I understand that in recent months, a Malaysian producer of tongkat ali
extract has heavily promoted their product with claims of a scientific
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As if this were of scientific relevance, they stated that their product
is composed of 40% glycosaponins, 22% eurypeptides and 30%
Judging from the wide circulation of their product, it seems to be easy
indeed to fool people by using scientific-sounding terms.
The active components of tongkat ali (Eurycoma longifolia Jack) have of
course been scientifically established.
There is an excellent, impartial, not product-oriented scientific
source on the Internet:
You can debunk yourself the pseudoscience of “40% glycosaponins, 22%
eurypeptides and 30% polysaccharides”.
To start with, do the following:
On your browser, load the page:
Using Internet Explorer, click Edit / Find and run a search for the
following terms, one by one: glycosaponins, saponins, eurypeptides,
Only the term “polysaccharide” is found on the page, listing the active
components of Eurycoma longifolia Jack (tongkat ali), but NOT as an
active chemical. A polysaccharide has been used to induce fever in lab
animals on which the fever-lowering effect of tongkat ali was tested.
So what are “40% glycosaponins, 22% eurypeptides and 30%
Let’s start with “eurypeptides” because that was the term I didn’t know
when I first red the claims made by the Malaysian tongkat ali producer.
It was also the term that made me suspicious in the first place.
When you run a general Google search for “eurypeptides”, thousands of
pages are offered. However, they all seem to refer only to the LJ 100
Google also offers a search engine specific for scientific
The URL is:
Try a search for “eurypeptides” and you will find that the term doesn’t
exist in the scientific publications searched by Google.
You can also try your search on Medline, the huge website of the US
National Library of Medicine. The Medline website is:
The result is the same: no reference to “eurypeptides”.
It’s obvious that “eurypeptides” is a made-up word. Sounds good,
though. Reminds of neuropeptides, which indeed have a very important
biochemical functions in the human body.
OK, how about glycosaponins? “Glyco-“ basically means sugar, and
indeed, many chemical substances can be combined with sugars, and they are
then referred to as glyco-somethings.
Saponins are found in many plants. The term, however, isn’t very
specific. Basically, it means that the substance is somehow soapy. If you
want to know more about saponins in general, look at this page on Google:
Now, is the Sugar-Soap which the promoters of LJ100 tout as doing the
LJ100 magic more real than the eurypeptides?
Try to search on Medline and Google Scholar.
It’s 0 hits on Medline, and just 1 hit on Google Scholar (though the
referred to page does not contain the term).
But even if glycosaponins is an existing, albeit rare, term, I doubt
its relevance in the evaluation of active components of tongkat ali
extract, simply because it contains no specific reference to tongkat ali.
You can check again the following page for how chemical names sound
that are specific to an active ingredient found in a single plant:
And now for the third scientific term that has been used in connection
with the marketing of LJ100:
You know what polysaccharides are: sugars that are too heavy to be
sweet: starch, cellulose, and the like.
If you want to know it more precisely, check this Google link:
If the claim is serious, does it mean that their extract is 30 percent
The manufacturers probably realized that the “30% polysaccharides”
reference didn’t really support their claim to have a superior standardized
extract. I didn’t see it when I checked their site while writing this
article. However, a Google search for LJ100 brings up many marketing
sites that still list the “30% polysaccharides”.
In spite of, or probably because of, the pseudoscience applied in its
marketing, LJ100 today seems to be the most widely distributed tongkat
ali product. It’s amazing that even a physician with a generally good
knowledge of herbal medicines, Ray Sahelian, MD, has fallen for their
Please note: I do not find anything wrong with genuine tongkat ali. It
definitely is the closest, nature has come to develop an aphrodisiac,
as well as a supplement to increase muscle mass in men. Both effects
have been established in genuine science.
However, the above-described case has added to my doubts on Malaysia as
a source country for tongkat ali. Not only is tongkat ali a protected
plant in Malaysia, and not only has Malaysian tongkat ali been found to
have been contaminated with heavy metals. Malaysian companies have also
been on record for spiking tongkat ali with bootleg pharmaceuticals.
Compared to that, sales techniques like the one described in this article
are still a minor issue.