Tongkat Ali vs Ashwagandha: Differences, Purposes and Risks

Tongkat Ali vs Ashwagandha: Differences, Purposes and Risks

Ashwagandha Expert is a project that offers the most accurate information in an accessible, understandable and applicable way so that readers can make the best...Read more


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From the author:
Let’s check out Tongkat Ali vs Ashwagandha to see which one is better. Ashwagandha and Tongkat Ali are supplements that show similar effects but have different ways of working. Both supplements should not be used simultaneously as they cause an increase in testosterone levels.

My Pick

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Tongkat Ali vs Ashwagandha: General Comparison

CriteriaAshwagandhaTongkat Ali
Traditional UsesAdaptogenic herb, stress reduction, vitalityAphrodisiac, energy, male reproductive health
Active CompoundsWithanolidesQuassinoids, eurycomanone
Adaptogenic PropertiesYesNot as well-established as Ashwagandha
Stress and AnxietyIt increases serotonin, reduces stress and anxiety, and improves sleep quality. It has a healing effect on depression.Compared to Ashwagandha, its effects on stress and anxiety are less but effective.
Libido and Sexual HealthIncreases testosterone level and libido, improving sexual performance.Traditionally used for male sexual health
Testosterone LevelsIncreases testosterone.Increases testosterone too much.
Cognitive FunctionReduces neuron firing and gives calmness.Limited evidence; more research needed
Anti-InflammatoryExhibits anti-inflammatory propertiesExhibits anti-inflammatory properties
Antioxidant ActivityExhibits antioxidant propertiesExhibits anti-inflammatory properties
Safety and Side EffectsIt is safe when used in the right amount.It is safe, but long-term use or overdosage poses serious risks.
Best for:Stress reduction, anxiety, vitality, cognitive supportMale reproductive health, energy, libido
Side Effects:May cause drowsiness, gastrointestinal issuesPotential side effects include insomnia, increased aggression, and interactions with medications
Advantages:Well-researched adaptogen, potential cognitive benefits, generally safeTraditionally used for male reproductive health, potential testosterone support, energy and vitality
Disadvantages:Its smell and taste cannot be tolerated by everyone.It does not have any effect in the short term.
Cost Comparison:AffordableAffordable
Duration of Effect:Effects may be relatively short-term, requiring consistent useEffects may vary, and long-term use may be necessary for certain benefits
Suitability for Long-Term Use:Not recommended to use for more than 2 monthsNot recommended to use for more than 2 months
Minimum Dose:300 mg200-250 mg
Absorption by the Body:Generally well-absorbed; bioavailability may varyAbsorption may vary; bioavailability studies needed for clarity
Excretion Time:Water-soluble compounds are eliminated from the body within 1-2 days, and fat-soluble compounds are eliminated from the body within 1 month.4-12 weeks

What is Tongkat Ali?

Tongkat Ali is a plant from Southeast Asia. People have used its roots and liquid extract as herbal medicine for a long time. Many folks appreciate it for its benefits to sexual health, like helping with erectile dysfunction and fertility.

Tongkat Ali is well-known for its positive effects on sexual health. It’s used to tackle issues like erectile dysfunction, and fertility, and to boost testosterone levels.

Similar to Ashwagandha, Tongkat Ali also addresses stress and anxiety, but it stands out with its sexual power enhancements.

In a study, men who took 300mg of tongkat ali extract daily for 12 weeks experienced improved erections compared to those who took a placebo. This includes achieving erections more often during sexual activity. Tongkat ali has also been found to enhance penetration by increasing the hardness of erections.

Other benefits of Tongkat Ali:

  • May lower blood pressure
  • Helps you lose weight
  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Improves sexual performance
  • Improves erectile function
  • Strengthens mental health
  • Increases sports performance and endurance

Let’s dive into the benefits of Tongkat Ali

Let’s check out what happens when you use Ashwagandha and Tongkat Ali together. First, let’s talk about the good things about Tongkat Ali.

Testosterone production

Tongkat Ali offers a notable advantage by potentially boosting testosterone production. This can result in improved sexual performance, increased muscle growth, enhanced muscle strength, and an overall better sexual health.

The process involves Tongkat Ali’s potential to reduce Sex Hormone Globulin (SHBG), leading to higher levels of free testosterone. It also stimulates the adrenal gland to produce more total testosterone.

For optimal testosterone enhancement, consider combining Tongkat Ali with multivitamins, zinc, and other herbal supplements.

See the table below for insights from a scientific study on Tongkat Ali’s effectiveness in increasing testosterone levels among men.

Age (years)LifestyleTestosterone increase
24-30Active15% -30%
31-40Active30% – 60%
41-50Sedentary61% – 122%
20-60Sedentary582 – 600%*
Efficacy and safety of Eurycoma longifolia (Physta®) water extract plus multivitamins on quality of life, mood and stress: a randomized placebo-controlled and parallel study.

It supports weight loss

Tongkat Ali boosts your metabolism, helping your body burn fat more effectively. By elevating testosterone levels, it enhances energy conversion and curbs overeating tendencies.

In a 112-day study involving 96 overweight adults, the daily intake of 400 mg Tongkat Ali, coupled with bergamot orange, resulted in a significant reduction in Body Mass Index (BMI).

Studies indicate that Tongkat Ali stimulates thermogenesis by activating brown adipose tissue (BAT), a type of fat that generates heat during activity. This heightened heat production, known as thermogenesis, increases your metabolic rate, facilitating weight loss.

Tongkat Ali may aid weight loss by regulating blood sugar levels. Maintaining optimal blood sugar levels is crucial for weight management, as high levels can lead to insulin resistance, increased fat storage, and weight gain.

A 2020 study showcased Tongkat Ali’s hypoglycemic properties, which, in addition to controlling body weight, means it can lower blood sugar levels by enhancing glucose uptake into cells and improving insulin sensitivity.

Increases your energy

Tongkat Ali, much like Ashwagandha, boosts energy levels. It’s popular among athletes for stamina and muscle strength.

Scientifically, Tongkat Ali enhances sports performance. Its adaptogenic and anabolic properties increase testosterone and restore energy during intense activities.

Decades of trials confirm Tongkat Ali as a superior natural testosterone supplement. It outperforms Ashwagandha, Fadogia Agrestis, and Panax Ginseng, making it a reliable choice for athletes.

Reduces stress and anxiety

Tongkat Ali and Ashwagandha, known for reducing cortisol levels, effectively manage stress. By addressing stress directly, they alleviate problems like insomnia, anxiety, and fatigue.

A recent study by the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition revealed that consuming Physta® Tongkat Ali extract for four weeks resulted in significant reductions in anger (-12%), tension (-11%), and confusion (-15%).

In 2022, a study involved 33 healthy adults. It focused on stress and sleep, using fake pills for comparison. The findings revealed improved sleep quality and increased stress management indicators, including higher energy levels and friendliness.

Increase muscle strength

Athletes love Tongkat Ali for its muscle growth benefits. Research shows that taking Tongkat Ali supplements can directly and indirectly enhance muscle strength and size.

In a 2019 study, young men who took tongkat ali showed big improvements in their peak strength after doing a weight training program.

Tongkat Ali not only helps with muscle growth and energy. Studies show that athletes using Tongkat Ali improve their muscle recovery and increase their resistance.

The reason for this effect of Tongkat Ali on muscles is the synergistic effect that your rising testosterone levels, cortisol and metabolic changes have on your body.

About Tongkat Ali side effects

Tongkat Ali has some good effects, but it also has drawbacks. The side effects aren’t fully understood yet, but users have reported:

  • Hair loss and prostate enlargement from too much testosterone.
  • Acne in women.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Heart rhythm issues.
  • Feelings of anxiety.
  • Interaction with other drugs, leading to strange effects.
  • Problems from heavy metal content.
  • Risk of undisclosed prescription sexual health drugs in supplements, as reported by the FDA in 2019.

Common Effects of Ashwagandha and Tongkat Ali

Tongkat Ali and Ashwagandha are like buddies – similar and do some of the same things. But, there are some small differences I’ll tell you about.

First, let’s talk about what they both do:

  1. Boost your sexual performance
  2. Help your muscles grow and increase the muscle recovery time
  3. Reducing stress and anxiety
  4. Keep your blood sugar levels in check
  5. Testosterone boosts
  6. Pump up your energy levels
  7. Help you lose some weight

All these things are proven by science for both Ashwagandha and Tongkat Ali. They’re the common things that happen when you take these supplements.

Differences Between Ashwagandha and Tongkat Ali

Ashwagandha and Tongkat Ali are kind of alike. They do similar things, but their methods are quite different.

Tongkat Ali is a stronger testosterone booster

Tongkat Ali is a much stronger testosterone booster compared to Ashwagandha.

Studies prove Tongkat Ali gives a bigger testosterone boost—20% to 581%, beating Ashwagandha.

But, be careful. Too much testosterone may lead to hair loss (alopecia) and prostate enlargement in men.

Tongkat Ali is more effective in burning fat

Ashwagandha and Tongkat Ali are not a fat burning supplement. But they help a lot in burning fat.

If you are planning to lose weight, you should know that Tongkat Ali is more effective than Ashwagandha in burning fat.

In a short 5-week study with 14 men doing strength training, those who had 100 mg of tongkat ali extract daily gained more muscle and lost more fat compared to the group taking a placebo.

Ashwagandha is better at reducing stress and anxiety

Ashwagandha is a powerful stress reliever, effectively calming nerves by slowing down nerve activity—outperforming Tongkat Ali in stress reduction.

Not only does Ashwagandha alleviate stress, but it also guards against potential brain damage resulting from prolonged stress and elevated cortisol levels.

Ashwagandha’s noteworthy antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties position it as a potential safeguard against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s.

Moreover, Ashwagandha exhibits serotonin regulation, akin to the effects of benzodiazepines found in common antidepressants.

Recent research underscores Ashwagandha’s superior efficacy in managing stress and its associated complications, making it a standout choice among stress-relief options.

Both strengthen the immune system

Ashwagandha and Tongkat Ali are good for our immune system.

Studies found that both Ashwagandha and Tongkat Ali help our immune cells fight diseases and reduce inflammation.

Ashwagandha is great for pain and arthritis because it fights inflammation and boosts red blood cell count.

Tongkat Ali boosts our immune system by increasing CD4+ T cells, as seen in research studies.

These supplements also have anti-cancer properties by reducing inflammation, but there’s no proof they prevent or treat cancer.

Tongkat Ali has many more side effects than Ashwagandha

When comparing Tongkat Ali and Ashwagandha, it’s essential to examine their respective side effects. Current research on these supplements is somewhat limited, and a comprehensive understanding of their potential adverse effects is still in progress.

To gain a more nuanced perspective, delving into real case studies and empirical research becomes imperative.

There’s no fixed amount for Tongkat Ali and Ashwagandha that everyone agrees on. People usually start with a small dose and slowly increase it to figure out what works for them. However, this can lead to side effects or the supplements not working.

Long-term use of Tongkat Ali and Ashwagandha may bring about some side effects and risks.

Ashwagandha, when used for a prolonged period or taken in excessive amounts, might lead to serious issues like liver damage and organ failure. In contrast, Tongkat Ali, when used in reasonable amounts, has been found not to impact the liver.

Tongkat Ali, on the other hand, can significantly boost testosterone levels with extended use or excessive dosage. High testosterone may lead to problems such as headaches, aggressive behavior, acne, and an increased appetite.

Prolonged high testosterone levels can harm the liver and heart, and for those with a genetic predisposition, it might also trigger male pattern baldness.

Let me also say that long-term use of both supplements may be counterproductive to their effects on mental health and cognitive health and may cause anxiety, depression, anger, and insomnia.

Tongkat Ali might lead to more serious problems compared to Ashwagandha. High testosterone from Tongkat Ali can cause lasting issues needing continuous treatments.

Problems from high testosterone include:

  • acne
  • aggressive or risk-taking behaviors
  • excessive body hair
  • headaches
  • heart or liver problems
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • high sex drive (libido)
  • increased appetite
  • infertility
  • insomnia
  • low sperm count
  • mood swings
  • prostate enlargement, which may cause difficulty passing urine
  • swelling of the legs and feet
  • unexplained weight gain

So, when choosing between Ashwagandha and Tongkat Ali, consider these effects. If your testosterone is high, skip Tongkat Ali. Using external testosterone is like taking steroids.

Can you use Ashwagandha and Tongkat Ali together?

Don’t mix or use Ashwagandha and Tongkat Ali together. Combining them might boost their impact, but it can also increase your risk of side effects.

These supplements can mess with your body by spiking up testosterone levels. Be careful.

The doses for Ashwagandha and Tongkat Ali are not the same for everyone. Some people do well with 300mg of Ashwagandha, while others need more. Tongkat Ali is similar—different people need different amounts. Mixing them might make it easy to take too much. Be careful with that!

Combining these two supplements is not a good idea; it’s risky and won’t give you reliable results. Ashwagandha and Tongkat Ali have similar effects and purposes, but each has its pros and cons.

Choose the supplement that fits your goal. If you want to boost testosterone, go for Tongkat Ali for a while. If you’re aiming to reduce stress, anxiety, and enhance sleep, Ashwagandha is the better pick.

I suggest not using either supplement for more than two months. It’s important to be cautious about the duration of usage.

Ashwagandha Expert is a project that offers the most accurate information in an accessible, understandable and applicable way so that readers can make the best possible decisions about the Ashwagandha plant and its use.

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