state and seems to want you to believe, based on just one constituent being white, which is actually quite common. Removing solitary constituents from any herb or plant, regardless of what it is, almost always results in a color different to the plant or herb it came from, and that color is very often WHITE!
Contact any lab that specializes in producing pure singular constituents and they will verify this for you. Also, there are many many constituents in Tongkat Ali, not just Eurycomanone, and it is not known yet which ones Eurycomanone works in synergy with. To get all the benefits of Tongkat Ali you need more than just this single constituent.
PROOF many extracts are FAKE.
A recent independent non-biased study tested 41 products being sold on Amazon etc as Tongkat Ali, some with an extract ratio and some without, for the presence of Eurycomanone. If it did not contain any Eurycomanone then it was obviously fake as it is simply not possible for Tongkat Ali to not contain Eurycomaone, it is part of its genetic makeup.
Out of these 41 products,17 of them contained no Eurycomanone at all, 12 of which were purchased from Amazon and some were from know brands that were registered with the Malaysian health department and FDA, proving that registration means nothing when it comes to quality.
24 products did contain Eurycomanone, but 10 contained of these less than the legally required standard of 0.8% in Malaysia, meaning they were either of low quality or not extracted properly.
The remaining 14 products had above the required level of 0.8% and one product actually had 8%, although rather disappointingly that product, called Nu Prep Lelaki, was not standardized to 8% so it may just have been a fluke or mistake, and 8% is not guaranteed in future batches. The product also only contained 100mg of Tongkat Ali per capsule, the other 250mg was a filler that will do nothing for you, so it is not actually a very good purchase. At first glance, 8% seemed to good to be true, and it was.
You can read the study yourself at... http://scialert.net/qredirect.php?doi=jas.2015.999.1005&linkid=pdf
How long does it take for Tongkat Ali to work?
This is not possible to answer as it varies from person to person. Some people may feel an effect in as little as 3 days, others may need a few weeks, and there will also be people who never see any effect at all, because as with ALL herbal products and even all man-made prescription drugs, and even prohormones, there is no guarantee they will have any noticeable effect upon an individual. What works for one may not work for another. This is a fact you should be aware of as no returns are accepted should this be the case once a bottle has been opened.
Tongkat Ali Diet, Dose and Side Effects
Visit the Diet & Dose page for known info on diet, dose and side effects.
How is Tongkat Ali Extract Produced?
All production methods tend to be very similar, but times, extract solutions, extraction temperatures, species, parts of the plant used and the final drying method into an extract powder may vary.
Basicaly, the roots are heated in a liquid solvent, which can be water, ethanol, methanol or grain alcohol, and then removed from the solvent.
The remaining liquid is then evaporated until all that remains is the extract from within the plant. This is then milled, spray dried or freeze dried into a fine powder.
Standardized extracts are monitored during the liquid phase using high-pressure liquid chromatography for levels of known active marker compounds such as Eurycomanone to ensure the finished product is both real and potent and of a standard that can be repeated batch to batch.
Is your Tongkat Ali produced by Sumatra Pasak Bumi?
NO, absolutely not. Due to high concerns about their honesty, inconsistent quality, contradictions and complaints from customers about their product, World A.B.S no longer use SPB and have not for quite some time now. The extract is now produced in the EU to ensure better quality control and to offer a standardized product to ensure quality is always consistent. Obviously, the new supplier's name cannot be revealed to help prevent competitors from finding them. Very few supplement companies will ever reveal their sources so there is nothing wrong with this, it is common practice to not give away your supplier for obvious reasons regardless of what you are selling or what business you are in.
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