Globally, the most prevalent mental health conditions are depression and anxiety. According to the World Health Organization, more than 264 million people worldwide suffer from depression, and over 40 million individuals in the United States are considered to have anxiety disorders. These disorders can have a significant influence on an individual's quality of life, impairing their ability to accomplish daily tasks, interact with others, and work effectively.
Depression can show in a variety of ways, including feelings of melancholy, hopelessness, and loss of interest in once-enjoyable activities. Depression can also cause physical symptoms such as changes in eating and sleep patterns, exhaustion, and concentration difficulties.
In contrast, anxiety is marked by excessive concern and fear that might interfere with regular tasks. Anxiety is characterized by restlessness, irritation, difficulty sleeping, and bodily symptoms such as perspiration, trembling, and a rapid heartbeat.
Despite the availability of numerous prescription medications for the treatment of depression and anxiety, many individuals seek alternative or complementary therapies out of worry for side effects, dependence, and other issues. Tongkat Ali, a traditional herbal treatment from Southeast Asia that has been used for generations for its mood-enhancing and stress-relieving effects, is one such natural remedy.
Tongkat Ali, also known as Eurycoma longifolia, is a tiny evergreen tree that is indigenous to Southeast Asia, specifically Malaysia and Indonesia. Traditional medicine has utilized the tree's root for generations to treat a variety of health issues, including anxiety, sadness, low libido, and exhaustion.
Traditionally, Tongkat Ali has been employed in traditional medicine to increase energy levels and vitality. The herb was also used to treat a variety of ailments, such as malaria, fever, and high blood pressure. In traditional medicine, Tongkat Ali was considered to help restore the body's balance and harmony, which was regarded as the key to good health.
Several of Tongkat Ali's traditional uses have been validated by contemporary study in recent decades. The herb has significant antioxidant qualities and may help reduce inflammation in the body, according to studies. In addition, studies indicates that Tongkat Ali may help manage hormone levels, particularly testosterone and cortisol, which are both involved in regulating mood and stress.
Nowadays, Tongkat Ali is widely available as a dietary supplement and is used all over the world to treat anxiety and depression, boost sports performance, and promote general health and well-being.
How it works
The putative mood-enhancing effects of Tongkat Ali are presumably the result of multiple pathways. Its effect on hormone control, specifically cortisol and testosterone, is one of the most investigated.
Cortisol is a stress-induced hormone, and persistent stress can result in high cortisol levels, which can contribute to anxiety and depression. Tongkat Ali may reduce cortisol levels, leading to a reduction in stress and an improvement in mood, according to research.
Tongkat Ali has been found to raise testosterone levels in both men and women. Testosterone is a hormone that has been associated to mood regulation, and Tongkat Ali has been found to boost testosterone levels in both men and women. Low testosterone levels have been associated to depressive and anxious symptoms, and boosting testosterone levels may assist to alleviate these symptoms.
Tongkat Ali could potentially influence neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that transfer data between neurons; neurotransmitter abnormalities have been associated with mood disorders. Some study suggests that Tongkat Ali may help to enhance the levels of mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.
In addition, Tongkat Ali possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Both oxidative stress and inflammation have been linked to a variety of diseases, including depression and anxiety. Tongkat Ali may boost mood and alleviate symptoms of various illnesses by lowering oxidative stress and inflammation.
Moreover, Tongkat Ali may aid in enhancing cognitive function and memory, which can be impaired by prolonged stress and anxiety. According to a number of studies, the plant can improve focus, reaction quickness, and working memory.
It is believed that a combination of its effects on hormones, neurotransmitters, oxidative stress, inflammation, and cognitive function are responsible for Tongkat Ali's ability to boost mood and lessen symptoms of sadness and anxiety.
Studies and Results
Many studies have been undertaken throughout the years on the effects of Tongkat Ali on mood and the symptoms of melancholy and anxiety. Following are the specifics of some important studies:
- A 2013 study published in the Journal of the International Association of Sports Nutrition examined the effects of Tongkat Ali on stress hormone levels and mood in 63 moderately stressed participants. For four weeks, participants received 200 milligrams of Tongkat Ali extract daily. Tongkat Ali supplementation was associated with significant reductions in cortisol levels and benefits in mood, including decreased stress, irritability, and bewilderment, according to the study.
- Another study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine examined the effects of Tongkat Ali on stress, mood, and quality of life in 63 moderately stressed men and women aged 35 to 65. For four weeks, participants received 200 milligrams of Tongkat Ali extract daily. Tongkat Ali supplementation was associated with significant decreases in stress hormone levels, as well as increases in mood and quality of life, according to the study
- In 2018, the Journal of the International Association of Sports Nutrition released a study examining the benefits of Tongkat Ali on stress, mood, and cognitive performance in 63 physically active men and women. For four weeks, participants received 400 milligrams of Tongkat Ali extract daily. Tongkat Ali supplementation was associated with significant reductions in stress hormone levels as well as benefits in mood and cognitive performance, particularly working memory and attention, according to the study.
Overall, these trials demonstrate that supplementation with Tongkat Ali may be useful for lowering stress hormone levels and enhancing mood and cognitive function. However, it is crucial to note that the daily dosages utilized in these trials ranged from 200 to 400 mg of Tongkat Ali extract, and additional study is required to discover the ideal dosages for mood-related benefits. In addition, the sample sizes in these studies were quite small, thus additional study is required to corroborate these findings in broader populations.
The studies on Tongkat Ali and mood suggest that daily supplementation with 200-400 mg of Tongkat Ali extract may be useful for lowering stress hormone levels, enhancing mood, and enhancing cognitive performance.
It is vital to remember that the ideal dose of Tongkat Ali can vary based on age, gender, weight, and overall health status. Before beginning a new supplement regimen, it is advisable to begin with a lower dose and gradually increase it as needed, and to check with a healthcare professional.
In addition, it is essential to choose a Tongkat Ali pill from a reliable source, as the quality and purity of the extract might vary greatly from product to product. Consider dietary supplements that include tested, pure and potent extracts that have been standardised.
Tongkat Ali has a promising potential for enhancing mood and lowering symptoms of depression and anxiety, but additional research is required to discover the ideal dosages and long-term effects. Before beginning a new supplement regimen, it is crucial to exercise caution and consult a healthcare professional.
Tongkat Ali is a long used plant for its health benefits, including its potential to boost mood and lessen symptoms of sadness and anxiety. Studies suggest that Tongkat Ali may help regulate hormones, neurotransmitters, oxidative stress, inflammation, and cognitive function, however the exact processes by which it operates are not entirely understood.
Talbott SM, Talbott JA, George A, et al. Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013;10(1):28. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-10-28
George A, Henkel R. Phytoandrogenic properties of Eurycoma longifolia as natural alternative to testosterone replacement therapy. Andrologia. 2014;46(7):708-721. doi:10.1111/and.12214
Talbott S, Christopoulou G, Ekhlasi-Hundrieser M, et al. Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress and quality of life in adults with subclinical hypothyroidism and concomitant stress: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Diet Suppl. 2021;18(2):214-231. doi:10.1080/19390211.2020.1769418
Talbott SM, Talbott JA, George A, et al. Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress, mood, and cognitive function in moderately stressed adults. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018;15(1):28. doi:10.1186/s12970-018-0247-6