Popular but illegal: Legal certainty on the horizon for Tongkat ali extract?

By Annie Harrison-Dunn contact

- Last updated on GMT

Traditionally boiled down and made into a tonic for aphrodisiac effects, virility and energy, Tongkat ali is sometimes referred to as ‘nature’s Viagra’. ©iStock/MaxRomantiQ
Traditionally boiled down and made into a tonic for aphrodisiac effects, virility and energy, Tongkat ali is sometimes referred to as ‘nature’s Viagra’. ©iStock/MaxRomantiQ

Related tags: Coffee

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) is seeking feedback on a novel food application for Tongkat ali extract, a process which could lift a formal EU ban on the ingredient which is being sold online regardless.

Tongkat ali is an extract from the root of the small tree Eurycoma longifolia​which is widely consumed as a beverage in South East Asia where brands like Nestlé, Power Root and Ali Cafe market products legally.

The extract has also been marketed in the US for 13 years without reports of harmful effects, according to the application from Biotropics Malaysia Berhad​, which sells the botanical under the brand name Physta. 

In the EU however it is classified as an unauthorised novel food.

However according to Dr Luca Bucchini, managing director of Hylobates Consulting in Rome, this hasn’t stopped products containing the botanical from circulating in the bloc.

Sold despite ban 

“Some EU-based e-commerce retailers have several products with the ingredient, despite the formal ban,”​ he told us.

Indeed the EU’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) shows a case as recently as last week rejected at the border as a result of this novel food status.

‘Nature’s Viagra’

Traditionally boiled down and made into a tonic for aphrodisiac effects, virility and energy, the botanical is sometimes referred to as ‘nature’s Viagra’.

In women it is traditionally used after childbirth to regain strength.

Biotropics Malaysia Berhad’s application seeks approval for Tongkat ali root extract as an ingredient in beverages including coffee and teas and sports and energy drinks as well as in chocolate, confectionery, cereal bars, products for special nutritional use and food supplements.

Physta
Biotropics Malaysia Berhad sells the botanical under the brand name Physta. 

In food matrices doses would range from 50 to 75 mg per serving and in food supplements up to 200 mg per day.

Comments on the application must be sent to the UK's FSA by 23 September 2016.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

 Furosap® - An Innovative Approach to Men's Health

Furosap® - An Innovative Approach to Men's Health

Chemical Resources (CHERESO) | 04-Jun-2018 | Case Study

FUROSAP®, a natural extract is versatile in men’s health goals. It contains protodioscin (20%), which promotes healthy testosterone levels as well as healthy...

Learn how Neumentix™ works for active consumers

Learn how Neumentix™ works for active consumers

Kemin Human Nutrition & Health | 22-May-2018 | Technical / White Paper

New clinical trial data revealed Neumentix improved young recreationally active participants’ cognitive and physical performance after 30 days of supplementation...

Customized Fill Release in Gelatine Soft Capsules

Customized Fill Release in Gelatine Soft Capsules

Gelita AG | 21-May-2018 | Technical / White Paper

From rapid release in the stomach for e.g. analgesics to enteric release for fills with unpleasant aftertaste – GELITA delivers the respective gelatine...

Top Sports Nutrition Trends and Formulas

Top Sports Nutrition Trends and Formulas

Sabinsa Corporation | 14-May-2018 | Data Sheet

Today sports nutrition is one of the most promising sectors of the dietary supplement industry. Evolving from an “athletes only” category to include people...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Featured Events

View more

Products

View more

Webinars