Tongkat Info & FAQ
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, however it is now a protected species in Malaysia due to the locals over harvesting the plant. According to FRIM (Forest Research Institute of Malaysia), it can however still be harvested in the wild without issue, but there are national parks and reserves containing Tongkat Ali in Malaysia to prevent extinction and harvesting from these areas is strictly forbidden. Some Malaysian manufacturers also import the roots from Indonesia.
PowerOfTheHerb.com sells an extract using Indonesian roots, but unlike other sellers we will not lie to you and say it is better than Malaysian extracts, 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. World A.B.S Tongkat Ali is extracted in the EU, not is Asia, to enable better quality control and verification, they do NOT simply relabel cheap imported extracts that could be fake or low quality.
What about plantations?
There are field plantations in Malaysia, 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 but safe ways of growing Tongkat Ali to increase the active ingredients in the plants roots, and even increase the number of shoots from 1, which is what 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 will no longer be needed to obtain the same benefits, which is of course great news for the declining species and for manufacturers!
Do not believe people who say the root must be at least 10 years of age, it probably is not even if it is stated as such, and in this day and age with todays technology and extraction methods the age is not really important unless you are using very old and more traditional methods of extraction.
What does it 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 used as an aphrodisiac.
How many species?
There are a total four species being referred by locals with the name 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.
Eurycoma longifolia Jack, also known as Longjack, yellow/beige in color in it's raw form, 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 and 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 other reported benefits also but EU legislation does not allow these to be mentioned by sellers as they may be percieved as medicinal claims in some countries. Because poweroftheherb holds stock in the EU we cannot list any other benefits, though if you came to this site looking to buy, you have probably already read about them anyway.
What is a standardized extract?
A standardized extract is an extract that was created to contain a specific percentage of a 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 to use for this as it is the most studied and may be the most beneficial for use as an aphrodisiac or body building supplement.
Some manufacturers may also produce an extract using normal methods, and test every batch for the eurycomanone content. If it meets or exceeds the number they require, it can be kept, If not , it cannot be used for that specific product. 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.
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 since there are to many factors involved in the production process that may affect the amount of raw herb used, and to many different extraction methods.
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 aswell as Eurycomanone.
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. A 25% extract is normaly only available from an R&D laboratory and costs close to 10,000 dollars per kilo or more.
For more info about plant extracts and how they are made etc, there is plenty of information on the website at www.ahpa.org about all sorts of things herbal, and an article explaining about extracts in more details can be found HERE.
The only real downside to standardization is that to increase the percentage of one constituent others may need to be removed, and 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, and has been shown in studies to be responsible for the effects most people by Tongkat ali for, it is felt that the benefits outweigh this minor downside and with Tonkat Ali it is not really a problem anyway as long as you do not take the percentage to high.
A good quality extract produced properly should contain 2% plus eurycomaone anyway, but unfortunatley often it will contain little to no eurycomaonone as shown in the study by the journal of independant sciences elsewere on this site, making standardization the one and only surefire way to avoid selling herbs of low or inconsistent quality, or worse, fake herbs.
The link below has lots of info on Eurycomanone.
PROOF many extracts are fake.
Eurycomanone is the most studied of Tongkat Ali components and probably the most responsible for it's aphrodisiac and possible test boosting properties. It is not the only component responsible for this, but is probably the main one since when studied alone it still had these benefits.
A recent independent non biased study tested 41 products being sold 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.
Out of these 41 products,17 of them contained no eurycomanone at all, 12 of these products were purchased from Amazon and some were from know brands that were registered with the Malaysian health department and FDA, proving that this means nothing.
From the 24 products that did contain eurycomanone, 10 contained less than the legal 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 companies extract is not standardized to 8% so it may have been a fluke and is not guaranteed in future batches. They also only sell 100mg of Tongkat Ali per capsule, the other 250mg is a filler that will do nothing for you, so it is not actually a very good purchase. If it was, I would be selling it!
You can read the study yourself at... http://scialert.net/qredirect.php?doi=jas.2015.999.1005&linkid=pdf
What are the active constituents found in Tongkat Ali?
Below is an image showing the many active constituents. Hold control and move your mouse wheel up to zoom in on images if using a Windows PC.
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 pro hormones, 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.
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 in to an extract powder may vary.
Basically 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 in to 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 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 Germany to ensure better quality control and to offer a standardized product to ensure quality is always consistent. Obviously the suppliers name cannot be revealed to help prevent competitors from finding them. Very few supplement companies 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.
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