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Better avoid the toxins of standardized Tongkat Ali extracts

By Serge Kreutz, 2021

There are about 50 unique phytochemical compounds in the roots of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia). One is Eurycomanone. Its percentage is typically less than 1. But to gain a marketing edge, some Tongkat Ali products are claimed to be standardized for Eurycomanone, up to 8 %. How would that be achieved? Only by adding the chemical Eurycomanone to a mixture of plant material.

Eurycomanone can be purchased from chemicals warehouses. Nowadays, these are all in China. Eurycomanone is produced by subjecting Tongkat Ali root powder to a wide range of solvents like acetic acid to convert alkaloids into salts.

Next step: a defatting solvent like methylene chloride, ether, chloroform, dichloromethane, or naphtha. Then comes a base chemical like sodium hydroxide (lye), potassium hydroxide, ammonium hydroxide, or ethyl acetate to bring the pH to 9 or 10, which transforms alkaloid salts into free bases. If such a week-long isolation procedure is applied to Eurycoma longifolia, one gets Eurycomanone at a purity of maybe 95 % ... and the remaining 5 % are solvent residues of uncertain composition, but certainly toxic.

There is no way by which a standardized herbal extract could be produced without the use of chemical solvents. Solvents cannot be fully removed from the standardized herbal extracts. Here a quote from the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and the National Formulary (NF): "For pharmacopeial purposes, residual solvents in pharmaceuticals are defined as organic volatile chemicals that are used or produced in the manufacture of drug substances or excipients, or in the preparation of drug products. The residual solvents are not completely removed by practical manufacturing techniques.

The American Botanical Council acknowledged the problem: "Organic solvents such as methanol, ethanol, ethyl acetate, and acetone are employed during the extraction and downstream processing of medicinal herbs to manufacture standardized herbal extracts (SHEs)... It is almost impossible to remove the residual solvents completely from liquid and dried herbal extracts..."

Here Wikipedia on a common detrimental effect on human health, caused by solvent residues, Chronic solvent-induced encephalopathy: "Chronic solvent-induced encephalopathy (CSE) is a condition induced by long-term exposure to organic solvents, often but not always in the workplace, that lead to a wide variety of persisting sensorimotor polyneuropathies and neurobehavioral deficits even after solvent exposure has been removed."

Mind you: all standardized Tongkat Ali extracts come from China. The technology is not used by herbals manufacturers in Indonesia. And we all know that China aims to be competitive by all means. Thus, they cut costs by employing the cheapest solvents, and by cutting corners on quality. Typically, in China, the use of their products in humans is prohibited.

But Chinese chemicals warehouses are permitted to export these items, and what online supplement traders do with them in Singapore or London is not covered by Chinese law, so the chemicals warehouses are safe. Consumers are not.

Our Tongkat Ali extract is NOT standardized. We only use water as extraction medium, and do not add Eurycomanone that can be manufactured only by subjecting Tongkat Ali root powder to toxic solvents. And why, in the first place, should we mess with the composition of Tongkat Ali? The magic is in the full spectrum.

All scientific studies on Tongkat Ali in humans were done with whole extracts like ours, not with fractionalized ones.

Eurycomanone, the chemical, was primarily investigated in lab tissue cultures, where it induced cell death. There is not a single study on the use of Eurycomanone in live humans. Don't be a guinea pig.

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