Maca root and Tongkat Ali are popular supplements often used to improve energy levels, but they work differently. Maca is a plant native to the Peruvian Andes and has been used for centuries as a food source and medicinal properties. Tongkat Ali is an herbal supplement derived from the root of a plant native to Southeast Asia.

Let’s explore the difference between these two supplements, their benefits, uses, and side effects.

Maca vs. Tongkat Ali: Differences

Maca root (Lepidium meyenii), also known as Ginseng Andin, Peruvian Ginseng, Lepidium meyenii, or Lepidium peruvianum, is related to radish. It is native to the upper plateaus of the Andes Mountains, where it can be found growing wild.

The root is used for various ailments, including infertility, weak bones, and memory loss, and is used as a dietary supplement. Andean people have cultivated Maca for centuries. Recently, maca has been more widely available at health food stores.

On the other hand, the Tongkat Ali plant, also known as Eurycoma longifolia, is a tall evergreen shrub tree that is frequently found in Southeast Asia. It’s a protected species that has been used as an aphrodisiac.

Tongkat Ali is purported to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), male infertility, and increase sexual desire in healthy people, and improve athletic performance, although there is no scientific evidence to back up most of these claims.

Using Maca Root and Tongkat Ali Together

You can take Tongkat Ali and Maca together to boost their effects. Since they both have similar effects on energy levels, you can take them together to improve energy and stamina.

Maca Root vs. Tongkat Ali Benefits 

There are several benefits to taking Maca root and Tongkat Ali. Let’s take a closer look at each one below.

1. Increases Libido

The most well-known effect of Maca root and Tongkat Ali is their ability to boost libido. According to some research, taking 1.5 to 3 grams of maca daily may improve libido. [1] Maca root can also improve sexual performance in postmenopausal women taking an antidepressant. Taking 3 grams of maca root daily for 12 weeks resulted in a substantial increase in libido and sexual performance compared to taking a placebo. [2]

Tongkat Ali may also help boost libido by increasing testosterone levels. According to research on older men, a dose of 200 milligrams daily can dramatically boost testosterone levels to normal values in more than 90%. [3]

Nonetheless, researchers cautioned that the sample sizes of the included studies were modest and that the available information was insufficient to draw definitive conclusions. Although these findings are encouraging, it warrants further studies to see if Maca helps with low libido or sexual dysfunction.

2. Improves Fertility

There is evidence that Maca Root and Tongkat Ali can improve fertility, particularly sperm quality in males. [4] While research on Maca Root is limited, there is a lot of evidence from animal studies showing that Tongkat Ali enhances sperm quality.

Taking 200 milligrams (mg) of Tongkat ali extract daily can help enhance sperm concentration significantly and motility after 3 months. [5]

Taking 300 mg of Tongkat Ali extract daily has been shown to increase sperm volume and motility by an average of 18% and 44%, respectively, in 12 weeks. [6]

These trials suggest that Tongkat Ali can be used as a treatment for low testosterone and infertility in some men, but a more thorough investigation is required.

3. Increase Muscle Strength

Maca root, and Tongkat Ali are supplements by certain athletes and bodybuilders because of their purported ability to boost energy and performance. Tongkat Ali, however, seems to show this benefit more clearly. It includes chemicals that may help your body use energy more effectively, minimize tiredness, and enhance endurance. [7] It may also help increase strength and aid body strength development and lean body mass. [8]

4. Increase Male Erection Time and Hardness

Both Maca Root and Tongkat Ali may help improve sexual arousal and erectile dysfunction in men. There is evidence that both Maca root and Tongkat Ali can benefit men with erectile dysfunction and general sexual health. [9] [10] However, more efficacy trials are needed to back up the present data, even though many studies support this claim.

5. Improves Mood, Reduces Stress, and Premenopausal Symptoms

Both substances have positive effects on mood and stress levels. Maca includes flavonoids, which can enhance mood and decrease anxiety. Studies done on postmenopausal women who suffer from depression provide clear evidence of this finding. Some women reported relief in symptoms, suggesting an effect on hormone levels. [11]

On the other hand, Tongkat Ali has been found to lower cortisol levels, making it a promising treatment option for modern stress, insomnia, and physical exertion. Additionally, it can reduce stress, irritability, and tension. [12]

Maca vs. Tongkat Ali: Which is Better?

Maca and Tongkat Ali are both effective in their ways. Because each supplement has different sets of benefits, they both work differently. Both are good for increasing libido, improving mood, and boosting fertility. However, when it comes to improving physical performance and strength, Tongkat Ali takes the lead. More studies are needed to compare the two supplements to determine which is more effective.

Maca vs. Tongkat Ali Side Effects 

Maca is safe for consumption with no known side effects. However, because of its hormonal effects, those who have thyroid issues should avoid taking Maca root. It is also best to avoid using Maca when receiving therapies that alter hormone levels, such as breast cancer treatments.

On the other hand, there have been no known negative effects from the limited human research on Tongkat Ali. In addition, the supplement’s safety over extended durations of usage is unknown because no research has been conducted on this topic. [12]

Furthermore, no studies have been conducted on the effects of Tongkat Ali and Maca root in children or pregnant or nursing women. Therefore, the remedy’s potential safety for these groups has not been established.

It’s always best to consult with your primary care physician for direction before beginning to use any kind of dietary supplement as part of your regular regimen.

Maca vs. Tongkat Ali Ali Dosage 

Maca root is available in capsule and powder form, here are its recommended dosage:

IndicationDosage
Nutritionists’ daily dosage: 500 mg – 600 mg daily
Improving libido and sperm quality:1,500 mg – 3,000 mg daily
Menopause symptoms: 2,000 mg daily
For powder form: 1 teaspoon daily,  working up to a maximum dose of 3 to 6 teaspoons daily

The above dosage guide is only the general recommendation. It’s best to follow the dosage given on the Maca supplement you’re taking or as directed by your healthcare provider. The appropriate dosage for any individual is determined by hormone levels, weight, diet, and health benefits.

For healthy adults above 18, the daily suggested dose of Tongkat Ali is between 150 mg and 200 mg. But for more reliable progress in certain areas, try following this Tongkat Ali dose guidance. It’s a great way to track your progress toward your own health goals.

IndicationPurpose
Lean muscle development:200 mg – 400 mg daily
Sports and anaerobic exercises:200 mg to 400 mg daily 
Bodybuilding supplement: 400 mg – 600 mg daily
Erection and Testosterone:200 mg – 400 mg daily
Sperm motility & concentration:200 mg – 300 mg daily
Immune system:100 mg – 200 mg daily

You can take Maca root and Tongkat Ali together or separately. If you are taking them together, starting with a lower dose of each supplement and increasing the dosage gradually over time is important. This will help you to find the optimal dose for your individual needs.

Maca vs. Tongkat Ali: Bottomline

So, which is better? Maca root and Tongkat Ali both have their unique benefits. Both supplements are said to improve energy levels, but they work differently. Maca root is more effective in improving mood and fertility. Tongkat Ali is better for boosting physical performance and strength. Both are said to be safe with no known side effects.

However, more research is needed to learn about its long-term safety and adverse effects. Ultimately, the choice of which supplement to take is a personal decision. Speak with your healthcare provider to discuss which supplement is right for you.

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References And Fact-Checking

  • G. F. Gonzales, et.al. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men. 11 December 2002. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1439-0272.2002.00519.x. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1046/j.1439-0272.2002.00519.x.
  • Dording CM, Schettler PJ, Dalton ED, Parkin SR, Walker RS, Fehling KB, Fava M, Mischoulon D. A double-blind placebo-controlled trial of maca root as treatment for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction in women. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:949036. doi: 10.1155/2015/949036. Epub 2015 Apr 14. PMID: 25954318; PMCID: PMC4411442.
  • Tambi MI, Imran MK, Henkel RR. Standardised water-soluble extract of Eurycoma longifolia, Tongkat ali, as testosterone booster for managing men with late-onset hypogonadism? Andrologia. 2012 May;44 Suppl 1:226-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0272.2011.01168.x. Epub 2011 Jun 15. PMID: 21671978.
  • Lee MS, Lee HW, You S, Ha KT. The use of maca (Lepidium meyenii) to improve semen quality: A systematic review. Maturitas. 2016 Oct;92:64-69. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2016.07.013. Epub 2016 Jul 21. PMID: 27621241.
  • Tambi MI, Imran MK. Eurycoma longifolia Jack in managing idiopathic male infertility. Asian J Androl. 2010 May;12(3):376-80. doi: 10.1038/aja.2010.7. Epub 2010 Mar 29. PMID: 20348942; PMCID: PMC3739276.
  • Ismail SB, Wan Mohammad WM, George A, Nik Hussain NH, Musthapa Kamal ZM, Liske E. Randomized Clinical Trial on the Use of PHYSTA Freeze-Dried Water Extract of Eurycoma longifolia for the Improvement of Quality of Life and Sexual Well-Being in Men. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:429268. doi: 10.1155/2012/429268. Epub 2012 Nov 1. PMID: 23243445; PMCID: PMC3518798.
  • Khanijo T, Jiraungkoorskul W. Review Ergogenic Effect of Long Jack, Eurycoma Longifolia. Pharmacogn Rev. 2016 Jul-Dec;10(20):139-142. doi: 10.4103/0973-7847.194041. PMID: 28082797; PMCID: PMC5214558.
  • Henkel RR, Wang R, Bassett SH, Chen T, Liu N, Zhu Y, Tambi MI. Tongkat Ali as a potential herbal supplement for physically active male and female seniors–a pilot study. Phytother Res. 2014 Apr;28(4):544-50. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5017. Epub 2013 Jun 11. PMID: 23754792.
  • Kotirum S, Ismail SB, Chaiyakunapruk N. Efficacy of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) on erectile function improvement: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Complement Ther Med. 2015 Oct;23(5):693-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2015.07.009. Epub 2015 Jul 31. PMID: 26365449.
  • Lee MS, Lee HW, You S, Ha KT. The use of maca (Lepidium meyenii) to improve semen quality: A systematic review. Maturitas. 2016 Oct;92:64-69. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2016.07.013. Epub 2016 Jul 21. PMID: 27621241.
  • Stojanovska L, Law C, Lai B, Chung T, Nelson K, Day S, Apostolopoulos V, Haines C. Maca reduces blood pressure and depression, in a pilot study in postmenopausal women. Climacteric. 2015 Feb;18(1):69-78. doi: 10.3109/13697137.2014.929649. Epub 2014 Aug 7. PMID: 24931003.
  • Talbott SM, Talbott JA, George A, Pugh M. Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 May 26;10(1):28. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-28. PMID: 23705671; PMCID: PMC3669033.

Shaira is a licensed pharmacist (Bachelor of Pharmacy) and an experienced content writer. She enjoys inspiring and informing her readers through research-backed, comprehensive health content. Shaira draws from her personal experience working with real-life patients in a hospital setting and is currently pursuing her passion in writing.