An aqueous extract of Eurycoma longifolia (Tongkat Ali; TA) roots is traditionally used to enhance male sexuality. Because previous studies are limited to only few sperm parameters or testosterone concentration, this study investigated the in vivo effects of TA on body and organ weight as well as functional sperm parameters in terms of safety and efficacy in the management of male infertility. Forty-two male rats were divided into a control, low-dose (200 mg kg(-1) BW) and high-dose (800 mg kg(-1) BW) group (n = 14). Rats were force-fed for 14 days and then sacrificed. Total body and organ weights of the prostate, testes, epididymides, gastrocnemius muscle and the omentum were recorded. Moreover, testosterone concentration, sperm concentration, motility, velocity, vitality, acrosome reaction and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) were assessed. Whilst TA decreased BW by 5.7% (P = 0.0276) and omentum fat by 31.9% (P = 0.0496), no changes in organ weights were found for the prostate, testes and epididymides. Testosterone concentration increased by 30.2% (P = 0.0544). Muscle weight also increased, yet not significantly. Whilst sperm concentration, total and progressive motility and vitality increased significantly, MMP improved markedly (P = 0.0765) by 25.1%. Because no detrimental effect could be observed, TA appears safe for possible treatment of male infertility and ageing male problems.
Keywords: Body weight; Tongkat Ali; complementary medicine; sperm parameters; testosterone.
© 2013 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.