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Eurycoma longifolia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Sapindales
Family: Simaroubaceae
Genus: Eurycoma
Species: E. longifolia
Binomial name
Eurycoma longifolia

Eurycoma longifolia (a.k.a. tongkat ali or pasak bumi) is a flowering plant in the family Simaroubaceae, native to Indonesia and Malaysia.


Eurycoma longifolia is a small everred treelet growing to 15 m (49 ft) tall, with spirally arranged, pinnate leaves 20-40 cm (8-16 inches) long with 13-41 leaflets. The flowers are dioecious, with male and female flowers on different trees; they are produced in large panicles, each flower with 5-6 very small petals. The fruit is green ripening dark red, 1-2 cm long and 0.5-1 cm broad.


Eurycoma longifolia has become popular for its alleged testosterone-enhancing properties[2]. It has therefore been included in some herbal supplements for bodybuilders. Historically, South East Asia has utilised the herb for its suggested antimalarial[3], antibacterial activity[4], antipyretic, antiulcer, antitumor[5], cytotoxic and aphrodisiac properties. In an experiment conducted on male rats, it was found that eurycoma longifolia increases the sperm count and plasma testosterone of the rats.[6]

Some scientific studies suggest that it enhances sexual characteristics and performance in animals.[7][8][9] However, most of these studies were conducted by the same researchers, so more research is needed.

In other studies, fractions of Eurycoma longifolia extract have been shown to induce apoptosis in breast-cancer cells[10] and to be cytotoxic to lung-cancer cells.[11]

A 2003 study by researchers in the Department of Exercise Physiology at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, the abstract of which was presented in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in a section listing research to be presented at an upcoming conference, reported results that Eurycoma longifolia caused increased muscle strength and size when compared to a placebo.[12]

Other laboratory animal tests have produced positive indications, with one extract having been observed to increase sexual activity in mature rats, including arousal, sniffing and mounting behavior. These tests were performed on a specifically isolated bioactive fraction extract, which has since been co-patented by the Government of Malaysia and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). U.S. patent #7,132,117 was granted December 12, 2003.[13]

Tongkat ali is sold in various extract ratios, with 1:20, 1:50, 1:100, and 1:200 being commonly claimed. Traditionally Tongkat Ali is extracted with water and not ethanol. However, the use of selling Tongkat Ali extract based on extraction ratio may be confusing and is not easily verifiable. Thus professional manufacturers are now standardizing their extract based on the active ingredient level, not the non-verifiable ratio method that is open to abuse. The commonly used standard/marker is the Glycosaponin content (35-45% glycosaponin in a pure extract) and eurycomanone (>2%).


  1. ^ "Eurycoma longifolia information from NPGS/GRIN". Retrieved 2008-03-14. 
  2. ^ Chan, Kit-Lam; Low, Bin-Seng; Teh, Chin-Hoe; Das, Prashanta K, "The effect of Eurycoma longifolia on sperm quality of male rats," Nat Prod Commun, 2009 Oct, 4(10):1331-6
  3. ^ Mohd Ridzuan, M A R; Sow, A; Noor Rain, A; Mohd Ilham, A; Zakiah, I, "Eurycoma longifolia extract-artemisinin combination: parasitemia suppression of Plasmodium yoelii-infected mice," Tropical biomedicine, 2007 Jun, 24(1):111-8
  4. ^ Farouk, Abd-Elaziem; Benafri, Asma, "Antibacterial activity of Eurycoma longifolia Jack. A Malaysian medicinal plant," Saudi medical journal, 2007 Sep, 28(9):1422-4
  5. ^ Li, Yan; Liang, Fengshan; Jiang, Wei; Yu, Fusheng; Cao, Rihui; Ma, Qinghe; Dai, Xiuyong; Jiang, Jiandong; Wang, Yanchang; Si, Shuyi, "DH334, a beta-carboline anti-cancer drug, inhibits the CDK activity of budding yeast," Cancer biology & therapy, 2007 Aug, 6(8):1193-9. Epub: 2007 May 04
  6. ^ Chan, Kit-Lam; Low, Bin-Seng; Teh, Chin-Hoe; Das, Prashanta K, "The effect of Eurycoma longifolia on sperm quality of male rats," Nat Prod Commun, 2009 Oct, 4(10):1331-6
  7. ^ Ang HH, Ngai TH, Tan TH (2003). "Effects of Eurycoma longifolia Jack on sexual qualities in middle aged male rats". Phytomedicine 10 (6-7): 590–3. doi:10.1078/094471103322331881. PMID 13678248. 
  8. ^ Ang HH, Cheang HS, Yusof AP. (2000). "Effects of Eurycoma longifolia Jack (Tongkat Ali) on the initiation of sexual performance of inexperienced castrated male rats". Exp Anim 49 (1): 35–8. doi:10.1538/expanim.49.35. PMID 10803359. 
  9. ^ Ang HH, Lee KL, Kiyoshi M (2004). "Sexual arousal in sexually sluggish old male rats after oral administration of Eurycoma longifolia Jack". J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol 15 (3-4): 303–9. PMID 15803965. 
  10. ^ Tee TT, & Azimahtol HL. (2005). "Induction of apoptosis by Eurycoma longifolia jack extracts". Anticancer Res 25 (3B): 2205–13. PMID 16158965. 
  11. ^ Kuo PC, Shi LS, Damu AG, Su CR, Huang CH, Ke CH, Wu JB, Lin AJ, Bastow KF, Lee KH, Wu TS. (2003). "Cytotoxic and antimalarial beta-carboline alkaloids from the roots of Eurycoma longifolia". J Nat Prod 66 (10): 1324–7. doi:10.1021/np030277n. PMID 14575431. 
  12. ^ Hamzah S, Yusof A (October 2003). "The Ergogenic Effects of Eurycoma Longifolia Jack: A Pilot Study". Br. J. Sports Med. 37: 464–70. doi:10.1136/bjsm.37.5.464.  - Abstract of study listed as item 007
  13. ^ U.S. Patent 7,132,117

In the study "Influence of Eurycoma longifolia on the copulatory activity of sexually sluggish and impotent male rats" ( Italian researchers evaluated the influence of Eurycoma longifolia Jack on sexual behavior (including both motivation and copulatory performance) of sexually sluggish and impotent male rats. They concluded that Eurycoma longifolia root improved sexual performance but not motivation in sluggish rats after acute or subacute administration. The effect could be mainly ascribed to increased testosterone levels.

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