Effect of Tongkat Ali On Stress Hormones And Psychological Mood State In Moderately Stressed Subjects

Study Design

Randomized Controlled Trial

Author Information Talbott, Shawn; Talbot, Julie; Goerge, Annie; Pugh Mike. Journal Of The International Society Of Sports Nutrition


Eurycoma longifolia is a medicinal plant commonly called tongkat ali (TA) and “Malaysian ginseng.” TA roots are a traditional “anti-aging” remedy and modern supplements are intended to improve libido, energy, sports performance and weight loss. Previous studies have shown properly-standardized TA to stimulate release of free testosterone, improve sex drive, reduce fatigue, and improve well-being. 


We assessed stress hormones and mood state in 63 subjects (32 men and 31 women) screened for moderate stress and supplemented with a standardized hot-water extract of TA root (TA) or Placebo (PL) for 4 weeks. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) with significance set at p < 0.05 was used to determine differences between groups.


Significant improvements were found in the TA group for Tension (−11%), Anger (−12%), and Confusion (−15%). Stress hormone profile (salivary cortisol and testosterone) was significantly improved by TA supplementation, with reduced cortisol exposure (−16%) and increased testosterone status (+37%).


These results indicate that daily supplementation with tongkat ali root extract improves stress hormone profile and certain mood state parameters, suggesting that this “ancient” remedy may be an effective approach to shielding the body from the detrimental effects of “modern” chronic stress, which may include general day-to-day stress, as well as the stress of dieting, sleep deprivation, and exercise training.
Health Benefits Of Tongkat Ali


  1. Bhat R, Karim AA. Tongkat ali (Eurycoma longifolia Jack): a review on its ethnobotany and pharmacological importance. Fitoterapia. 2010;10:1–11. [PubMed]
  2. Ali JM. Biochemical effect of Eurycoma longifolia jack on the sexual behavior, fertility, sex hormone, and glycolysis. Department of Biochemistry, University of Malaysia: PhD Dissertation; 1993.
  3. Adimoelja A. Phytochemicals and the breakthrough of traditional herbs in the management of sexual dysfunctions. Int J Androl. 2000;23(Suppl 2):82–4. [PubMed]
  4. Cyranoski D. Malaysian researchers bet big on home-grown Viagra. Nat Med. 2005;11(9):912.[PubMed]
  5. Joseph S, Sugumaran M, Kate L, Lee W. Herbs of Malaysia. An introduction to the medicinal, culinary, aromatic and cosmetic use of herbs. Sdn Berhad: Federal Publications; 2005.
  6. Wan Hassan WE. Healing Herbs of Malaysia. Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA); 2007.
  7. Zhari I, Norhayati I, Jaafar L. Malaysian herbal monograph. Malaysian Monograph Committee 1999. 1999;1:67–70.
  8. Araujo AB, Wittert GA. Endocrinology of the aging male. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011;25(2):303–19. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2010.11.004. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
  9. Traish AM, Miner MM, Morgentaler A, Zitzmann M. Testosterone deficiency. Am J Med. 2011;124(7):578–87. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2010.12.027. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
  10. Henning PC, Park BS, Kim JS. Physiological decrements during sustained military operational stress. Mil Med. 2011;176(9):991–7. [PubMed]
  11. Gatti R, De Palo EF. An update: salivary hormones and physical exercise. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2011;21(2):157–69. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01252.x. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
  12. Miller KK. Androgen deficiency: effects on body composition. Pituitary. 2009;12(2):116–24. doi: 10.1007/s11102-008-0121-7. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
  13. Grossmann M. Low testosterone in men with type 2 diabetes: significance and treatment. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011;96(8):2341–53. doi: 10.1210/jc.2011-0118. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
  14. Asiah O, Nurhanan MY, Ilham MA. Determination of bioactive peptide (4.3kDa) as an aphrodisiac marker in six Malaysia plants. Journal of Tropical Forest Science. 2007;19(1):61–63.
  15. Zanoli P, Zavatti M, Montanari C, Baraldi M. Influence of Eurycoma longifolia on the copulatory activity of sexually sluggish and impotent male rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009;126:308–313. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2009.08.021. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
  16. Ang HH, Ikeda S, Gan EK. Evaluation of the potency activity of aphrodisiac in Eurycoma longifolia Jack. Phytother Res. 2001;15(5):435–6. doi: 10.1002/ptr.968. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
  17. Chaing HS, Merino-Chavez G, Yang LL, Wang FN, Hafez ES. Medicinal plants: conception/contraception. Adv Contracept Deliv Syst. 1994;10(3–4):355–63. [PubMed]
  18. Tambi MI. Proceedings of the SupplySide West International Trade Show and Conference. Virgo Publishing; 2003. Water soluble extract of Eurycoma longifolia in enhancing testosterone in males. Oct 1–3.
  19. Talbott S, Talbott J, Christopulos AM, Ekberg C, Larsen W, Jackson V. Ancient wisdom meets modern ailment – traditional Asian medicine improves psychological vigor in stressed subjects. Progress in Nutrition. 2010;12(1):3–8.
  20. Tambi MI. Eurycoma longifolia jack: a potent adaptogen in the form of water-soluble extract with the effects of maintaining men’s health. Asian J Androl. 2006;8(Suppl 1):49–50.
  21. Talbott S, Christopulos AM, Richards E. A Lifestyle Approach to Controlling Holiday Stress and Weight Gain [abstract] Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006;38(5):311–312.
  22. Azmi MMI, Fauzi A, Norini H. Economic analysis of E. longifolia (Tongkat Ali) harvesting. in Penisular Malaysia: New Dimensions in Complementary Health Care; 2004. pp. 91–99.
  23. Satayavivad J, Soonthornchareonnon N, Somanabandhu A, Thebtaranonth Y. Toxicological and antimalarial activity of eurycomalactone and Eurycoma lingifolia Jack extracts in mice. Thai Journal of Phytopharmacy. 1998;5(2):14–27.
  24. Chan KL, Choo CY. The toxicity of some quassinoids from Eurycoma longifolia. Planta Med. 2002;68(7):662–4. doi: 10.1055/s-2002-32907. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
  25. Le-Van-Thoi N-N-S. Constituents of Eurycoma longifolia Jack. J Org Chem. 1970;35(4):1104–9. doi: 10.1021/jo00829a053. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
  26. Athimulam A, Kumaresan S, Foo DCY, Sarmidi MR, Aziz RA. Modeling and optimization of E. longifolia water extract production. Food and Bioproducts Processing. 2006;84(C2):139–149.
  27. Tambi MI, Kadir AA. Human toxicology and clinical observations of Eurycoma longifiola on men’s health. Int J Andrology. 2005;28(Suppl 1):37–38.
  28. Lin LC, Peng CY, Wang HS, Lee KWW. Reinvestigation of the chemical constituents of Eurycoma longifolia. Clin Pharm J. 2001;53:97–106.
  29. Sambandan TG, Rha CK, Kadir AA, Aminudim N, Saad J, Mohammed M. Bioactive fraction of Eurycoma longifolia. United States Patent. 2006. p. 7132117 B2.
  30. Bedir E, Abou-Gazar H, Ngwendson JN, Khan IA. Eurycomaoside: a new quassinoid-type glycoside from the roots of Eurycoma longifolia. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 2003;51(11):1301–3. doi: 10.1248/cpb.51.1301. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
  31. Darise M, Kohda H, Mizutani K, Tanaka O. Eurycomanone and eurycomanol, quassinoids from the roots of Eurycoma longifolia. Phytochemistry. 1982;21:2091–2093. doi: 10.1016/0031-9422(82)83050-1. [Cross Ref]
  32. Ang HH, Cheang HS, Yusof AP. Effects of Eurycoma longifolia Jack (Tongkat Ali) on the initiation of sexual performance of inexperienced castrated male rats. Exp Anim. 2000;49(1):35–8. doi: 10.1538/expanim.49.35. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
  33. Kuo PC, Shi LS, Damu AG, Su CR, Huang CH, Ke CH, Wu JB, Lin AJ, Bastow KF, Lee KH. Cytotoxic and antimalarial beta‒carboline alkaloids from the roots of Eurycoma longifolia. Journal Nat Prod. 2003;66(10):1324–1327. doi: 10.1021/np030277n. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
  34. Farouk AE, Benafri A. Antibacterial activity of Eurycoma longifolia Jack. A Malaysian medicinal plant. Saudi Med J. 2007;28(9):1422–4. [PubMed]
  35. Nurhanan MY, Azimahtol HLP, Ilham MA, Shukri MMA. Cytotoxic effects of the root extracts of Eurycoma longifolia Jack. Phytotherapy Research. 2005;19(11):994–6. doi: 10.1002/ptr.1759.[PubMed] [Cross Ref]
  36. Husen R, Pihie AH, Nallappan M. Screening for antihyperglycaemic activity in several local herbs of Malaysia. Journal Ethnopharmacology. 2004;95:205–208. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2004.07.004. [PubMed][Cross Ref]
  37. Ang HH, Cheang HS. Studies on the anxiolytic activity of Eurycoma longifolia Jack roots in mice. Jpn J Pharmacol. 1999;79(4):497–500. doi: 10.1254/jjp.79.497. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
  38. Ang HH, Ngai TH, Tan TH. Effects of Eurycoma longifolia Jack on sexual qualities in middle aged male rats. Phytomedicine. 2003;10(6–7):590–3. [PubMed]
  39. Ang HH, Lee KL. Effect of Eurycoma longifolia Jack on libido in middle-aged male rats. J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2002;13(3):249–54. [PubMed]
  40. Ang HH, Ngai TH. Aphrodisiac evaluation in non-copulator male rats after chronic administration of Eurycoma longifolia Jack. Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2001;15(4):265–8. doi: 10.1046/j.1472-8206.2001.00038.x. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
  41. Tambi MI, Imran MK, Henkel RR. Standardised water-soluble extract of Eurycoma longifolia, Tongkat ali, as testosterone booster for managing men with late-onset hypogonadism. Andrologia. 2012;44(Suppl 1):226–30. [PubMed]
  42. Tambi MI, Imran MK. Eurycoma longifolia Jack in managing idiopathic male infertility. Asian J Androl. 2010;12(3):376–80. doi: 10.1038/aja.2010.7. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
  43. Hamzah S, Yusof A. The ergogenic effects of Tongkat ali (Eurycoma longifolia): A pilot study. British J Sports Med. 2003;37:464–470.
  44. Sarina MY, Zaiton Z, Aminudin AHK, Nor AK, Azizol AK. 4th Asia-Pacific Conference on Exercise and Sport Science & 8th International Sports Science Conference. Academy of Medicine of Malaysia; 2009. Effects of resistance training and Eurycoma longifolia on muscle strength, lipid profile, blood glucose, and hormone level in middle-aged women.
  45. Udani JK, George A, Mufiza M, Abas A, Gruenwald J, Miller M. Scripps Natural Supplements Conference. Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine; 2011. Effects of a proprietary freeze-dried water extract of Eurycoma longifolia on sexual performance and well-being in men with reduced sexual potency: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  46. Ismail SB, Wan Mohammad WM, George A, Nik Hussain NH, Musthapa Kamal ZM, Liske ZM.Randomized clinical trial on the Use of PHYSTA freeze-dried water extract of eurycoma longifolia for the improvement of quality of life and sexual well-being in Men. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med; 2012. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
  47. Talbott S, Talbott J, Negrete J, Jones M, Nichols M, Roza J. Effect of eurycoma longifolia extract on anabolic balance during endurance exercise [abstract] J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2006;3(1):S32.
  48. Talbott S, Christopulos AM, Ekberg C. Effect of a 12-Week Lifestyle Program on Mood State and Metabolic Parameters in Overweight Subjects. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007;39(5):227–503.
  49. Talbott S, Christopulos AM, Richards E. Effect of a lifestyle program on holiday stress, cortisol, and body weight. J Amer Coll Nutr. 2005;24(5):31.
  50. Talbott S, Talbott J, Larsen W, Jackson V. Significant improvements in mood state and hormone profile associated with a “low-attrition” weight loss program. J Amer Coll Nutr. 2007;26(5):24.
  51. Tambi MI. Glycoprotein water-soluble extract of Eurycoma longifolia Jack as a health supplement in management of healthy aging in aged men. The Aging Male. 2003;6(1):41–70.
  52. Tambi MI. Standardized water soluble extract of Eurycoma longifolia maintains healthy aging in man. The Aging Male. 2007;10(2):77–87.
  53. Tambi MI. Standardized water soluble extract of Eurycoma longifolia on men’s health [abstract]. 8th International Congress of Andrology, 12–16 June, Seoul, Korea. J. Androl. 2005;28(Suppl 1):27.
  54. Foss B, Dyrstad SM. Stress in obesity: cause or consequence? Med Hypoth. 2011;77(1):7–10. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2011.03.011. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
  55. Kraemer WJ, Ratamess NA. Hormonal responses and adaptations to resistance exercise and training. Sports Med. 2005;35(4):339–61. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200535040-00004. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

Boost testosteroneNutritionTestosteroneTongkat ali

Featured products

Rs. 4,700
8 reviews
Rs. 3,900
8 reviews
Rs. 5,400
8 reviews

Join Over 1,000,000 Fans

Get exclusive access to discounts and the latest on fitness, nutrition, and wellness delivered straight to your inbox

Free domestic shipping

Free shipping on domestic orders over $99

Free Content & Exclusive Sales

Join our email list and receive member-exclusive promos

Top-notch support

We're committed to an amazing customer experience

Secure payments

Your payment information is encrypted and never compromised