Longjack (Eurycoma longifolia) is a plant that thrives on the islands in and along the southeastern coast of the Indian Ocean. It's most commonly found in Indonesia and Malaysia.
The plant is also known by the names tongkat ali and pasak bumi. Longjack is an evergreen tree, reaching up to 49 ft (15 m) tall, with leaves up to 15 3/4″ (40 cm) long.
Longjack fruits are green but after they ripen they attain a dark red color. The usable part of the plant is the roots.
In the regions where this tree grows, its root extracts are considered a natural aphrodisiac and strong male potency enhancer. Indonesian and Malaysian folk medicine attributes antibacterial properties to it and recommends it in the battle against malaria symptoms.
For several years, longjack extracts have been massively going into sports supplements, especially those designed for bodybuilders.
Composition of Longjack
The best studied phytochemicals in the composition of the plant are quassin and neo-quassin, eurycomanone and glaucarubin. Even though the roots are the primary parts that are used, other parts of the plant containing peptides, believed to be main active substances, are as well.
Scientists have isolated over 65 bioactive substances, some of which control the levels of blood sugar, while others are powerful anticarcinogens.
Choosing and Storing Longjack
There are various products containing longjack extract in stores. The problem with these products is that they contain too little of the extract and taking them orally further decreases the effectiveness.
There are also a lot of fakes and synthetic substitutes out there, so we have to be careful. In Malaysia they've even developed a specialized electronic tongue to taste and pick out the fakes.
Benefits of Longjack
Longjack has a proven tonic action. It also acts as a potent aphrodisiac. The plant is believed to help increase testosterone production; improve fertility and fight parasitic infections. It improves mood.
Longjack slows the processes of aging, regulates cholesterol levels, boosts production of Adenosine triphosphate acid (ATP) and red blood cells. ATP is a fundamental energy unit in the body that is responsible for augmenting vitality and good health.
As ATP levels rise, so does the overall energy in the body. Longjack provides the necessary energy, without causing overstimulation, insomnia and a strain on the nerves.
Daily Doses of Longjack
The doses that have been tested for toxicity show conflicting results. Recommended doses vary from no more than 1 mg per day to 10-12 mg per 2 lb (1 kg) of body weight. Many of the tests done on rats have been in doses several times higher than the ones listed.
To be safe, you can take supplements of longjack extracts on a rotational principle - take a break every 4-10 weeks equal to the period of intake.
Dangers of Longjack
The effects of longjack have not been studied that thoroughly, so be cautious if taking it. In Europe, bodybuilders use capsules of the herb extract but although they are highly popular, these capsules have only been lab tested, and on mice at that.
However, extracts are taken by large numbers of Malaysians, Indonesians and other nationalities as a traditional libido treatment. Longjack should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as men with an enlarged prostate.