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Botanical Name: Eurycoma longifolia
Other Common Names for Tongkat Ali:Longjack and Pasak Bumi
Habitat:Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand.
Description: Tongkat Ali (meaning Ali?s walking stick) gets its name from the long twisted roots that are harvested for their medicinal value. The plant itself is a slow growing tree, taking up to twenty five years to mature. It has a slim trunk and grows up to ten meters in height under the rainforest canopy. However, preparations are being made from much younger plants as it becomes more difficult to obtain older plants. Tongkat Ali is wild crafted with most supplies being taken from Indonesian forests. This herb is difficult to grow, preferring a sandy, well drained soil and partial shade with regular doses of water.
Plant Parts Used: Root, dried and ground into a powder or a liquid that resembles coffee.
Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) Therapeutic Uses, Benefits and Claims
Essentially, tongkat ali increases testosterone in the blood. This herb is traditionally prescribed in Malaysia as an aphrodisiac and as a treatment for sexual dysfunction; however it is gaining interest in body building community because increased testosterone levels in the body increase muscle mass and strength.
Eurycoma longifolia also increases energy production in the body by increasing ATP (Adenosine triphosphate), an energy rich chemical that is responsible for nearly all the energy production in the body. At times of endurance exercise we can use up our ATP faster than we can replace it and we become fatigued. Taking tongkat ali carries a warning of insomnia and restlessness if the dose is too high.
As a sexual enhancer, tongkat ali seems to not only assist in maintaining erections but is also considered a good herb for libido enhancement, or sexual desire. Primarily the way that tongkat ali achieves its action is by increasing testosterone levels in the blood.
Studies into the therapeutic use of this herb at this time have mainly been restricted to animal models where the aphrodisiac properties of Tongkat Ali have been positive. One study using human subjects in 2005 found that Tongkat Ali increased HDLs (High Density Lipoproteins), which are necessary for healthy arteries. Basically, HDLs can help stop the build up of plaque in our arterial walls and lower our risk of heart attack. This same study reports that there was an increase in HGH (Human Growth Hormone) when taking this herb, which may account for Tongkat Ali?s reputation as an anti-aging supplement. HGH lowers as we age; a person at sixty has about twenty percent of the HGH of a twenty year old.
Potential Side Effects of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia)
This herb increases testosterone levels. Women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding should not use Tongkat Ali, and men with prostate or breast cancer, diabetes, heart, liver or kidney disease should not take this herb. It is to be avoided if there is sleep disturbances, or sleep apnoea. A 2004 Study found into Tongkat Ali made the observation that elevated testosterone could cause the immune system to become suppressed.
The dosage for Tongkat Ali varies, the powder it can be dissolved into a tea, which is extremely bitter; the dried chips are commonly boiled in water and drunk, the standard dose is considered to be a maximum of on 50gram chip per day. Capsules containing 400mg of Tongkat Ali can be taken in the morning every one to three days. Users should monitor themselves for irritability and insomnia and reduce their dose if these side effects occur.
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