Five updates this week, four of which are testosterone boosting herbs. As we are aiming to eventually get all testosterone boosters in this database, we even need to compile information about the obscure ones.
Hibiscus Macranthus and Basella Alba are two testosterone boosting herbs that have traditionally been used in conjunction with each other (2:1 ratio). In vitro, it appears Basella Alba is the active ingredient for most testosterone boosting purposes (with Hibiscus being less potent, but possible still being relevant; both are understudied). The best information we can currently get from these two is that Basella Alba is also known as Indian Spinach and is sometimes used as a food product; there may be a testosterone boosting vegetable in your specialty grocery store.
Maca is the first 'Testosterone Booster' with sketchy research, and to start things off Maca does not boost testosterone; in fact it doesn't appear to influence any hormones and can be currently deemed 'non-hormonal'. It does act as an aphrodisiac (both genders) and increases the production of sperm and possibly testicular size secondary to that; this is the common combination of subjective feelings that lead many people to think that they have increased testosterone (larger testicles, feeling more confident; false attribution to increased testosterone)
It appears to be a promising herb, if not just a nice veggie to eat. The sketchy research comes in when we look at the ability of Maca to suppress prostate growth. It is claimed that Red Maca (not other forms) suppresses growth to a degree greater than finasteride; an incredible claim. However, these studies all originate from Peru which is the sole producer of Maca (possible economic bias similar to that possibly occurring with Policosanol) and the molecule they attributed this to doesn't actually differ between colors of Maca when the effects supposedly do. The research needs to be replicated outside of Peru.
Eurycoma Longifolia Jack (Longjack, Tongkat Ali, Malaysian Ginseng) is the other testosterone booster with mixed results. It seems effective to increase testosterone in a model of testicular damage or suppressed testosterone levels (which is a common mechanisms to be honest, a lot of herbs do this) but has not been shown to increase testosterone levels beyond that. Many studies claim it does in their introductions, where they cite Dr.Tambi and his numerous presentations and conferences where these results are apparently seen. These studies cannot be accessed online (bad) and there is no current literature supporting these claims (also bad), although Dr.Tambi does not appear to be involved in any Eurycoma patents and a conflict of interest cannot be proven (good).
That being said, some preliminary and not overtly biased research suggests Eurycoma's main bioactive (Eurycomanone) can be anti-estrogenic with a potency similar to Tamoxifen, which is sort of like Maca's claim to outperform finasteride in that it is a very incredible claim. These findings need to be replicated in a living model, but they are promising.
(Finally, we have updated the HMB page. Boring to be honest, HMB is a metabolite of leucine and is one of the molecules leucine is oxidized to and works through; the supplementation of HMB appears to be very similar to supplementation of Leucine except with a higher pricetag)
If you are looking for more specifics on what to take, check out our increasing testosterone supplements stacks, which breaks down what works (and what doesn't work).