Now it’s scientifically official: tongkat ali extract causes noticable muscle growthin men. The British Journal of Sports Medicine stated that in a double-blind placebo controlled scientific trial, the use of tongkat ali extract was the reason for a 5 % increase in lean body mass in the treatment group, while no noteworthy changes were seen in the placebo group. 5 % in 5 weeks is a big improvement, which becomes obvious if one calculates the increase this would mean over a course of a year (5 weeks – 5 %; 52 weeks – 50 %).
Among other interesting facts, the journal article reports: “The mean arm circumference of the treatment group increased significantly by 1.8 cm after the supplementation, from 30.87 (1.88) to 32.67 (1.96) cm (p = 0.011), but there was no significant increase in the placebo group.”
The abstract of the clinical trial with healthy men can be read at the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine:
# 007, access is free
A printscreen of the abstract can be read here:
As one may expect for a scientific publication, the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine is not so easy to navigate. In this specific case, the abstract on the scientific trial about tongkat ali has been put together with a number of other abstracts. The abstracts are numbered 001, 002, 003, and so on. The abstract that talks about tongkat ali’s effect on bodybuilding has the number 007. Please notice that the Latin, scientific name of tongkat ali is Eurycoma longifolia.
There are a few things one has to pay attention to in an interpretation of the results of the cited scientific study with human subjects. For example, the tongkat ali extract used in the trial has been made in a university laboratory. It was of regulated strength. There may be a considerable difference between authentic university lab-extracted tongkat ali and the commercial products one finds on health store shelves. In my opinion, if the reason of your tongkat ali usage is muscle gain, you can ignore all products that combine tongkat ali with other herbals. Tongkat ali is one of the most expensive herbals on the market because (1) it’s rare, and (2) it takes a incredibly time long to grow. Thus, any combination product is probably trying to save on tongkat ali.
The only country in the world where there still are substantial resources of tongkat ali in the wild is Indonesia. The shrub once was standard in Malaysia, but because the search for tongkat ali has turned into something like the one for truffles in France or Italy, tongkat ali has since been named a protected plant in Malaysia, and forest areas where it is still found have already been watched over by forest rangers for several years. (The Star, January 30, 2001)
While much of “Malaysian” tongkat ali sold in recent years are actually from Indonesia, it’s expected that this supply line will dry up in the coming years as well. The Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who won a second term in July 2009, has stated that the protection of the Indonesian forests was a prime priority of his government. For the neighboring countries Malaysia and Thailand, the illegal exploitation of Indonesian forests is sworn to become a serious crime. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised: “The government will take strong action on the perpetrators and will take them to court where they will receive the most severe punishment.”
Tongkat ali isn’t a fast-growing weed like tribulus terrestris. You can grow tribulus terrestris as effortlessly as potatoes, on practically any soil, and in the span of a few weeks. Tongkat ali, in comparison, takes years to reach maturity. Full size can’t be expected in less than 25 years. The effectiveness of mature tongkat ali is said to be far superior to that of young plants. Furthermore, tongkat ali is as hard to grow as orchids. The soil needs to be sandy and has to be well drained. However, new water is needed several times a week. Tongkat ali also needs a semi-shaded environment. The plant’s natural habitat is limited to tropical jungle slopes (which naturally are drained after a downpour) and which are partly shaded by the rain forest canopy while leaving some sunlight to reach the plant because of the angle of the terrain.
Due to the fact that tongkat ali is so expensive, even in Malaysia where it originated, herbal traders there now think it more economical to sell herbal fillers that are laced with Pfizer’s Blue, rather than authentic tongkat ali (which buyers request). (New Straits Times, April 10, 2004)
For those who take the so-called tongkat ali for its prosexual effects, the doupe may actually work (though the substitution can be life-threatening for those on nitrate drugs). However, for those who look for genuine tongkat ali for the aim of improving the ratio between lean body mass and fat, the stretched Pfizer’s Blue will have no effect (if one disregards that for them, biceps exercise on fake tongkat ali may cause short-lived tissue expansion in the penis, rather than around the arms).
The active ingredients in tongkat ali are present only in little amounts. You would need about 50 gram of the root for one dosage, and athletes who want to get maximum results without having to take illegal steroids will typically take 2 or 3 dosages a day. Scientifically established effectiveness, dropping resources, and the natural difficulty of analyzing the composition of a natural medication are a dangerous mix. While they may soon measure authentic tongkat ali extract on gold scales, the demand of a growing market for ever cheaper products will definitely attract a huge number of cheaters. Just like in Malaysia, they may sell Pfizer’s Blue-stretched herbal fillers as tongkat ali, or they will market combination products where there is less than 1 percent tongkat ali included (allthough on the label tongkat ali will surely be printed in an enlarged type font).
How to guard yourself from being cheated? Inspect the company from which you buy. Are they an established seller in the tongkat ali market? Where are they located? A trader in New York or New Mexico is very distant from the source (and the situation is no better for one in Old Mexico). 99 percent of the world’s tongkat ali originates from Indonesia, and that is were you are likely to discover the best purity, and the best prices for the genuine products.
The further you’re from the source, and the more intermediates handle the tongkat ali before it arrives, the larger the risk that it’ll not only be diluted but even substituted.
And simply, don’t trust cheap prices when looking for genuine tongkat ali.
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