The difference between Tongkat Ali vs Ashwagandha lies largely in the difference of research supporting any claims of testosterone boosting effects. There is a good amount of research available that shows ashwagandha boosts testosterone. However, there is not enough research on Tongkat Ali that shows the same effects.
What Is Tongkat Ali?
Tongkat Ali, frequently referred to as longjack or malaysian ginseng is a medicinal herb used commonly in Southeast Asia. The root extract from the plant is a traditional medicine for boosting testosterone levels, as well as reducing blood pressure, and various other symptoms. It’s purported testosterone-boosting properties have made it of interest to those looking to put on muscle and strength, but does it actually work?
As of right now, there is no hard evidence that supports the use of tongkat ali as a sports supplement. While there have been mixed results in studies examining the ergogenic effects of tongkat ali, overall it appears supplementation has minimal effects on performance.
Tongkat Ali’s purported benefits appear to be rooted more in tradition than scientific evidence. Overall, most of the studies conducted on Tongkat Ali have been done using animals. This leaves us with minimal data about both the effectiveness and overall safety of Tongkat Ali. While Tongkat Ali is likely safe for most people in moderate doses, those with existing health conditions should avoid it because of a lack of data.
While further research may show Tongkat Ali to be a beneficial sports supplement, because of the current lack of data, we can’t recommend its use for this purpose. While we can’t recommend it, be sure to do plenty of your own research if you’re interested in this supplement.
What Is Ashwagandha?
Similar to Tongkat Ali, Ashwagandha is an herbal medicine that has been used traditionally in different parts of the world (mainly Asia and Africa), for thousands of years. It has similar purported properties to Tongkat Ali such as boosted testosterone as well as an increase in libido. So, is Ashwagandha's use largely based on tradition rather than science, or is there real evidence to back up these claims?
Unlike Tongkat Ali, there is significant evidence in human-based studies to confirm that Ashwagandha supplementation does in fact boost testosterone levels. This evidence was collected in a 2020 systematic review of herbal supplements, which looked at 4 different studies on ashwagandha. 3 of the 4 studies showed significant increases in testosterone levels, making it one of the only herbal supplements available with such properties. It should be noted that Ashwagnadha likely increases testosterone because of its cortisol reducing properties and improving sleep time, quality and efficiency! Chronically elevated cortisol suppresses testosterone production. So, this means ashwagandha will likely produce the most significant results in stressed individuals with high cortisol levels.
In this systematic review, researchers made it clear that there is still not enough substantial evidence to make any definitive claims about the use of Ashwagandha for boosting testosterone. With this being said, these studies provide significantly more evidence to support the use of Ashwagandha as a sports supplement when compared with Tongkat Ali.
Studies have also shown that Ashwagandha is likely completely safe for human consumption. With this being said, if you have any pre-existing health conditions, you should still exercise caution when taking any supplement. Be sure to consult a doctor if you’re concerned about the potential negative effects of Ashwagandha supplementation.
All in all, there is a solid amount of research to back up Ashwagandha’s effectiveness and safety as a testosterone-boosting supplement. However, more research should be done before any definitive conclusions can be drawn.
Tongkat Ali vs Ashwagandha
While both supplements should be safe in moderate doses for most healthy people, there is significantly less evidence proving the safety of Tongkat Ali. While there is more evidence backing up Ashwagandha’s safety, it is still fairly limited. Because of this, we don’t recommend Tongkat Ali for anybody with pre-existing health conditions. Anybody with health problems interested in taking Ashwagandha should still exercise caution, or consult with a doctor before use.
Both of these supplements have been used traditionally for similar purposes (ie. boosting testosterone, increasing fertility, etc.), but there is much more scientific evidence to support the use of Ashwagandha. While there are some studies looking at Tongkat Ali’s potential as a sports supplement, results are mostly mixed. There are, however, multiple studies showing that Ashwagandha significantly boosts testosterone levels. While further research needs to be done before definitive conclusions are made about their effectiveness, as of right now, Ashwagandha is the more research-supported supplement.
Both supplements are incredibly cheap, and can be found for well under $0.50 per serving. For reference, the ashwagandha supplement we recommend from Transparent Labs is only $0.33 per serving.
Tongkat Ali vs Ashwagandha: Summary
Overall, while similar claims exist surrounding the benefits of ashwagandha and tongkat ali, only one of these supplements has solid scientific research backing up its effectiveness. Ashwagandha has been shown to increase testosterone levels across multiple studies, while there is little evidence to support these claims when it comes to Tongkat Ali. While both supplements are likely safe, there is more concern surrounding Tongkat Ali for lack of study in human trials.
While both supplements should be researched more before making any definitive claims, as of right now, there is much more research backing up the use of Ashwagandha over Tongkat Ali.
Pros/Cons of Tongkat Ali
Some studies have shown positive ergogenic effects through tongkat ali supplementation
Traditionally used to increase libido and testosterone, as well as to treat a wide variety of ailments
Could be better:
Minimal research has been done in humans to back up its efficacy and safety
It’s recommended that those with pre-existing health conditions avoid the supplement
Further research needs to be done to understand its effects on humans
Pros/Cons of Ashwagandha
Studies have shown that it’s effective in boosting testosterone levels
Studies have shown that it’s effective in reducing stress levels and anxiety
Can improve sleep time and quality
Shown to be safe for human consumption
Could be better:
Testosterone boosting properties likely aren’t enough to significantly affect performance
Further research needs to be done to substantiate any claims
Tongkat Ali vs Ashwagandha: When to Use Each?
Because of the reasons listed above, we cannot currently encourage the use of Tongkat Ali as a sports supplement. There is just not enough research to support either its efficacy or safety, which is why we currently recommend avoiding it.
While further research still needs to be done on Ashwagandha as well, it appears to be safe and effective in moderate doses. Based on the research, those looking to boost their testosterone with Ashwagandha should take 1 serving of 300-600mg daily for optimal results. If you have any pre-existing health conditions, or if you’re concerned about the potential risks of Ashwagandha, be sure to consult with a doctor before beginning supplementation.
Best Ashwagandha - KSM-66 Ashwagandha Extract - Transparent Labs
If you’re interested in trying out Ashwagandha, we recommend Transparent Labs’ KSM-66 Ashwagandha Extract.
In each serving, you can expect a solid 600mg dose of Ashwagandha Extract. Based on the studies that demonstrated increased testosterone levels from ashwagandha supplementation, this should be an optimal dose.
There are no additional ingredients in this supplement, making it perfect for seeing what effects Ashwagandha will have on you. Also, as with all of Transparent Labs formulas, there are no artificial ingredients in this formula whatsoever, meaning no artificial preservatives, coloring, or flavoring.
Also, as mentioned above, this is a very budget-friendly supplement. Each serving will only cost you around $0.33, making it a great option for those on any budget.
Overall, as long as you’re aware that there is still relatively minimal evidence supporting the use of Ashwagandha and you still want to try it out, this would be a great option.
How Does Tongkat Ali Work?
Is Tongkat Ali Ok to Take?
Is It Safe to Take Tongkat Ali Everyday?
Can I Take Tongkat Ali and Ashwagandha Together?
Overall, if you were considering taking ashwagandha or tongkat ali, we hope this article was able to clear up some of your questions. If you’re considering ashwagandha vs tongkat ali for testosterone boosting properties, we strongly recommend taking ashwagandha over tongkat ali. This is because there is significantly more evidence to back up both the safety and effectiveness of ashwagandha when compared to tongkat ali. For these reasons, we strongly recommend avoiding tongkat ali.
If you’re interested in taking ashwagandha, we recommend checking out Transparent Labs’ KSM-66 Ashwagandha Extract for a high-quality and affordable supplement.
Were you aware of the differences between ashwagandha vs tongkat ali? Do you have experience taking either of these herbal supplements? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
- Brady Holmer, "Tongkat Ali" Examine, https://examine.com/supplements/tongkat-ali/ (accessed April 26, 2023).
- "Can tongkat ali improve exercise performance?" Examine, http://surl.li/lbdhm (accessed April 26, 2023).
- Stephen J Smith, Adrian L Lopresti, Shaun Y M Teo, Timothy J Fairchild, "Examining the Effects of Herbs on Testosterone Concentrations in Men: A Systematic Review" National Library of Medicine, no. 2 (May 2021): 12(3): 744–765.
- Sachin Wankhede, Deepak Langade, Kedar Joshi, Shymal R. Sinha, Sauvik Bhattacharyya, "Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial" National Library of Medicine, no. 2 (2015): 10.1186/s12970-015-0104-9.
- Gene Bruno, Ashwaganha (Literature Education Series On Dietary Supplements, 2009), 15, https://www.huhs.edu/literature/Ashwaganda.pdf.
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