You are probably familiarized with the tongkat ali extract ratios such as 50:1, 100:1 and 200:1. These ratios have been around for a few years and they represent the concentration of the final tongkat ali powder. Read on as I explain how these ratios came to existence, why you shouldn’t rely on them only and what’s the new hype around standardized tongkat ali products.
A Brief History of Tongkat Ali Extracts 50:1, 100:1 and 200:1
Tongkat ali has been used in Southeast Asia for hundreds of years, the traditional way to consume it is by making tea with tongkat ali roots. As tongkat ali gained popularity worldwide, some companies started developing tongkat ali supplements for easy administration. As competition grew, the market tendency was to use more raw material to produce a more concentrated powder. The assumption is that the more starting raw material is used, the more concentrated and hence the more effective is the final product. Therefore companies started using these ratios as the main marketing message to convince customers to purchase their products.
While this makes sense, in theory, the ratios have two major problems:
- You can’t verify them. A company might say that they make a 200:1 tongkat ali product while in fact, they use a 20:1 concentration. There is just no way for you to verify that what they say is true.
- The quality of the starting raw material and the extraction process can make a big difference in the effectiveness of the final product. For example, it is known that young tongkat ali trees have less active components than mature ones (hence some companies claim they only use roots that are 10 years old or older). Also, certain extraction methods damage the active components more than others. Because of this, the difference in effectiveness between different brands and between batches of the same brand can be very obvious.
Therefore a 200:1 tongkat ali extract obtained from poor quality raw material and suboptimal extraction method can be in fact less effective than a 50:1 tongkat ali extract obtained from a good quality raw material with a modern extraction method. Because of this, extract ratios are ultimately unreliable to predict product effectiveness.
More worrisome is perhaps the fact that some products sold as tongkat ali do not contain tongkat ali at all. A 2015 study conducted in Malaysia analyzed major tongkat ali brands and discovered that a shocking 41% of products did not contain any tongkat ali at all.