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Keywords: Tongkat Ali, Characteristic, chemical composition
Tongkat Ali（Eurycoma longifolia） is an Eurycoma plant of the Simaroubaceae family. It is called Malaysian ginseng, native ginseng, and natural Viagra in its place of origin. It is often root-based and has anti-cancer and anti-malarial diseases and the effects of improving male sexual dysfunction are widely distributed in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Tongkat Ali is also known as the three national treasures of Malaysia along with bird's nest and tinware.Also, its extracts have many functions such as improving physical strength, reducing fatigue, sterilizing, anti-ulcer, lowering blood pressure and treating diabetes. It is one of the most precious applied botanical drugs in Southeast Asia.
1. Biological characteristic
Tongkat Ali is a casuarina with a height of 4 to 6 m and a maximum of 18 m. The trunk is unbranched and dioecious. Leaves nearly leathery, oddly pinnately compound, spirally arranged at the top of the trunk, 20 to 40 am long. The base of the petiole is swollen, and the leaf marks are obvious after shedding. Lobules 5 to 15 pairs, opposite, obovate-lanceolate,Sessile or nearly sessile. Panicles axillary, flowers small, petals 5, isolated. Drupe, oval or round, 1 to 3 cm long, 0.5 to 1.2 am wide, green, red to black after maturity, very bitter taste. The roots are not forked, and the depth of up to 2 m in the ground. Flowering from June to July, fruiting from August to September.
The whole plant of Tongkat Ali can be used as medicine, but the medicinal part is mainly derived from the root. It has been used as a traditional medicine and tonic in Southeast Asia for hundreds of years. It can be used as a single-drug or as an important medicine in the prescription. So far, the original plant used as a medicinal material Tongkat Ali has E. Longifolia, E. Longifolia subsp. Eglandulosa, Entomophthora apiculata, Polyathia bullata, etc., these plants have different degrees of morphological differences, although there are some similar effects, but the most commonly used and widely recognized is E. Longifolia.
Tongkat Ali breeds seeds in the natural environment, the seed germination rate is low and the time required for germination is long. The plants after germination grow slowly, and the fruit is cultivated for 2~3 years, and the ripening period is generally more than 5 years. The maturity period will take about 25 years. Therefore, the regeneration of the wild resources of Tongkat Ali cannot meet the large demand of the market. Most of the Tongkat Ali is harvested after 4 years of cultivation and is used for commercial purposes.
2. Ecological characteristics
Tongkat Ali is mainly distributed in Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam, and there are sporadic distributions in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, the Philippines, and Singapore. The suitable ecological environment is moist acidic sandy soil, which is mostly born in beach forests below 700 m above sea level, native or secondary forests, and often mixed with Dipterocarpaceae forest or Eficaceae forest.
Asiah et al. used SNP molecular marker technology to conduct a preliminary study on the genetic diversity of Tongkat Ali, using five geographical populations in Malaysia: island population Langkawi, artificially cultivated population Melaka, seaside population Johor, low-lying population Pahang and forest population Terengganu. The results showed that Tongkat Ali has a high genetic diversity, and SNP molecular markers can effectively identify the origin of Tongkat Ali, providing some basic information for the breeding, introduction and domestication, planting and conservation of this plant. Although genetic diversity is not the primary condition for limiting the growth of Tongkat Ali, the genetic structure of populations with gene flow as the main controlling factor is likely due to geographic location as the degree of fragmentation of wild Tongkat Ali habitat is aggravated by human disturbance. The increase will produce a large difference, eventually forming a reproductive barrier and blocking the exchange of genes between the groups, resulting in a decline in genetic diversity. Therefore, the protection of Tongkat Ali's native habitat and the prohibition of felling are the primary protections. At the same time, as far as ex-situ conservation is concerned, it should be introduced from different growth areas as much as possible to maximize its genetic diversity.
3. Chemical composition
Tongkat Ali belongs to the family of bitter wood, and there are more than 200 kinds of plants in the world. Tongkat Ali has attracted extensive attention because of its remarkable anti-cancer and anti-malarial effects. The chemical constituents isolated from different organs of Tongkat Ali were mainly diterpenoids and can thin-6-one alkaloids of quassinoid skeleton, such as eurycomaoside, eurycolactone, eurycomalactone, eurycomanone, and pasakbumin-B. Besides, it also contains biphenyl lignin, squalene derivatives and the like.
The Terpene contained in Tongkat Ali are mainly composed of dioxins of the quassinoid skeleton, which are synthesized by the triterpene degradation pathway and found in roots and leaves. Jiwajinda et al. separated from the leaves of the eastern leather of 7 kinds of bitter-wood-flavor compounds, which are loliactone, 6-dehydrolo-nilactone, 11-dehydroklaineanone, 12-epi-dehydroklaineanone, 15β-hydroxyklaineanone, 14,15β-dihydroxyklainean-one , 15-β-O-acetyl-14-hydmxyklajneanone, such compounds have anticancer and antiparasitic effects. Tada et al. Separated four kinds of Quassinoids in Tongkat Ali root: pasak bumin-A, pasak bumin-B, pasak bumin-C, and pasak bumin-D, of which pasak bumin-A (eurycomanone) and pasak bumin-B has an anti-ulcer effect. Hou et al. also discovered a new glycine-type triterpenoid compound 23,24,25-trihydroxytirucall -7-en-3,6-dione in Tongkat Ali. Chan et al. extracted a lignin glycoside eurycomanol-2-O-β-Dglycopyranoside from Tonga Ali root, and the research showed an antimalarial effect. Kuo et al., the first time to separate the four kinds of Lignoigne compounds: eurycomalide A, eurycomalide B, 13β,21-dihydroxyeurycomanoland, and 5α，14β，15β．Trihydmxyklainean- One.
The alkaloids in Tongkat Ali are mainly canthin-6-one alkaloids, which are found in roots, stems and branches. Mitsunaga et al. separate five new canthin-6-one alkaloids from the stem segments and branches of Tongkat Ali: 9,10-dimethoxycanthin -6-one, 10-hydroxy-9-me-thoxycanthin-6 -one, 11 -hydroxy-10-methoxycanthin-6 -one, 5,9-dimethoxycanthin-6-one and 9-methoxy-3- methylca-nthin-5,6-dione, whose biological activity remains to be further studied. Hou et al. obtained two novel can-thin-6-one alkaloids in the extraction of Tongkat Aligan extract, namely 4,9-dimethoxy-canthin-6-one and 10-hydroxy-11-methoxycanthin-6- One.
3.3 Volatile Material
Shafiqul and other gas chromatography-mass spectrometry technologies successfully separated nine volatile substances from powders and crude extracts from different parts of Tongkat Ali: curcumene, massoilactone, 3-Phenoxy-1-propanol, octanoic acid, benzoic, Acetic acids, menthol, 2-Phe- noxyethanol, 4-Ethynyl-4-hydroxy-3, 5,5-trimethyl-2-cyclohex-1-enone. This is the first time that some scholars have separated the volatile substances in Tongkat Ali for analysis, but no one has yet tested them for biological activity.
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