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Ingredients in Tongkat Ali

By James Young

Tongkat Ali--also known as Ali's Walking Stick or Longjack--gained notice in the West because of the herb's aphrodisiac effects. Laboratory tests on rats prove the extract of roots of Eurycoma Longifolia Jack increases sexual activity even in castrated animals. Human studies on athletes show effects similar to testosterone, including increased lean body mass, according to the British Journal of Sports Medicine. In Malaysia alone, over 300 popular tonics, coffees and candies contain Tongkat Ali.

Consult your physician before consuming herbs for medicinal purposes.

Root Powders

After digging the long taproots of Longjack, processors chip and dry the roots for further processing. Raw root powder ground from the dried chips--the only ingredient in Tongkat Ali root powder capsules--might not be sterilized or safe for consumption. Aside from trace amounts of glycoproteins responsible for Longjack's medicinal properties, root powder capsules contain only cellulose encased in gelatin. According to Sumatra Pasak Bumi, a manufacturer of wild-harvested Tongkat Ali extract, 100 root powder capsules containing 100 mg per capsule equal one 200 mg capsule of 1:50 extract--the usual recommended daily dose for men.


Traditional users of Tongkat Ali brew tea from the dried chips of the tree's root. Fifty grams of the chips simmered in water for 30 minutes to one hour yields one dose of the medicinal tea. Evaporated slowly until only a crystalline residue remains, the dry product goes through a second milling to produce the fine dry powder called the extract of Tongkat Ali. The amount of extract derived from 50 grams of chips provides a single 1:50 dose.


Other extract labels such as 1:200 mislead the consumer by implying a greater potency. This number means the amount of extract gained from boiling 200 grams of root powder instead of root chips. A 1:200 capsule could contain more extract by volume, but not necessarily more potent extract. Potency depends on the age and quality of the root used to make the extract. Powdering the root fibers before brewing may increase the yield per gram of raw material, but not the effectiveness of the extract.

Active Ingredients

Important glycoproteins found in eurycoma longifolia jack include eurycomalacton, eurycomanone, and eurycomanol. Though each may contribute to the extract's effectiveness as an aphrodisiac or muscle-builder, eurycomanone also shows promise as an anti-cancer and anti-malarial agent. Since these glycoproteins provide the herb's true effects, reputable manufacturers now accept 20 to 22 percent glycoprotein levels as a standard. Standardized extracts ensure effective and safe dosage levels.


Herbal mixtures containing Tongkat Ali may shift the balance of the tonic towards less expensive herbs or even substitute eurycoma longifolia jack root powder for Tongkat Ali extract. A single capsule of herbal compound might include only a trace amount of Tongkat Ali's active ingredients.

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