According to this source, testosterone boosters traditionally used in the egbobi herbal medicine of Nigeria’s Yoruba people, the testosterone boosting herb worked upon health issues not normally associated with one another: gum disease and testosterone production. Chewing sticks called miswak are fashioned from the herb, and are said to have an anti-microbial function like that advertised by mouthwashes and toothpastes. This fact is a point of some contention now, though, as one Lagos orthodontist’s reports from last year suggest that miswak sticks are detrimental to dental hygiene.
Does It Raise Testosterone?
As to the claims of testosterone enhancement, a liquid extract of the herb is the main ingredient in a supplement from USP Labs marketed as Pink Magic, which is marketed as an alternative to testosterone replacing steroid treatments (though, by its own admission, is “not as strong” as such treatments.) It is also known by its Yorubic names of pako ijebu or orin ijebu, names which are also useful to know if one is conducting personal research on this herb.
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The present-day ‘buzz’ over Massularia Acuminata may have something to do with a study published in 2008 and widely distributed since. As with many studies of this type, it was conducted close to where the herb originated as a component of folk medicine, with the purpose of confirming its value to ‘Western’ medicine as well: the Medicinal Plants Research Laboratory in Ilorin, Nigeria, was the site of this possibly groundbreaking research. In this study, “androgenic potential … which may stimulate male sexual maturation and enhance normal testicular function” was identified after dosing male rats with liquid extract over a three-week period. The increase in androgenic activity was assumed to be a function of phytochemicals within massularia, i.e. those chemicals in the plant that otherwise cause its coloration – antioxidants are one such class of phytochemicals that have a useful role in human nutrition and metabolic regulation.
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Massularia is still a rather new entry in the supplement market: a search query to the bodybuilding.com online supplement market yields only one result, a strength testosterone booster from All Sports Nutrition that contains 120 x 550mg capsules. Pink Magic, as noted by one reviewer, is another available option, though it features a “proprietary blend” of 1600mg per serving, which does not make it entirely clear how much massularia acuminata is in that blend relative to the other ingredients (i.e. nelumbo nucifera leaves / seeds, rhamnus nakaharai stems.) The same review, while also criticizing the fact that the 2008 study in Wistra rats did not mention the exact ‘boost’ that could be expected in serum testosterone levels and free testosterone levels, the levels of massularia used in the test (250mg per kilogram of body weight) meant that extremely large amounts would need to be taken by humans in order to produce androgenic effects.
The rebuttal to these criticisms from USP Labs, namely that “USP Labs has extracted the unique portion of massularia acuminata in Pink Magic … it is a more potent form” do not seem to actually respond to those criticisms, and serve to confuse a little bit more, since the exact chemical nature of this “unique portion” is not further quantified or described. The manufacturer also indicates that “users have posted blood tests during their Pink Magic cycles, and they have been SHOWN [caps in the original] to elevate testosterone” (unfortunately, links are not included to these results, while a journal web page with user testimonials is a ‘dead link’ as of this writing.)
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While this particular supplement may indeed produce results in the areas it promises – e.g. weightlifting-related criteria like ‘pump’ and vascularity – its presentation to the public seems haphazard at the moment. Separate websites exist to make the rebuttals listed above and to advertise the product, which seems odd if not unprofessional; while available testimonials are anonymous and not sufficiently detailed. On that count, user testimonials do exist on external websites such as the forums of bodybuilding.com, though not in great numbers. It is up to the reader to decide if this small number of testimonials results from a promotional campaign on USP Labs’ behalf, or if this is just of massularia acuminata’s infancy in the crowded supplement market.
The full nature of massularia acuminata’s possible toxic effects are not widely known, though at least one study has shown it to have toxic effects upon the livers’ of rats under examination. The warnings included on the packaging of Pink Magic supplies are more or less interchangeable with those included on the majority of over-the-counter health products; counseling against use by pregnant women and individuals with hypertension.