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Eurycoma Longifolia: Description, Uses, and Clinical Proof of the Plant’s Effectiveness

Description: Eurycoma longifolia (or longjack) is a small tree found in the jungles throughout Malaysia and Southeast Asia. Eurycoma longifolia is commonly known as Tongkat Ali in Malaysia and Singapore, Piak or Tung Saw in Thailand, and Pasak Bumi in Indonesia. The eurycoma longifolia tree can grow up to about 12 meters in height [1]. Natives consider every part of the eurycoma longifolia tree as medicine.

Uses for Eurycoma Longifolia

Eurycoma longifolia is known for its overall physical sensual vitality properties and is primarily used as a sex tonic and aphrodisiac for men, as well as an energy booster and fatigue reducer. Besides its aphrodisiacal applications, eurycoma longifolia’s traditional uses include the treatment of malaria, aches, persistent fever, dysentery, glandular swelling, bleeding (as a coagulant), edema, hypertension, syphilitic sores, and ulcers [4].

Eurycoma longifolia increases virility and sexual prowess and is claimed to improve strength and power during sexual activities [2, 5]. Many animal studies, both in rats and mice, have found administration of longjack extracts to increase sexual arousal and motivation and frequency of sexual activity [2, 5-6]. These effects of eurycoma longifolia are similar to those caused by administration of testosterone, although the effect of eurycoma longifolia is not as strong [5]. Although there are no studies (yet) focusing on the direct effects of eurycoma longifolia in humans published in peer-reviewed journals, there are many anecdotal reports that would indicate the aphrodisiac qualities of eurycoma longifolia are retained in humans.

Additional Properties of Eurycoma Longifolia

A related property that eurycoma longifolia is reputed to have is a testosterone-increasing effect [2]. Eurycoma longifolia does have androgenic effects in male rats, either directly or indirectly, such as increasing the weight of sexual accessories [5, 7]. In vitro, ethanolic extracts of eurycoma longifolia increase hCG-induced production of testosterone by rat leydig cells [3]. There are many anecdotal reports on the internet where people indicate that they had testosterone levels tested before and during eurycoma longifolia supplementation, and it caused an increase.

Many other possible benefits have been identified in experimental studies. An animal study found that eurycoma longifolia had anxiety-reducing effects in the open field, elevated plus-maze, and antifighting tests [8]. It also has antimalarial activity in vitro, an effect which is due to multiple constituents of the eurycoma longifolia plant, and which multiple studies have replicated [3]. In an animal study, eurycoma longifolia had the ability to improve survival in infected animals. It was commented that the history of human use of eurycoma longifolia as an antimalarial agent may be explained by differences between rodents and humans which causes the toxic effect to be reduced in the second group, but studies are needed to confirm this [9]. Eurycoma longifolia also has an anticancer effect against multiple cancer cell lines and is effective against multiple parasies in vitro [2, 10].

References:

  1. J Nat Prod. 2003 Oct;66(10):1324-7. Cytotoxic and antimalarial beta-carboline alkaloids from the roots of Eurycoma longifolia. Kuo PC, Shi LS, Damu AG, Su CR, Huang CH, Ke CH, Wu JB, Lin AJ, Bastow KF, Lee KH, Wu TS.
  2. Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2002 Dec;16(6):479-83. Effect of eurycoma longifolia Jack on orientation activities in middle-aged male rats. Ang HH, Lee KL.
  3. Bioorg Med Chem. 2004 Feb 1;12(3):537-44. Cytotoxic and antimalarial constituents from the roots of Eurycoma longifolia. Kuo PC, Damu AG, Lee KH, Wu TS.
  4. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2003 Nov;51(11):1301-3. Eurycomaoside: a new quassinoid-type glycoside from the roots of Eurycoma longifolia. Bedir E, Abou-Gazar H, Ngwendson JN, Khan IA.
  5. Exp Anim. 2000 Jan;49(1):35-8. Effects of eurycoma longifolia Jack (Tongkat Ali) on the initiation of sexual performance of inexperienced castrated male rats. Ang HH, Cheang HS, Yusof AP.
  6. J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2003;14(3):301-8. Eurycoma longifolia Jack enhances sexual motivation in middle-aged male mice. Ang HH, Lee KL, Kiyoshi M.
  7. Arch Pharm Res. 2001 Oct;24(5):437-40. Effects of eurycoma longifolia jack on laevator ani muscle in both uncastrated and testosterone-stimulated castrated intact male rats. Ang HH, Cheang HS.
  8. Jpn J Pharmacol. 1999 Apr;79(4):497-500. Studies on the anxiolytic activity of eurycoma longifolia Jack roots in mice. Ang HH, Cheang HS.
  9. Thai J Phytopharmacy. 1998 Dec; 5(2):14-27. Toxicological and antimalarial activity of eurycomalactone and eurycoma longifolia Jack extracts in mice. Satayavivad J, Soonthornchareonnon N, Somanabandhu A, Thebtaranonth Y.
  10. J Ethnopharmacol. 2002 Sep;82(1):55-8. In vitro anti-tumor promoting and anti-parasitic activities of the quassinoids from Eurycoma longifolia, a medicinal plant in Southeast Asia. Jiwajinda S, Santisopasri V, Murakami A, Sugiyama H, Gasquet M, Riad E, Balansard G, Ohigashi H.