But what exactly does manliness constitute?
From a scientific point of view, testosterone is what makes men stronger and leaner than women. It is also the thing that contributes to their supposed virility. Naturally, it is assumed by many that the more testosterone you have, the more ‘manly’ you are.
Accordingly, men who lack in this department often look to alternatives like pills, gels, or even testosterone injections. Here in Southeast Asia, some men are also known to take traditional remedies to supplement their masculinity and sexual performance.
One such product is the root of Eurycoma Longifolia, better known as Tongkat Ali.
Yet as a millennial who believes wholeheartedly in the efficacy of modern Western medicine, I can’t deny that I’m at least a little bit curious.
With so many different Tongkat Ali products out there at hugely differing prices offering the same outcome, I realised that the only way to pass judgment on this was to actually measure the amount of testosterone coursing through my veins after taking it.
Walking into the clinic, I found myself lowering my voice as my insecurities surfaced. As they chuckled, the nurses told me that they’d never seen anyone as young as myself come for a testosterone test before.
Eventually, blood was drawn and the results came back within a day.
But of course, this was just my insecurities surfacing again. Objectively, I should only worry if I’m also experiencing symptoms such as a loss in sex-drive or a decrease of muscle mass.
And so I go on to purchase two Tongkat Ali products. I would then take each one for five days in a row to ensure a fair experiment.
The first product was one I found online. Dubious, I know. But if I were an insecure older man who believes in natural remedies, isn’t this exactly what I would do? While these tea bags usually cost $20, I got them for $5 because of an online-exclusive sale.
This increase seemed to only be reflected on paper. In reality, I felt no different than I normally would, although there was an extra bounce in my step and I did ten more pushups than I normally would’ve during my daily workout.
Dr Tay, a medical practitioner at a local hospital, told me that while my results were at a borderline low, there are a number of variables that can drive testosterone levels down. These include obesity, inherited conditions (undescended testicles, Klinefelter’s Syndrome), liver problems, the first being something that I suffer from.
Maybe Tongkat Ali isn’t that much of a myth after all.
I took four of the dark orange and black pills everyday. Two when I get up from bed, and two just before I turned in. After following the routine for five days, I did feel more energised than I normally would’ve. I walked into the clinic with an air of confidence as I took my final test.
Perhaps the direct consumption of the Tongkat Ali root powder was more effective than merely drinking it in tea-form.
Now if only a nuclear blast would wipe out the entire planet with the exception of one adult female and myself. Then I would finally get the chance to repopulate planet Earth within two decades. Heck, I might even get silver for my IPPT.
To conclude, Tongkat Ali has been taken for such a long time by so many people, and it seems almost churlish to just brush it off as a myth just because it has not been scientifically proven to work yet. It certainly worked for me. If I were to start experiencing symptoms of andropause in the future, I know that I would be turning to Ali’s Walking Stick to prop up my manhood.
And even if it doesn’t increase your testosterone levels, the placebo effect of taking Tongkat Ali might make it a worthwhile investment.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I feel like getting into a fight.