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Eurycoma Longifolia

The Amazing Aphrodisiac Herb


Eurycoma longifolia (Simaroubaceae) is a small tree to 15 m high. Plants dioecious (flowers on a plant are either male or female). Leaves compound, long, and crowded at the tips of the branches. When the leaves fall they leave large scars on the stems. Leaflets are ovate-lanceolate, sessile or nearly so, and opposite. Flowers are borne in axillaries panicles, mostly large and lax, and puberulous with short hairs. Flowers are unisexual; male flower has sterile pistil, female flower has sterile stamens. Fruits ellipsoid or ovoid, 10-20 x 5-12 mm, green to blackish-red when ripe.


E. longifolia prefers acid and sandy soils at low altitude up to 700 m above sea level. Plants usually grow in beach forests, primary and secondary forests, mixed dipterocarp forests and also in heath forests. In Riau Province, Sumatra, 1991, the author found that plants were growing in areas with an average temperature of 25C and 86% humidity. The soils in this area were found to be poor in nutrients, but mycorrhizal fungi were found growing near the plants and may indicate an association. Seedlings require shade, during which time they develop an extensive root system. Following juvenile stages, plants need stronger light to develop vegetative and reproductive parts. E. longifolia flowers and fruits throughout the year, with peak flowering from June-July and peak fruiting in September.


E. longifolia originates from South East Asia, including Indonesia, Malay Peninsula, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. In Indonesia, this species only occurs naturally in Sumatra and Kalimantan.


Though E. longifolia is currently mostly known as an aphrodisiac, in South East Asia, all parts of E. longifolia plants have long been used medicinally. The plant is commonly used throughout the region as a tonic after childbirth. The bark of the roots is used in the Malay Peninsula to cure fever, ulcers in the mouth, and intestinal worms. The Malays also use the paste of the plant to relieve headache, stomachache, pain caused by syphilis, and many other general pains. In parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan, the root is used as an anit-pyretic. In Lampung and Belitung it is used as a medicine for dysentery. The people of Sabah and Kalimantan make a decoction of the bark that is drunk to relieve pain in the bones or applied for washing itches. In Vietnam, people use the flowers and fruits as a medicine for treating dysentery. In Riau, where the author carried out research, people living in the surrounding forests boil the root or stem to cure malaria. One of the most unique uses for E. longifolia is that of the Sakai ethnic group in Sumatra who use the plant as an amulet to protect people from the smallpox virus.


The active constituents in E. longifolia, and many other species in the Family Simaroubaceae, include quassin, neo-quassin, glaukarubin, sedrin, eurycomanol that are mostly derivatives from compounds with 20 carbon atoms.

Arch Pharm Res 1998 Dec;21(6):779-81

Eurycoma longifolia increases sexual motivation in sexually naive male rats.

Ang HH, Sim MK.

School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Science, Malaysia, Minden, Singapore.

The aim of this study is to provide evidence on the aphrodisiac property of Eurycoma longifolia Jack. An electric grid was used as an obstruction in the electrical copulation cage in order to determine how much an aversive stimulus the sexually naive male rat for both the treated with E. longifolia Jack and control groups were willing to overcome to reach the estrous receptive female in the goal cage. The intensity of the grid current was maintained at 0.12 mA and this was the intensity in which the male rats in the control group failed to crossover to reach the goal cage. Results showed that E. longifolia Jack continued to enhance and also maintain a high level of both the total number of successful crossovers, mountings, intromissions and ejaculations during the 9-12th week observation period. In conclusion, these results further enhanced and strengthened the aphrodisiac property of E. longifolia Jack.

PMID: 9868556 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


Arch Pharm Res 2001 Oct;24(5):437-40

Effects of Eurycoma longifolia jack on laevator ani muscle in both uncastrated and testosterone-stimulated castrated intact male rats.

Ang HH, Cheang HS.

School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University Science Malaysia, Minden, 11800, Penang, Malaysia.

It has been reported that Eurycoma longifolia Jack commonly known as Tongkat Ali has gained notoreity as a symbol of man's ego and strength by the Malaysian men because it increases male virility and sexual prowess during sexual activities. As such, the effects of 200, 400 and 800 mg/kg of butanol, methanol, water and chloroform fractions of E. longifolia Jack were studied on the laevator ani muscle in both uncastrated and testosterone-stimulated castrated intact male rats after dosing them for 12 consecutive weeks. Results showed that 800 mg/kg of butanol, methanol, water and chloroform fractions of E. longifolia Jack significantly increased (p<0.05) the leavator ani muscle to 58.56+/-1.22, 58.23+/-0.31, 60.21 +/-0.86 and 62.35 +/-0.98 mg/100 g body weight, respectively, when compared with the control (untreated) in the uncastrated intact male rats and 49.23+/-0.82, 52.23+/-0.36, 50.21+/-0.66 and 52.35+/-0.58 mg/100 g body weight, respectively, when compared to control (untreated) in the testosterone-stimulated castrated intact male rats. Hence, the pro-androgenic effect as shown by this study further supported the traditional use of this plant as an aphrodisiac.

PMID: 11693547 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


Exp Anim 2000 Jan;49(1):35-8

Effects of Eurycoma longifolia Jack (Tongkat Ali) on the initiation of sexual performance of inexperienced castrated male rats.

Ang HH, Cheang HS, Yusof AP.

School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University Science Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia.

We studied the effects of Eurycoma longifolia Jack, commonly known as Tongkat Ali in Malaysia, on the initiation of sexual performance and the weights of sexual accessories in inexperienced castrated male rats. The doses of 200, 400 and 800 mg/kg body weight, which were extracted from E. longifolia Jack, were orally administered to the rats twice daily for 10 days prior to the tests and continued throughout the test period. Testosterone was used as a positive control after injecting 15 mg/kg daily subcutaneously for 32 days. Results showed that E. longifolia Jack produced a dose-dependent increase in sexual performance of the treated animals, but the E. longifolia Jack groups showed lower sexual performance in mounting, intromission and ejaculation than the testosterone group. Further results also showed that E. longifolia Jack promoted the growth of both ventral prostate and seminal vesicles as compared with the control, but the growth of sexual accessories at 800 mg/kg of butanol, methanol, water and chloroform fractions of E. longifolia Jack was less than that of testosterone treated group. The present study therefore gives further evidence of the folkuse of E. longifolia as an aphrodisiac.

PMID: 10803359 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


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