Eurypeptides and
bogus science
:
I have been writing about tongkat ali long before it was popular, for some 10 years, and I do feel some responsibility for the reputation of this marvelous herb. More...

German version


Scientific articles on tongkat ali
Phytochemicals and the breakthrough of traditional herbs in the management of sexual dysfunctions
  Simplified Chinese: 治疗性功能障碍的植物化学及传统草药的突破
Effects of Eurycoma longifolia Jack on sexual qualities in middle aged male rats
  Simplified Chinese: 东革阿里 (Eurycoma longifolia Jack) 对中年雄鼠性能力的作用
Effect of Eurycoma longifolia Jack on orientation activities in middle-aged male rats
  Simplified Chinese: 东革阿里对中年雄鼠目标性活动的效果
Eurycoma longifolia Jack enhances libido in sexually experienced male rats
  Simplified Chinese: 东革阿里能增强有性经验的雄鼠的性欲
Eurycoma longifolia Jack enhances sexual motivation in middle-aged male mice
  Simplified Chinese: 东革阿里加强了中年雄鼠的性动机
Effects on sexual performance
Cytotoxic and antimalarial constituents from the roots of Eurycoma longifolia
  Simplified Chinese: 提取自东革阿里树根的细胞毒活性成分和抗疟药物成分台湾台南省国立成功大学化学系
In vitro antimalarial activity of quassinoids from Eurycoma longifolia against Malaysian chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum isolates
  Simplified Chinese: 分离自东革阿里的二萜类化合物对马来西亚抗氯奎恶性疟原虫

  

What are the active ingredients of tongkat ali



I understand that in recent months, a Malaysian producer of tongkat ali extract has heavily promoted their product with claims of a scientific standardization.


Lj100 WILL NOT raise Testosterone

As if this were of scientific relevance, they stated that their product is composed of 40% glycosaponins, 22% eurypeptides and 30% polysaccharides.

Judging from the wide circulation of their product, it seems to be easy indeed to fool people by using scientific-sounding terms.

The active components of tongkat ali (Eurycoma longifolia Jack) have of course been scientifically established.

There is an excellent, impartial, not product-oriented scientific source on the Internet:

http://content.nhiondemand.com/moh/media/monoHerb.asp?objID=101048&ctype=herb&mtyp=1

You can debunk yourself the pseudoscience of “40% glycosaponins, 22% eurypeptides and 30% polysaccharides”.

To start with, do the following:

On your browser, load the page:
http://content.nhiondemand.com/moh/media/monoHerb.asp?objID=101048&ctype=herb&mtyp=1

Using Internet Explorer, click Edit / Find and run a search for the following terms, one by one: glycosaponins, saponins, eurypeptides, peptides, polysaccharide.

Only the term “polysaccharide” is found on the page, listing the active components of Eurycoma longifolia Jack (tongkat ali), but NOT as an active chemical. A polysaccharide has been used to induce fever in lab animals on which the fever-lowering effect of tongkat ali was tested.

So what are “40% glycosaponins, 22% eurypeptides and 30% polysaccharides”?

Let’s start with “eurypeptides” because that was the term I didn’t know when I first red the claims made by the Malaysian tongkat ali producer. It was also the term that made me suspicious in the first place.

When you run a general Google search for “eurypeptides”, thousands of pages are offered. However, they all seem to refer only to the LJ 100 extract.

Google also offers a search engine specific for scientific publications.

The URL is:

http://scholar.google.com/

Try a search for “eurypeptides” and you will find that the term doesn’t exist in the scientific publications searched by Google.

You can also try your search on Medline, the huge website of the US National Library of Medicine. The Medline website is:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi

The result is the same: no reference to “eurypeptides”.

It’s obvious that “eurypeptides” is a made-up word. Sounds good, though. Reminds of neuropeptides, which indeed have a very important biochemical functions in the human body.

But eurypeptides?

OK, how about glycosaponins? “Glyco-“ basically means sugar, and indeed, many chemical substances can be combined with sugars, and they are then referred to as glyco-somethings.

Saponins are found in many plants. The term, however, isn’t very specific. Basically, it means that the substance is somehow soapy. If you want to know more about saponins in general, look at this page on Google:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=define%3Asaponin&btnG=Google+Search

Now, is the Sugar-Soap which the promoters of LJ100 tout as doing the LJ100 magic more real than the eurypeptides?

Try to search on Medline and Google Scholar.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi
http://scholar.google.com/

It’s 0 hits on Medline, and just 1 hit on Google Scholar (though the referred to page does not contain the term).

But even if glycosaponins is an existing, albeit rare, term, I doubt its relevance in the evaluation of active components of tongkat ali extract, simply because it contains no specific reference to tongkat ali.

You can check again the following page for how chemical names sound that are specific to an active ingredient found in a single plant:

http://content.nhiondemand.com/moh/media/monoHerb.asp?objID=101048&ctype=herb&mtyp=1

And now for the third scientific term that has been used in connection with the marketing of LJ100:

“30% polysaccharides”

You know what polysaccharides are: sugars that are too heavy to be sweet: starch, cellulose, and the like.

If you want to know it more precisely, check this Google link:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=define%3Apolysaccharide&btnG=Search

If the claim is serious, does it mean that their extract is 30 percent cellulose?

The manufacturers probably realized that the “30% polysaccharides” reference didn’t really support their claim to have a superior standardized extract. I didn’t see it when I checked their site while writing this article. However, a Google search for LJ100 brings up many marketing sites that still list the “30% polysaccharides”.

In spite of, or probably because of, the pseudoscience applied in its marketing, LJ100 today seems to be the most widely distributed tongkat ali product. It’s amazing that even a physician with a generally good knowledge of herbal medicines, Ray Sahelian, MD, has fallen for their tricks.

Please note: I do not find anything wrong with genuine tongkat ali. It definitely is the closest, nature has come to develop an aphrodisiac, as well as a supplement to increase muscle mass in men. Both effects have been established in genuine science.

However, the above-described case has added to my doubts on Malaysia as a source country for tongkat ali. Not only is tongkat ali a protected plant in Malaysia, and not only has Malaysian tongkat ali been found to have been contaminated with heavy metals. Malaysian companies have also been on record for spiking tongkat ali with bootleg pharmaceuticals. Compared to that, sales techniques like the one described in this article are still a minor issue.


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