Fighters Friends: Traditional Thai Medicinal Herbs for Muay Thai Boxing

The Benefits of Two Powerful Thai Herbs

Written by Alex Eriksson of

If you want to be the best when it comes to Muay Thai, you accept the small mercies in any form they may come. Today, they come as herbal supplements that give you a slight competitive edge. They are completely natural and have been used for centuries throughout South Eastern Asia.

And while it is true that nothing beats a solid diet regimen, being savvy about using the correct herbal supplements can help take your discipline to the next level. Of particular interest to us are two herbs Butea Superba and Krachaidam, both native to Thailand and commonly used by many  Thai Muay Thai Boxers.

Let’s see how adding these medicinal herbs to your arsenal could help up your game.

Butea Superba

butea-superba-and-male-testosterone-levelsThe most well known medicinal herb of Thailand, it has been used for centuries as an aphrodisiac.  However, much more lies beneath the surface of this seemingly “simple” herb, as you are about to learn. For one, it contains both phyto-estrogens and phyto-androgens, along with even anti-estrogens.

This is interesting for a few reasons:

  • The phyto-androgens could explain its use for improving libido and erectile strength
  • The anti-estrogenic compounds found in the plant could help offset potential unwanted estrogenic effects from the phyto-estrogens.

However, there’s much more going on, and it seems rather confusing until you dwelve deeper.

In a study conducted on rodents, butea superba appeared to have a dose-depending effect on reducing testosterone. Initially, this would send off alarms for anyone, but don’t ring those bells yet.

Why? Because as the testosterone levels got lower, the androgenic effects (DHT based effects) became much more pronounced. This effect is extremely beneficial for muay thai boxers, since as we all know androgenic effects is what determines aggression and strength, not to mention keeps estrogen at bay and promotes leanness. 

Although the exact way this effect occurs is unclear, it could be due to butea increasing conversion of testosterone to DHT, or more testosterone interacting with the androgen receptor (upregulation of the receptor), which would both reduce levels of circulating testosterone and lead to a significant androgenic response. Many men get positive results with Butea Superba and if you decide to try it, make sure to stick with a reputable brand.

As if that wasn’t enough to make you consider it, there has been a documented case of the herb causing hyperandrogenemia, with the subjects DHT measurements a whopping 50% over high normal values (normal values 290-990pg/ml, whereas subject’s reading was 1512). The man was using the herb as a remedy for hair loss, as it might also possess 5-alpha reductase blocking effects in the scalp (anti DHT effect). How did he know something was amiss? Because of his “problematically” high sex drive at the time (Problem? We don’t think so…)

Upon cessation of the herb, DHT values returned to normal within a week. If you want to try Butea superba for hair loss, it may be useful to also try it in combination with shampoos that has a proven track record for best results.


8874677_origAnother native Thai herb, Krachaidam goes by a number of other aliases, such as black ginger, Thai ginseng, Kaempferia parviflora, fighters friend and krachai dum to name a few.

Though still relatively unheard of in the Western World, it has been used traditionally by Thai men to improve sexual performance as well as those involved in the art of Muay Thai. Most of the Krachaidam in Thailand is grown in Isaan where it is a commonly used remedy.

How exactly can this herb be beneficial for you as a Muay Thai Boxer? Let’s see:

  • Pain And Inflammation Reduction: any athlete involved in rigorous training knows too well the downtime painful and inflamed muscles and joints can cause. However, managing these symptoms with prescription meds do not help in the long run, since they inhibit important enzymes involved in active recovery. Luckily, a study conducted in rats has demonstrated that Krachaidam contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds, which enable faster  recovery from training sessions and injuries. Human trials are currently ongoing, but if anecdotal evidence means anything, it likely works the same in humans.
  • Increases Energy Expenditure: if you are involved in competitive Muay Thai boxing, weight classes mean something to you. However, achieving precise weight loss can be tough and can even result in extreme dehydration. Instead, a better option prior to pre contest weigh ins or fight week preparation could be to supplement with krachaidam, as a study showed that it increased whole body energy expenditure , 30 minutes after ingestion. Consuming some prior to working out should contribute to increased weight loss, and is even being studied as an aid for treating obesity.
  • Improves Physical Performance: a study conducted on soccer players translates well to the Muay Thai discipline. It was found that krachaidam decreased fatigue and improved strength over the course of the 12 week study .
  • May Decrease Oxidative Damage: oxidation occurs every single second in our body, ultimately responsible for aging and breakdown on body processes. Krachaidam had long been touted as a potent anti-oxidant, anti-fatigue and longevity promoting properties, and a study conducted in the elderly confirmed this as true. This benefit may be beneficial for older men performing muay thai, but it is also possible that it can help younger men as well (though more studies are needed to confirm this)
  • Suppresses Growth of Fat Cells: adipose tissue is notorious for its ability to massively increase in size, making it easy to store excess calories. However, a study found that flavonoids in krachaidam demonstrated the ability to stop the overgrowth of these cells. This can be extremely beneficial for obese persons who struggle with practicing muay thai because of their weight.
  • Krachaidam Tincture Improves Blood Flow And Libido: a tincture is specifically a product consisting of an active ingredient dissolved in alcohol, and is what is required to elicit this improvement in blood flow, according to findings conducted in a study on rats. In particular, was marked blood flow improvement to the testes, possibly indicating a pro-erectile function as well. Be careful not to start humping your opponent!


Due to the highly demanding and competitive nature of Muay Thai boxing, natural herbs can give you that slight aggressive edge needed to always perform at optimal efficiency. Be sure to get adequate nutrition, as even the best supplements are useless if you’re not going to fuel the body the right way. Coupled with effective recovery techniques, you’ll be on your way to becoming a legend!

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Sean Fagan
Sean "Muay Thai Guy" Fagan owns & operates the largest online Muay Thai community and the #1 training resource for nak muay of all levels.

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