Eurycoma longifolia (Simaroubaceae) is a small tree that grows up to 15 metres high. The flowers on the 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. email@example.com
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]
Biol Pharm Bull 1998 Feb;21(2):153-5
Eurycoma longifolia JACK and orientation activities in sexually experienced male rats.
Ang HH, Sim MK.
School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Science Malaysia, Penang.
The effects of Eurycoma longifolia JACK were studied on the orientation activities of sexually experienced male rats towards receptive females (mounting, licking, anogenital sniffing), environment (exploration, raring, climbing), themselves (genital grooming, non-genital grooming) and mobility (unrestricted, restricted) after dosing them with 200, 400 and 800 mg/kg body weight twice daily for 10 d prior to the test. The results showed that E. longifolia JACK modified the orientation activities of the treated male rats in that they significantly displayed more frequent and vigorous mounting, licking and anogenital sniffing towards the receptive females, and it further intensified self orientation as indicated by the increased grooming of the genitals compared to the controls (p<0.05). In addition, rats treated with 800 mg/kg of methanol, water and butanol extracts of E. longifolia JACK continued to show confinement to a particular area of the cage (around the female), thus showing restriction in movement as compared to the controls (p<0.05). However, the treated males possessed a lack of interest in the external environment as indicated by a reduction in exploration, raring and climbing on the cage wall. Hence, the present study further supports the folk use of E. longifolia JACK as an aphrodisiac.
PMID: 9514610 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Exp Anim 1997 Oct;46(4):287-90
Eurycoma longifolia Jack enhances libido in sexually experienced male rats.
Ang HH, Sim MK.
School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Science Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia.
The effects of Eurycoma longifolia Jack were studied on the libido of sexually experienced male rats after dosing them with 200, 400 and 800 mg/kg body weight twice daily of different fractions of E. longifolia Jack for 10 days. Results showed that E. longifolia Jack produced a dose-dependent increase in mounting frequency of the treated animals with 400 mg/kg of chloroform, methanol, water and butanol fractions resulting in mounting frequencies of 5.3 +/- 1.2, 4.9 +/- 0.7, 4.8 +/- 0.7 and 5.2 +/- 0.1, and 800 mg/kg further increased them to 5.4 +/- 0.8, 5.4 +/- 0.8, 5.2 +/- 0.6 and 5.3 +/- 0.2 respectively but there were no erections, intromissions, ejaculations or seminal emissions during the 20-min observation period which allowed for the measurement of sexual arousal reflected by mounting frequency uninfluenced by other behavioural components. This study provides evidence that E. longifolia Jack is a potent stimulator of sexual arousal in sexually vigorous male rats in the absence of feedback from genital sensation.
PMID: 9353636 [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]
Fundam Clin Pharmacol 2001 Aug;15(4):265-8
Aphrodisiac evaluation in non-copulator male rats after chronic administration of Eurycoma longifolia Jack.
Ang HH, Ngai TH.
School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Science Malaysia, Minden, 11800, Penang, Malaysia.
The aphrodisiac effect of Eurycoma longifolia Jack (0.5 g/kg) was evaluated in noncopulator male rats using an electrical cage. Fractions of E. longifolia Jack decreased the hesitation time of noncopulator male rats, throughout the investigation period. Furthermore, it possessed a transient increase in the percentage of the male rats responding to the right choice, more than 50% of the male rats scored "right choice" after 3 weeks post-treatment and the effect became more prominent after 8 weeks post-treatment (only 40-50% of the control male rats responded to the right choice) using the electrical copulation cage. Hence, this study lends further support to the use of the plant by indigenous populations as a traditional medicine for its aphrodisiac property.
PMID: 11564133 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Int J Androl 2000;23 Suppl 2:82-4 Related Articles, Books, LinkOut
Phytochemicals and the breakthrough of traditional herbs in the management of sexual dysfunctions.
School of medicine 'Hang Tuah' University, Teaching and Naval Hospital,Surabaya, Indonesia.
herbs have been a revolutionary breakthrough in the management of erectile
dysfunction and have become known world-wide as an 'instant' treatment. The
modern view of the management of erectile dysfunction subscribes to a single
etiology, i.e. the mechanism of erection. A large number of pharmacological
agents are orally consumed and vasoactive agents inserted intraurethrally or
injected intrapenially to regain good erection. Modern phytochemicals have
developed from traditional herbs.
Phytochemicals focus their mechanism of healing action to the root cause, i.e. the inability to control the proper function of the whole body system. Hence phytochemicals manage erectile dysfunction in the frame of sexual dysfunction as a whole entity.
Protodioscin is a phytochemical agent derived from Tribulus terrestris L plant, which has been clinically proven to improve sexual desire and enhance erection via the conversion of protodioscine to DHEA (De-Hydro-Epi-Androsterone). Preliminary observations suggest that Tribulus terrestris L grown on different soils does not consistently produce the active component Protodioscin.
Further photochemical studies of many other herbal plants are needed to explain the inconsistent results found with other herbal plants, such as in diversities of Ginseng, Eurycoma longifolia, Pimpinella pruacen, Muara puama, Ginkgo biloba, Yohimbe etc.
PMID: 10849504 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
J Ethnopharmacol 2002 Sep 1;82(1):55 Related Articles, Books, LinkOut
In vitro anti-tumor promoting and anti-parasitic activities of the quassinoids from Eurycoma longifolia, a medicinal plant in Southeast Asia.
Jiwajinda S, Santisopasri V, Murakami A, Kawanaka M, Kawanaka H, Gasquet M, Eilas R, Balansard G, Ohigashi H.
Laboratory and Greenhouse Complex, Kasetsart University, Kamphaeng Saen Campus,
73140, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
Some quassinoids (1-6) isolated previously as plant growth inhibitors from the leaves of Eurycoma longifolia Jack. (Simaroubaceae) were subjected to in vitro tests on anti-tumor promoting, antischistosomal and plasmodicidal activities. The most active compound for inhibition of tumor promoter-induced Epstein-Barr virus activation (anti-tumor promotion) was 14,15beta-dihydroxyklaineanone (5, IC(50)=5 &mgr;M). Longilactone (1) gave significant antischistosomal effect at a concentration of 200 &mgr;g/ml. 11-Dehydroklaineanone (3) and 15beta-O-acetyl-14-hydroxyklaineanone (6) showed potent plasmodicidal activity (IC(50)=2 &mgr;g/ml).
Thus it was suggested that E. longifolia possesses high medicinal values due to the occurrence of a variety of quassinoids.
PMID: 12169407 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Prod 1991 Sep-Oct;54(5):1360-7Related Articles, Books, LinkOut
Cytotoxic and antimalarial constituents of the roots of Eurycoma longifolia.
Kardono LB, Angerhofer CK, Tsauri S, Padmawinata K, Pezzuto JM, Kinghorn AD.
Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois, Chicago 60612.
By bioactivity-directed fractionation, five cytotoxic constituents have been characterized from the roots of Eurycoma longifolia collected in Kalimantan, Indonesia. Four canthin-6-one alkaloids, namely, 9-methoxycanthin-6-one, 9-methoxycanthin-6-one-N-oxide, 9-hydroxycanthin-6-one, and 9-hydroxycanthin-6-one-N-oxide, and one quassinoid, eurycomanone, were found to be cytotoxic principles. Each of these compounds was evaluated against a panel of cell lines comprising a number of human cancer cell types [breast, colon, fibrosarcoma, lung, melanoma, KB, and KB-V1 (a multi-drug resistant cell line derived from KB)] and murine lymphocytic leukemia (P-388). The canthin-6-ones 1-4 were found to be active with all cell lines tested except for the KB-V1 cell line. Eurycomanone was inactive against murine lymphocytic leukemia (P-388) but was significantly active against the human cell lines tested. Two additional isolates, the beta-carboline alkaloids beta-carboline-1-propionic acid and 7-methoxy-beta-carboline-1-propionic acid, were not significantly active with these cultured cells. However, compounds 5 and 7 were found to demonstrate significant antimalarial activity as judged by studies conducted with cultured Plasmodium falciparum strains. The structures of the novel compounds 2-4 and 7 were established by spectral and chemical methods.
PMID: 1800638 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Eurycoma Longifolia Complex the herbal remedy for erectile dysfunction impotence and fatique