Safety of Eurycoma longifolia (Tongkat Ali) root extract as a novel food pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283

Dominique Turck, Torsten Bohn, Jacqueline Castenmiller, Stefaan De Henauw, Karen Ildico Hirsch-Ernst, Alexandre Maciuk, Inge Mangelsdorf, Harry J. McArdle, Androniki Naska, Carmen Pelaez, Kristina Pentieva, Alfonso Siani, Frank Thies, Sophia Tsabouri, Marco Vinceti, Francesco Cubadda, Thomas Frenzel, Marina Heinonen, Miguel Prieto Maradona, Rosangela MarchelliMonika Neuhaeuser-Berthold, Morten Poulsen, Josef Rudolf Schlatter, Henk van Loveren, Leonard Matijevic, Helle Katrine Knutsen

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Nutrition, Novel Foods and Food Allergens (NDA) was asked to deliver an opinion on Eurycoma longifolia (Tongkat Ali) root extract as a novel food (NF) pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283. The NF is standardised water extract prepared from the dried ground root chips of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia Jack) and proposed by the applicant to be used as food supplement in amounts up to 200 mg/day. The target population is the adult population, except pregnant and lactating women. The characteristic components of the NF are glycosaponins (40-65%) and eurycomanone (0.8-1.5%). It can also contain canthin-6-one alkaloids and isoscopoletin (coumarin). The NF has been present in various international markets since 2009. The Panel notes positive results from the submitted in vitro chromosome aberration test, which indicates clastogenic properties of the NF. In the requested follow-up in vivo mammalian alkaline comet assay, the NF induced positive results at the highest dose tested (2,000 mg/kg body weight (bw)) at the tissues of the first site of contact (stomach and duodenum). Histopathological evaluation of the tested tissues indicated that the positive results of the comet assay were rather due to genotoxicity than cytotoxicity. Taken together, the Panel concludes that the NF has the potential to induce DNA damage, which is of concern, particularly locally for tissues that represent first sites of contact. The Panel concludes that the safety of NF has not been established under any condition of use.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere06937
Number of pages16
JournalEFSA Journal
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2021


  • Novel food
  • Eurycoma longifolia
  • water extract
  • food supplement
  • genotoxicity


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