Tongkat Ali is a ﬂowering plant (angiosperm) belonging to the Simaroubaceae family. Angiosperms are seed-bearing vascular plants with ﬂowers as their reproductive structure in which the ovules are enclosed in an ovary. They are found in almost every habitat from grasslands to deserts and forests.
Angiosperms come in a variety of forms including trees, herbs, submerged aquatics, bulbs and epiphytes. The largest plant families are orchids, legumes (beans) and compositae (daisies). To-date, there is an estimated of over 350,000 species of ﬂowering plants or angiosperms.
Tongkat Ali grows in the under storey of lowland forests and typically survives on a wide variety of soils but thrives better in an acidic, well-drained soil. It grows to a height of about 12 meters, generally without or at most one to two branches. It has pinnate leaves about 1 meter in length that tend to crowd towards the end of the branches.
One of the characteristics of the stem is noticeable scars are often found where the lower leaves fall off. Each leaf has about 20 to 30 leaﬂets, in almost opposite pairs of dark green with an ovate-lanceolate shape, ending with one leaﬂet at the tip of the leaf. Being a ﬂowering plant (angiosperm), Tongkat Ali bears either male (with sterile pistil) or female ﬂowers (with sterile stamens).
Each ﬂower has a green calyx lobe with ﬁve red petals. The fruit is an oval—shaped drupe and yellowish- brown in colour. The ﬂowers are borne on densely branched clusters, about 60 to 70cm in length from the leaf axils.
In the ﬁeld cultivation of E. longifolia, some fast-growing shady trees usually are planted near it or it can be grown under other existing tree species. The plants can be harvested after 4 years (for the active compounds to become concentrated in the roots), when they are pulled out of the soil and have their taproots harvested.
The tissue of the taproot is yellowish in colour and tastes bitter. The older E. longifolia trees are larger therefore yielding larger roots with more active compounds.
The roots of Tongkat Ali contain more than 20 chemical compounds including alkaloids (11-hydroxy-9-methoxycanthin-6-one), quassinoids (eurycomanone and eurycomalactone), quassinoid diterpenoids, eurycomaoside, eurycolactone, laurycolactone or eurycomalactona.
Natives consider every part of Tongkat Ali containing medicinal value, but it is the roots that have been scientiﬁcally proven for its virility properties and shares the hall-of-fame with other Asian aphrodisiacs.
The bio-active ingredient in Tongkat Ali is present in trace quantities in its roots and the effectiveness is therefore in its root extract. Traditionally, the roots are soaked in water overnight and then boiled before being consumed.
Now using modern technology, the bio-active ingredients are extracted using alcohol or water to ensure its potency which is then freeze-dried into powder. The colour of the powder extracted using alcohol is lighter than the one extracted by water due to the typical chemical reaction of heat on water.
Modern science and technology have helped to ensure the potency of the extracts taking into consideration the precision of temperature, processes and overall procedures.
How Is Tongkat Ali Vital To Your Testosterone Health
One look at the word and you would visualize a male with six-pack physique to die for, complete with sex appeal and matching sexual appetite.
With such an image, no one would imagine a mere herb (or so we thought) like Tongkat Ali plays a signiﬁcant role not only in a man’s virility, but total well—being in both a man and woman.
Before understanding exactly how this amazing herb has such a powerful effect on your health, let us first understand the basics about testosterone and its importance to both men and women.
Testosterone in Men
Testosterone is a special kind of hormone (a chemical produced by one part of the body for use elsewhere in the body carried in the blood) called an androgen (“andro” in Greek means “man” and “gen” is derived from the Latin “genitus”) produced by the Leydig cells of male testicles released into the bloodstream and travels all over the body as far as the brain.
The production of testosterone is controlled by luteinizing hormone (LH), which is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. When normally abundant, it is at the core of energy, strength, stamina, and sexuality. When deﬁcient, it is at the core of disease and early demise.
Testosterone is the hormone that makes a man “Man”, like how estrogen defines a woman. Both testosterone and estrogen are present in men and women in differing ratios, the former having testosterone as the majority whereas estrogen exist in majority in women.
Men feel the effects of testosterone through two bodily mechanisms namely by the activation of the androgen receptor (DHT) and the other is by activation of estrogen receptors, which occurs when estradiol is converted.
Before I elaborate further on testosterone, I would like to highlight that when discussing testosterone issues, we are talking about “free” testosterone, the ones that are not bounded to blood proteins which keep them from being transported to different parts of the body.
Sexually, it is responsible for normal erections to take place and the production of mature sperm. A male reaches his peak sexual capacity in his late teens but as he grows older and eventually reaches the big 30, the effects of decreasing testosterone becomes more apparent.
A gradual decrease in sexual responsiveness occurs and when this happens, it will take longer for a male to achieve full erection and maintain it. Orgasms and the feeling of ejaculatory inevitability become less intense.
Semen volume decreases, which means less orgasmic pleasure. The penis turns ﬂaccid faster after sex and it takes longer to regain another erection if at all. One of the factors that contribute to this is also the elevated level of estrogen. It makes for inconsistent and difficulty to attain erections.
Not only that, libido is greatly diminished and sperm count is lowered. This is because the declining testosterone would eventually upset its balance with estrogen, resulting in estrogen being dominant. Increasing estrogen is also caused by the increase of enzyme aromatase, which converts testosterone into estradiol, an estrogen hormone.
For physical health, testosterone maintains muscle mass and strength, bone mass and fat distribution. It inﬂuences new cell creation and reduces body fat in the midsection and breast.
Signs of Testosterone Deﬁciency (including diseases)
In the previous section, you have read how important a role testosterone plays in the body make-up. Maintaining the balance and optimum level of testosterone not only helps the body maintains its reproductive function, but overall health as well.
The organs, systems, hormones and enzymes in our bodies exist in harmony. It is very crucial to keep them in check at all times. Giving the
example of a car, a malfunction in any part of the car would result in the car breaking down and unable to operate. This is similar to the human body. Any imbalance of hormones that occur would alter or disrupt other processes down the chain.