Tongkat Ali vs Shilajit
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Tongkat ali and Shilajit are both herbal remedies that have been used in the traditional systems of medicine to treat a variety of health conditions. Tongkat ali has the potential to improve testosterone levels, treat fever, relieve anxiety, and improve erectile dysfunction. While Shilajit is a remedy used to improve energy levels, relieve fatigue, treat Alzheimer’s disease, prevent early aging, and enhance male fertility.
This article details tongkat ali and Shilajit, their potential benefits, and possible risks or side effects associated with overconsumption.
What is Tongkat Ali?
Eurycoma longifolia or tongkat ali also known as longjack is a shrubby tree that originated in Southeast Asia. It is also grown in other regions of the world such as Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand.
Tongkat ali, which alludes to its aphrodisiac properties, is literally translated as "Ali's walking stick." Some claim that the "stick" refers to the plant's protracted, twisted roots, which some tribes use for medicine. E. longifolia is also referred to as Long Jack, Malaysian ginseng, and Ali's Umbrella.
Tongkat ali in particular possesses flavonoids, alkaloids, and other substances that function as antioxidants. Compounds that neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals and protect the cells from damage. They might also have additional positive effects on your health.
Health Benefits of Tongkat Ali
The majority of tongkat ali's purported health benefits are not well researched, however, some study points to the possibility that it can treat male infertility, elevate mood, and build muscle.
Can Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Tongkat ali contains bioactive compounds that can reduce stress hormones and relieve the symptoms of stress and anxiety. According to a study, tongkat ali’s extract was as effective in reducing stress and anxiety as other anti-anxiety medications.
Possesses Anti-microbial and Anti-inflammatory Properties
Studies revealed that E. longifolia has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties which help relieve inflammation and infections. Research also concluded that tongkat ali’s extract is effective against some strains of bacteria including Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhi.
Can Boost Testosterone Levels
- longifolia has the potential to boost testosterone levels and enhance sexual performance and male fertility. A review study revealed that tongkat ali can increase sperm count and motility, semen volume, and sperm viability. It may also improve erectile dysfunction by increasing testosterone and dopamine levels.
Can Increase Athletic Performance
Tongkat ali has been used by athletes to improve exercise performance and develop muscle mass. E. longifolia contains bioactive compounds called quassinoids including eurycolactone, eurycomanone, and eurycomaoside which can boost energy levels and improve athletic performance. Studies also revealed that longjack can serve as ergogenic acid which helps improve energy levels and assist in body composition.
May Help Fight Cancer
Studies are being conducted on identifying compounds with potent anticancer properties. Quassinoides present in tongkat ali are powerful antioxidants that are effective against lung and cervical cancer.
Possible Risks or Side Effects
Besides a multitude of benefits, tongkat ali is associated with some side effects when consumed in larger doses. It is reported that consumption of an aqueous extract of tongkat ali at the dosage of 2000mg/kg body weight can lead to DNA damage in the stomach and duodenum tissues.
Some studies revealed that consumption of the alcoholic extract of tongkat ali at a dosage of 1500-2000mg/kg body weight was lethal in rats while other studies concluded that a dosage of over 3000 mg/kg causes adverse effects.
The safety of this herbal remedy is not studied in pregnant and lactating women and it is advised to avoid its consumption in children and pregnant and lactating women.
What is Shilajit?
Shilajit also known as mineral pitch and has been used in ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of illnesses. It is a black, tar-like sticky substance found in high mountain ranges. This substance is formed by the decomposition of plant matter and minerals for a long time and has beneficial effects on overall health and well-being.
Potential Benefits of Shilajit
Shilajit is a rich source of fulvic acid, humic acid, and other minerals which possess powerful health-promoting properties.
Increase Testosterone and Male Fertility
Decreased testosterone levels may lead to fertility problems and other health conditions including reduced sexual performance, fatigue, loss of hair, and reduced muscle mass.
In a study, 60 infertile men were instructed to consume Shilajit for 90 days and results showed a significant improvement in sperm count, sperm motility, and male fertility.
May Improve Brain Health
Shilajit is rich in antioxidant compounds, the most important of which is fulvic acid. By inhibiting the buildup of tau protein, this potent antioxidant promotes cognitive health. Although tau proteins are a crucial component of your neurological system, an accumulation can cause damage to brain cells. It is purported that Shilajit inhibits the synthesis of tau protein which may alleviate inflammation and reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. However, more research is required to evaluate the brain-protecting effects of Shilajit.
Can Relieve Fatigue
Studies revealed that Shilajit contains minerals essential for optimal body functioning, they can boost energy levels and reduce the symptoms of chronic fatigue. It works by improving cell functions and increasing energy levels in the body.
May Slow Aging
One of the main components of Shilajit, fulvic acid, has been shown in studies to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, it might aid in lowering the body's levels of free radicals and cellular damage—two important aspects of aging.
Shilajit supplementation daily may help some people live longer and slow the process of aging.
Can Prevent Iron Deficiency Anemia
Shilajit supplements contain minerals including iron which help reduce the risk of iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency anemia may result from a low-iron diet or the incapability of absorbing iron. Symptoms may include fatigue, headache, irregular heartbeat, and weakness.
According to a study, the administration of 500mg of Shilajit for 21 days resulted in increased hemoglobin and hematocrit levels in rats.
Can Prevent Viral Infections
Shilajit contains a variety of minerals and chemicals that may also aid in the prevention of viral infections. Shilajit was found to be capable of combating and eliminating a wide range of viruses, including certain herpes viruses.
While it does seem to be beneficial, researchers noted that more trials with live people are required to support these findings.
Possible Risks or Side Effects
Although the remedy is safe and well tolerated by people when consumed in recommended dosage. When used raw or unprocessed, it may lead to some health risks as in raw form it is contaminated with heavy metals and fungus, and other contaminants which make people ill.
It is advised not to use Shilajit in people with sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, high blood pressure, heart diseases, and hemochromatosis. You should quit using Shilajit if you feel dizziness, increased heart rate, and allergic symptoms.
Tongkat ali and Shilajit are herbal remedies used in traditional medicine systems to treat a broad spectrum of illnesses. They can improve energy levels, boost testosterone levels, improve sexual performance, and increase male fertility. These remedies can improve athletic performance and can be used as effective supplements to improve physical performance and muscle mass.