Choosing Between Tongkat Ali and Panax ginseng – A Comparative Guide for Australian Consumers

Choosing Between Tongkat Ali and Panax ginseng – A Comparative Guide for Australian Consumers

Tongkat Ali, also known as Malaysian ginseng, and Panax ginseng, commonly referred to as Asisn ginseng, stand out as two potent herbs extensively utilized by both men and women across Australia for their diverse health benefits. Originating from distinct tree families, each root harbors its own set of unique bioactive compounds, offering several potential health benefits. But which holds the upper hand? Should you opt for Tongkat Ali, Panax ginseng, or perhaps both?

The decision between Tongkat Ali and Panax ginseng, like most dietary supplements, largely hinges on your specific health goals and needs. This article will delve into the distinct advantages of each herb, underscoring when best to incorporate them, and how they may align with your individual health objectives.


Tongkat Ali, also known as Eurycoma Longifolia, is part of the Simaroubaceae family. It thrives in Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia where it is native to and harvested in the wild rainforests. Panax ginseng, meanwhile, is part of the Araliaceae family of plants. It is predominantly found in China, Korea, and North America where it is cultivated on open farms

While both herbs share many similarities, they also possess distinct characteristics. Knowing this can help you harness their unique health benefits effectively and when to opt for Tongkat Ali or Panax ginseng to attain specific health objectives.


Both Tongkat Ali and Panax ginseng share similarities in their composition, featuring bioactive compounds like saponins and polysaccharides. Despite these parallels, they diverge in several aspects.

From the 1970s to 2021, Tongkat Ali and Panax ginseng have collectively been the focus of over 600 clinical trials and research studies, reflecting their significance in traditional and modern medicine. Both Tongkat Ali and Panax ginseng offer health benefits to both men and women, showcasing their versatility and broad applicability across demographics. These herbal remedies come in various convenient forms, including tea, coffee, or capsules, making them accessible and adaptable to individual preferences and lifestyles.

Throughout history, both Tongkat Ali and Panax ginseng have been revered for their ability to promote overall health and vitality, a testament to their enduring popularity and efficacy in traditional practices and contemporary wellness routines.


Tongkat Ali boasts unique bioactive compounds such as eurycomanone and eurypeptides, which exert profound effects on testosterone and cortisol levels, surpassing those of Panax ginseng. Meanwhile, Panax ginseng is rich in ginsenosides, renowned for their diverse health benefits, particularly in promoting overall well-being and longevity.

When it comes to addressing erectile dysfunction (ED) symptoms and enhancing male fertility by boosting sperm concentration and motility, Tongkat Ali demonstrates greater efficacy compared to Panax ginseng. Conversely, Panax ginseng stands out for its ability to enhance brain function and act as a potent antioxidant, offering distinct advantages over Tongkat Ali in these areas.

To the inexperienced observer, both types of ginsengs may appear identical. On the left is an image of Tongkat Ali, while on the right is Panax ginseng.

Common Bioactive Ingredients in Tongkat Ali and Panax ginseng

While Tongkat Ali (Malaysian Ginseng) and Panax ginseng boast their own distinct bioactive components, research reveals they share key commonalities like saponins and polysaccharides, albeit in different concentrations. They both provide antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.


Saponins, commonly employed in vaccine formulations, generally work to modulate immune function. Research shows that saponins yield other benefits too, such as the ability to lower cholesterol levels, combat disease-causing bacteria, alleviate oxidative stress, and impede tumor growth.


Polysaccharides are complex carbohydrates utilized primarily for energy storage and cellular or tissue support. Research indicates that sulfate polysaccharides demonstrate various health benefits, such as immunomodulation, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties, including potential antiviral properties against viral infections like HIV, herpes, and hepatitis.

Comparing Saponins: Tongkat Ali vs. Panax ginseng

By the end of 2012, researchers have identified 289 saponins across eleven Panax ginseng species. These saponins typically constitute 2–3% of the plant's composition. The highest recorded extraction yield of saponin from Panax ginseng, achieved through freeze-drying and aqueous methods, stands at approximately 13.87% of the plant's dry weight. This finding was determined through chromatography testing conducted by Naturex (USA) at Labconco, USA.

Tongkat Ali: Richer Saponin Content, Greater Benefits Than Panax ginseng

Freeze-dried standardised hot-water Tongkat Ali root extract demonstrates levels far more significant, boasting saponins content of up to 48% based on chromatography tests. This places it among the most potent ginseng varieties available today. In comparison, Panax ginseng typically contains an average of up to 13.7% saponins. With Tongkat Ali's significantly higher saponins level it emerges as the clear winner in the Panax ginseng vs. Tongkat Ali debate. The elevated saponin content correlates with increased efficacy in delivering pharmacological health benefits.

Which is better?

Your choice between Tongkat Ali and Panax ginseng as a daily supplement depends largely on your individual health objectives. For example, Tongkat Ali is preferred for maintaining and boosting testosterone levels as well as libido enhancement. For women, research suggests that Tongkat Ali provides more pronounced benefits for compared to Panax ginseng.

As a versatile herbal supplement, Tongkat Ali surpasses Panax ginseng in supporting libido, aiding in weight loss, and enhancing muscle strength in both men and women. Additionally, Tongkat Ali has been found to be an effective antifungal agent to address vaginal candidiasis and promote vaginal health.

Testosterone: Tongkat Ali Trumps Ginseng

In contrast to Ginseng's negligible impact on testosterone levels, Tongkat Ali demonstrates significant testosterone-enhancing effects across various studies involving individuals aged 24 to 70, encompassing both men and women.

Heart Health: Ginseng Outperforms Tongkat Ali

Studies suggest that Ginseng may offer notable benefits for heart health. Evidence from human and animal studies indicates potential improvements in blood pressure, circulation, and cholesterol levels, potentially mitigating heart disease risk factors. Conversely, Tongkat Ali has been found in some pre-clinical studies to help with the widening of blood vessels and circulation, potentially benefitting heart health.

Side Effects: Ginseng Presents Higher Risk Compared to Tongkat Ali

Ginseng consumption has been associated with notable safety concerns dating back to 1978, with reported side effects ranging from mild to severe, including dizziness, headaches, anxiety, gastrointestinal discomfort, and more. In fact, about 35% of clinical trials have documented side effects associated with ginseng usage. Tongkat Ali, on the other hand, exhibits milder side effects such as mild stomach discomfort and insomnia, with most users reporting no adverse effects when adhering to recommended dosages.

Menopausal Health: Both Ginseng and Tongkat Ali Offer Benefits for Middle-Aged Women

Both Ginseng and Tongkat Ali are effective for supporting menopausal women's health. Research on both Tongkat Ali and Ginseng indicates they can help improve several peri-menopausal and menopausal symptoms including joint pain and hot flashes.

Erectile Dysfunction: Tongkat Ali Emerges as the Clear Winner

While Ginseng fails to show substantial effects on erectile dysfunction (ED), libido, or fertility, numerous studies on Tongkat Ali consistently demonstrate improvements in ED symptoms and sperm motility, quality, and quantity.
Antioxidants: Ginseng Packs More Antioxidant Power than Tongkat Ali

Research indicates that Ginseng boasts higher antioxidant levels, contributing to better human immunity. Conversely, clinical trials highlight Tongkat Ali's ability to enhance immunity through increased T-cell and CD4+ cell production.

Tongkat Ali Health Benefits

Tongkat Ali, rooted in Malaysian herbal practices for generations, has since been seamlessly integrated into various products, ranging from coffee to functional foods and supplements. Through extensive research and development, extraction techniques have enhanced its potency, versatility, and safety. Whether incorporated into daily routines or used as needed, Tongkat Ali offers convenience and efficacy.
Supported by robust clinical research, it has gained popularity among busy professionals and garnered favor among athletes seeking to enhance muscle growth and anaerobic performance.

1. Energy Booster:

Tongkat Ali offers a natural energy boost by balancing hormones, accelerating metabolism, and enhancing overall bodily functions. Its integration into pre-workout drinks with other Maca herbs remains a favored choice within the fitness community.

2. Healthy Weight Loss and Muscle Gain:

Popular among bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts, Tongkat Ali helps improve body composition by reducing helping the body burn fat and enhancing muscle mass. A clinical study in 2002 showcased its potential in this regard.

3. Stress Reduction:

Tongkat Ali is a natural and effective solution for stress relief. It works by reducing cortisol levels (−16%) and by increasing testosterone levels (+37%). Studies also demonstrate that supplementation can help improve several mood parameters, including for Tension (−11%), Anger (−12%), and Confusion (−15%)

4. Aphrodisiac Effects:

For centuries, Tongkat Ali has been used as a natural aphrodisiac. Clinical research indicates its ability to enhance male libido by elevating testosterone levels in the adrenal glands and testes, resulting in an 8.4% to 8.7% increase in libido and a remarkable 162% improvement in erection time and 39% in erection hardness.

5. Testosterone Booster:

Tongkat Ali aids in testosterone production by addressing any disruptions in the process, while also freeing up existing testosterone. Its key compound, 13-alpha epoxy Eurycomanone, has been shown to increase testosterone levels by up to 122% in women and 61% in men.

6. Male Fertility:

Men can benefit from Tongkat Ali with a 65% increase in sperm count and 58% improvement in sperm motility. A study involving 75 men who consumed 200mg daily for three months reported significant enhancements in sperm quality, with 15% experiencing pregnancies with their partners after.

Panax ginseng Health Benefits

For centuries, Panax ginseng, also known as Red Korean Ginseng, has been a staple in traditional Chinese medicine, renowned for its healing properties and health benefits. From mainland China, the tradition of harnessing Ginseng's therapeutic powers has spread far and wide.

Today, Ginseng tea is a ubiquitous presence, enjoyed by many as a daily dietary supplement. However, the potency of Ginseng can vary significantly from one supplement to another. Factors such as extraction techniques, extract purity, plant maturity, and soil quality play crucial roles in determining the effectiveness of the Ginseng extract.

1. Supports Longevity:

Ginseng has good potential as supplement that complements longevity. Historically, ginseng has been thought to prolong lifespan. Recently, several studies have shown that the components of ginseng can prolong the life span of experimental models in insects and animals. One study found that Ginseng supplementation life span of infant and juvenile mice with leukemia in a dose-dependent manner, with a limit of 20 mg/day

2. Enhances Erectile Function:

Research suggests that Panax ginseng may have only a minor impact on erectile dysfunction (ED). In a 2021 review of 9 studies, spanning 587 men, the results indicate only marginal improvements in erectile function with ginseng use. The review concludes that ginseng may offer some minor benefits in improving erectile function and self-reported ability to engage in intercourse, but its efficacy compared to other treatments and its effectiveness across different population subgroups remain uncertain and warrant further investigation.

3. Powerful Antioxidant:

Ginseng possesses potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Test studies indicate that Ginseng extracts can inhibit inflammation and enhance antioxidant capacity within cells.

4. Combats Depression and Anxiety:

Ginseng serves as an effective anti-stress remedy without inducing depressive phases, unlike caffeine. It's believed to increase adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) activity in the brain without engaging the adrenal glands, which are typically activated by ACTH.

5. Supports Cognitive Function:

Recent research explores the protective effects of pure Ginseng extract against toxins that impair physical mobility and neuron degeneration. One human clinical trial found that the oral administration of ginseng for 6 months has a positive effect on cognitive improvement, particularly on visual memory function.

6. Weight Loss:

Evidence suggests that Ginseng could aid in combating obesity by inhibiting appetite and preventing excessive food intake. Ginsenosides, its major active component, may improve leptin resistance and reduce the secretion of neuropeptide Y, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in stimulating appetite and promoting food intake.

Parting Words

In the comparison between Tongkat Ali and Panax ginseng, both herbs can offer unique benefits and play valuable roles in supporting the health and well-being for Australians. While Tongkat Ali demonstrates distinct advantages in areas such as testosterone, libido, and fertility, Panax ginseng also provides notable health benefits, including its potent antioxidant properties and potential longevity support.

Tongkat Ali's major benefits lie in its ability to significantly impact testosterone and cortisol levels, making it a promising option for individuals seeking support for men's health concerns like low testosterone, erectile dysfunction and fertility issues. Additionally, Tongkat Ali's role in promoting healthy weight management and effective mood regulation further highlights its versatility and effectiveness as a well-rounded herbal supplement.

Panax ginseng offers its own array of health benefits, including antioxidant effects and potential improvements in cognitive function and stress management. While its impact on testosterone levels and libido may not be as pronounced as Tongkat Ali, Panax ginseng remains a valuable option for individuals seeking overall health support and longevity benefits.

Ultimately, the choice between Tongkat Ali and Panax ginseng depends on individual health goals and preferences. Both herbs have been extensively studied and offer valuable contributions to holistic health and wellness. We hope that by understanding their unique properties and potential benefits, Australians can make better informed decisions to support their health and vitality effectively.

If you are interested in experiencing the clinically tested benefits of single-origin standardized hot-water Tongkat Ali extract, try our dose-optimized capsules, available anywhere in Australia.

Learn More or Contact Us

Learn more about the best Tongkat Ali in Australia here, or email us at if you have any queries or concerns.


Alief Acmal, a committed contributor to AKARALI, offers insightful narratives covering the realms of lifestyle, culture, and health-focused content in Malaysia. Through a blend of creativity and meticulous research, Alief provides a unique lens on various aspects of life. Immerse yourself in his compelling body of work for an enriching exploration.

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Annie George

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