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Tongkat Ali root, leaves, and bark extracts

For available Tongkat Ali extracts, and their prices, please see:


Orders can be placed by writing to the email address below - in any language.

The efficacy (effectiveness of a pharmaceutical product) of tongkat ali has been established in numerous scientific studies. You may want to verify this through a search on the online version of the National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health of the United States Government.

The website is: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

Try a search for: tongkat ali, or for Eurycoma longifolia (the scientific name of tongkat ali). You will gain access to the summaries or full texts of more than 200 scientific studies, most of which deal with the testosterone-enhancing properties of extracts of the plant.

Like any other plant, Eurycoma longifolia contains many dozens of unique chemical compounds. Plants produce these compounds not with the intention to provide humans with natural medicines to treat diseases, but as chemical defenses against herbivores, insects, and microbes. That some compounds can be used by humans with positive outcomes, is purely accidental.

Phytochemicals (plant chemicals) are loosely classified under some of the following categories: alkaloids (nitrogen-containing molecules; morphine, nicotine, caffeine, cocaine are all alkaloids), flavonoids (often acting as pigments), phenols (often produced by plants as their own insecticides; tetrahydrocannabinol is a phenolic terpenoid), saponins (soapy fluids, deliberately lowering the palatability for herbivores), tannins (astringents affecting animal tissue, a useful side effect of this phytochemical defense is its application in tanneries, working on leather).

"37 compounds mainly including triterpenoids with the quassinoid skeleton and ß-carboline alkaloids have been isolated from the roots of Eurycoma longifolia Jack (EL), which has been used as traditional medicine." [Chemical constituents...]

"Four new phenolic acids, eurylophenolosides A (1) and B (2), eurylolignanosides A (3) and B (4), along with twelve known isolates were obtained from ... E. longifolia roots by a combination of various chromatographic methods and spectral techniques." [Bioactive Constituents from the Roots of Eurycoma longifolia]

Apart from structural plant tissue such as fiber, or storage compounds such as carbs, phytochemical are almost always species-specific. This means that for the roughly 420,000 plant species (of which some 370,000 are flowering plants), the chemical composition of each species is unique.

Within one plant, these phytochemicals are unevenly distributed. Tetrahydro-canabinol, for example, occurs in buds (highest percentage), but also in leaves (sold in India as bang), and even in stems and roots (though percentages are miniscule).

In the case of opium, the analgetic morphine is concentrated in the sap that bleeds out of wounds that have been mechanically inflicted. However, morphine, in small amounts, is also contained in the seeds that are consumed as part of the human diet in some European cuisines.

While the concentration is too small to have psychoactive effects, poppy seed consumption can cause positive drug tests and can land you in jail in countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE.

In the case of coca and green tea, the highest concentration of the active ingredients is in the leaves. In the case of yohimbe and cinnamon, the barks have most of the sought-after compounds.

Plant roots play an important role in human nutrition. But this applies almost exclusively to roots used by plants as storage vesicles. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, beet roots, and carrots are all examples of tuberous roots, consumed by humans for their starches.

Some tuberous roots also have medicinal value, and are applied as herbal sexual enhancements. A classical example is butea superba, the rare forest vine, used by Thai men to boost testosterone and libido. Demand for butea superba is what prompted our Indonesian company, Sumatra Pasak Bumi, to expand to Thailand.

The roots of tongkat ali trees do not serve any storage function worth mentioning. These roots are structural: They nail a slim tree that grows to more than 15 meters height firmly into the ground. The photo on the left, taken during one of our expeditions into the mountain rainforests of Sumatra, shows tongkat ali trees aged 30 and more years. Photos of tongkat ali trees included on other websites have been shot in botanical gardens and show treelets that are maybe 5 years old, or less.

Traditional knowledge on tongkat ali advises that only old trees are rich in active ingredients... the older the better. As one can see on the photo above, the tree could easily be mistaken for a palm. The diameter of tongkat ali roots is usually greater than the diameter of the slender tree trunks. Root diameters of old trees can easily reach 40 centimeters.

As a rule of thumb, active or sought-after chemicals that are found in structural roots are found throughout a plant, and definitely in higher concentrations in leaves, flowers, fruits, and barks. This also applies to tongkat ali trees.

The conventional wisdom that the active ingredients of tongkat ali root should be present in higher concentrations in other parts of the plants, especially the leaves, has been confirmed in a very thorough 2017 study, conducted by N. Zakaria et al. The study was published in the Journal of Fundamental and Applied Sciences. A full PDF file of the study can be viewed at: Leaf and stem extracts from Eurycoma longifolia jack

In a study for University of Technology, Malaysia, Samsiah Jusoh et al analyzed the content of Eurycoma longofolia's most prominent quassinoid, eurycomanone, in various parts of the plant: "The highest concentrations of eurycomanone ... were 6.0568 (leaves), 0.1415 (twigs), 0.0365 (top of stems), 0.0633 (middle of stems), 0.0673 (bottom of stems), 0.3533 (roots) and 5.1137 mcg/mL (root barks)." [Source: Eurycoma longifolia]

Please note that the concentration of eurycomanone in leaves is almost 20 times higher than in roots. Root bark has a high concentration, too, but root bark is difficult to process because it is often infested with fungi, and does not preserve well on the way from a forest to a processing facility, hundreds of kilometers away.

In a review of tongkat ali's ethnobotany and pharmacological importance, Bhat and Karim (2010) stated: " The plant parts [not just the roots] have been traditionally used for its antimalarial, aphrodisiac, anti-diabetic, antimicrobial and anti-pyretic activities..." [Source: Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia Jack): a review on its ethnobotany and pharmacological importance]

If ethnobotanical resources attest to the use of tongkat ali leaves, as well as root, and if scientific sources proove that active ingredients, especially alkaloids, are present in higher percentages in leaves than in roots, why, then, are tongkat ali leaf extracts so hard to find on the Internet.

This actually doesn't have to do with ethnobotany but more with economics. We at Tongkatali.org / Sumatra Pasak Bumi, are the only company in the tongkat ali trade with access to the material we are selling. Because collecting tongkat ali trees, roots, bark, and leaves in the rainforests is an endeavor that requires several days, we use our own expedition bus to go as far as possible by road, and then usually have collectors stay overnight in or around the bus, where they also prepare their meals.

Back near Medan, the largest city on Sumatra island, our roots are stored in warehouses before they are being processed into extracts. In order to be economical, our warehouses are in the rural surrounding of Medan, where land prices are affordable. The rural setting on the outskirts of Medan also allow a higher degree of social distancing to protect, to a certain degree, against the spread of Covid-19.

Already more than a decade ago, we published an extensive botanical documentation on the plant. See the photographic evidence below. More than 95 percent of the online tongkat ali traders, especially on Amazon, have never seen a tongkat ali tree, and haven't ever touched a tongkat ali root. They buy some capsules and powders of which they are told that it is tongkat ali, mostly from China, which has the cheapest prices for about everything, and then they resell retail as 1:200 with a mark-up.

Their warez are not 1:200, and usually not even tongkat ali at all.

There is no tongkat ali in China. And sending tongkat ali to China, even just retail, is very difficult. Chinese customs aren't like North American customs. Packages of any kind are actually inspected. Orders, for example for 10 bottles, we have to ship as 5 times 2 bottles, or sometimes even 10 times 1 bottle, as anything larger would be suspected to be a trade item, and that would need extensive documentation (as a matter of red tape to keep foreign products out).

And that was before Covid. Since 2020, sending anything to China has become messy.

Shipping out of Indonesia has also become much more difficult. The Indonesian postal services, Pos Indonesia, no longer ship packages to most parts of the world, and for merchandise depend on a hook-up with DHL. Furthermore, Indonesia now prohibits the export of unprocessed forestry products (of which tongkat ali is one). Thus, even for a bulk order of 1000 kg, we have to package in bottles of 100 grams so that, technically, this is a processed retail product.

You are probably not interested in these finer points of the tongkat ali commerce. But they are cited as a element of authenticity. We know what we are trading.

But even 20 years ago, when tongkat ali could still be exported from Indonesia by the container load, leaves had a hard time to make it to the market. Getting to the source of tongkat ali trees requires a walk in the jungle, previously one day, now several days. The haul has to be carried on a man's shoulders in difficult terrain.

A man can carry a 20 kilo chunk of root, and when the root is dried it's still same 10 kg... a worthwhile income for a tribal collector who would otherwise be jobless. But leaves? A gunny of leaves, when dried, may yield only a kilo of powder, for which the collector would get paid at the same rate as for root. It's not (!) that leaves would be lower quality from the perspective of herbalism; but they are lower value for a Batak collector who ventures into the jungle to make a living, in spite of tigers roaming the area, and they do attack humans.

The range of tongkat ali extracts sold by Tongkatali.org has evolved over the past 25 years, mostly driven by new research. As of end of 2021, we still sell the manually-extracted 1:200 root extract (brown labels) that we have selling - unchanged - since 1998. We also sell a 1:200 extract, produced with modern equipment (beige labels). We also sell a full-spectrum 1:200 extract (maroon labels) that uses roots, stems, leaves, and bark. And we sell an enhanced 1:200 extract (olive labels), which uses root and leaves, resulting in higher contents of alkaloids and eurycomanone.

The products extracted with modern machinery use vacuum chambers, and only water is used in the extraction process. Under low pressure, a boiling point is reached at a substantially lower temperature.

Thus, modern extraction machinery uses less energy and is more economical, and constant attention to the process is not needed. This method of drying liquids in vacuum chambers was invented by Henri Nestlé (a German pharmacist who migrated to Switzerland), not so much for making plant extracts but for the manufacture of milk powder.

On the other hand, some users who have been using our extracts for more than a decade swear by the old manual extraction process. The old manual extraction process uses more heat, and it requires then constant attention of a technician for three days. Manually extracted products are therefore more expensive than their machine-extracted counterparts. Because more heat is used in the manual extraction process, the resulting extracts are darker.

While our decision to maintain the labor-intensive manual extraction process was triggered simply by customer request, we have recently come across a scientific source that indicates that the alkaloid fraction of active ingredients indeed requires a temperature of 100 degree Celsius to be dissolved: "... the concentration of alkaloids was increased when the roots of E. longifolia were extracted at 100°C." [Source: Leaf and stem extracts from Eurycoma longifolia jack ]

The US is the only country outside Southeast Asia where tongkat ali can be freely traded. One kind of restrictions, or another, apply to the rest of the world. In Western Europe and Canada, the plant's proven testosterone-enhancing capabilities put it, wrongly, on par with steroids. This classification is wrong because tongkat ali is not an exogenous anabolic steroid. It does the opposite from steroids, but has a similar effect: steroids shut down the body's own testosterone synthesis, with all kinds of iff effects; tongkat ali stimulates the body to increase its own testosterone synthesis capacities by acting on the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis.

Tried it, without convincing results? 90 percent of all tongkat ali on the market, and 95 percent on Amazon, is fake anyway. And if a tongkat ali root extract didn't do it, then you may want to try an extract is higher on tongkat ali alkaloids by extracting the leaves as well as the roots.

Tongkat Ali Documentation


Active Plant Ingredients Used for Medicinal Purposes, US Forest Service, https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/ethnobotany/medicinal/ingredients.shtml

Bhat, R; Karim, AA (2010) Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia Jack): a review on its ethnobotany and pharmacological importance, Fitoterapia, Volume 81(7), Pages 669-79, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fitote.2010.04.006

Brinckmann, J; Brendler, T, Tongkat Ali Eurycoma longifolia Family: Simaroubaceae, American Botanical Council, Issue: 122, Page: 6-16, https://www.herbalgram.org/resources/herbalgram/issues/122/table-of-contents/hg122-herbpro-tongatali/

Chua, L S; Segaran, S; Wong, HJ (2021) LC-PDA-MS/MS-Based Characterization of Key Phytochemicals in Eurycoma Longifolia Roots Journal Chromatographical Science, Volume 21;59(7) Paes 659-669, https://doi.org/10.1093/chromsci/bmab041

Jusoh, S; Ghani, RA; Kadir, WRWA; Ishak, MF (2015), Phytochemical Assessment of Multi-locational Tongkat Ali(Eurycoma longifolia) In Peninsular Malaysia, Propelling Science and Technology Through Natural Products Vol. 2, Vol. 77, No. 3 https://doi.org/10.11113/jt.v77.6011

Ruan, J; Li, Z; Zhang, Y; Chen, Y; Liu, M; Han, L; Zhang, Y; Wang, T (2019), Bioactive Constituents from the Roots of Eurycoma longifolia, Molecules, Volume 24(17) Page 3157, https://dx.doi.org/10.3390%2Fmolecules24173157

Zakaria, N; Mohd, K.S.; Hamil, M.S.R.; Memon, A.H.; Asmawi, M.Z.; Ismail, Z (2017) Characterization of primary and secondary metabolites of leaf and stem extracts from Eurycoma longifolia jack, Journal of Fundamental and Applied Sciences, Vol. 9, No. 2S, https://doi.org/10.4314/jfas.v9i2s.41

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