Butea Superba and Testosterone: The Androgenic Effects Red Kwao Krua

Butea Superba (Red Kwao Krua) is an androgenic herb widely used among the males of Thailand as an aphrodisiac and to improve erectile quality. There’s only limited amount of studies available to prove its aphrodisiac effects, but what we know about the plant currently, is still quite interesting.

In fact, Butea superba has a really weird composition. It contains phytoandrogens and also phytoestrogens, however then it also contains anti-estrogenic compounds which could potentially balance out the estrogenicity of the plant…

…Here’s more:

Butea Superba as a Testosterone Booster

butea superba and testosterone levelsThe reason why Thai men use Butea Superba, is because they believe that it is a supplement that improves their libido and erectile quality.

However the scientific evidence for this is lacking.

Even though it works well in test tubes and in rodents (study, study), human studies have failed to replicate the erection improving effects.

NOTE: To be more precise, human studies have not exactly failed to replicate the effects, but they have been so poorly misconducted that the evidence is hard to take seriously (one for example claimed the herb to be as effective as Viagra, then later on stated that the results were probably false-positive).

But what about the claims of Red Kwao (Butea Superba) being androgenic? Well, there could actually be some truth behind them:

a) First of, there’s a rodent study done on male rats where Butea Superba had a dose-dependent testosterone lowering effect. However, as the testosterone levels lowered in serum, the androgenic (masculinizing) effects became more intense (increased spleen weight, increased alkaline phosphatase [ALP], and increased aspartate aminotransferase [AST]). This suggests that the reduction in testosterone could be caused by increased conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) or by increased testosterone utilization by the androgen receptors, both of which would cause testosterone to disappear from the serum, but in return would result in androgenic effects. Similar androgenic results were also seen in female rodents in another study.

b) In this human study which lasted for 3 months, 1,000 mg/day of Butea Superba was able to increase testosterone levels by 11% in men with erectile dysfunction. DHT or any other measurements indicating increased androgenicity were not tested for in the study (unfortunately).

c) One of the active compounds in Butea Superba (3,7,3’Trihydroxy-4′-methoxyflavone) is a strong cAMP phosphodiesterase inhibitor, meaning that it prevents the inactivation of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), which is a secondary messenger between cells and hormones. In theory this should increase testosterone levels (for example: forskolin is a herb that increases cAMP, and because of that it also increases testosterone and activates androgen receptors).

d) There is a case-study where one 35-years old Thai man was diagnosed with hyperandrogenemia after using an unreported dose of Red Kwao for “few weeks”. In fact his lab tests showed his DHT levels to be at 1512 pg/mL (reference values are between 250-990 pg/mL) and his principal “side-effect” was, as you can guess, a very high sex drive. After closer inspection by medical experts, the “problematic” source of this increased androgenicity (read: masculinity) was found to be Butea Superba, which the man said he had been taking to prevent hair loss. The man was then told to stop the usage of B. Superba, and one week after cessation of the herb, his DHT levels had returned back to normal and his sexual drive was also back to “normal”.

There aren’t many vendors who sell butea, but I’ve found Barlowe’s Herbal Elixirs to produce some quality stuff (affiliate link).


Butea Superba is a weird herb. There is some evidence that it could cause androgenic effects in the male body, and there is a theoretical explanation to these effects too: phytoandrogens and the possible cAMP boosting effects.

Does it work or not? Honestly I have no clue, but it’s an interesting herb for sure. I would love to see more studies that would look at its direct effects on DHT.

Butea Superba and Testosterone: The Androgenic Effects Red Kwao Krua was last modified: January 25th, 2018 by Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala is the founder of Anabolic Men, and an Independent Researcher that has been credited with organizing the findings that have helped thousands of men reach hormonal balance.
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  1. Chris @ 19th Century Alpha on 14/03/2015 at 18:49

    So the real question at hand here is, did the Thai dude keep or lose his hair? Good read Ali.

  2. Ben on 15/03/2015 at 07:05

    Interesting.. so this ‘hyperandrogenemia’ is simply another way for them to make men feel bad for masculinity?

    I searched for it and what come up is that it is a negative thing for women which is obvious. i’m not sure how it is negative for men. I wonder what ‘issues’ the doctors diagnozed him with as it doesn’t sound like anything negative.

    • Ben on 15/03/2015 at 07:08

      Ok so I read that study.. and his primary ‘complaint’ was high sex drive. And so they assigned that a bullshit name like it is a disorder. WTF. This makes me want to try this herb!

  3. amilitarymind . on 31/03/2015 at 01:45

    Hey Ali. If a guy already has decent T levels that fluctuate in the 700-800 range, good Zinc and Vitamin D levels and works out regularly what would be the three most potent actual T boosters that would cause a significant increase if cycled properly? So far I think it would be Ashwaghanda, Mucuna Pruriens, and D-Aspartic Acid…

  4. Luigi Domenico on 31/03/2015 at 13:22

    “was found to be Butea Superba, which the man said he had been taking to prevent hair loss.”

    DHT is responsible for baldness, that is why popular hair loss medicines such as Finasteride are DHT blockers

  5. Udinov Keiv on 09/04/2015 at 20:44

    I heard women use it to raise their estrogen levels. I think it stimulates the hypothalamus to produce gondatropins to the gonads which are T in men and E in women.

  6. The Real Mr J. on 13/07/2015 at 14:17

    We’re on dangerous ground with Butea Superba. Higher doses have been shown to be genotoxic/mutagenic, and might actually hinder testicular function. In Thailand, the safe dose has been set at 100mg, though I’m not sure how much a person could go over this before negative effects start to appear.

    There’s a similar issue with Cistanche – some studies show it is good for the testes (induction of steroidogenic enzymes) and for the immune system as well, but other studies suggest a toxic effect on the testes, along with possible liver edema (I would assume these occur at higher doses also).

  7. Powertothepeople on 02/08/2015 at 18:14

    Hello. I live in Thailand, Butea Superba IS widely available here (about 6 euros for a months supply). Can you update us on your experience with this herb ? I am little reluctant to start taking it. Would be good to hear your experiences !! Thx.

  8. The McDougal Bugle on 13/10/2015 at 11:09

    well how did it go, can u update us

  9. Ali Kuoppala on 07/11/2015 at 16:28

    Thanks for sharing!

  10. Javid Bencosme on 22/09/2016 at 18:35

    thanks for sharing your experience, which brand of butea superba supplement did you take? powder or pill?

  11. JamesBKK on 29/12/2016 at 22:16

    I live in Bangkok, and butea superba is available over the counter here. I’ve been using 1200 mg daily for 2 weeks. The Real Mr. J claims it has been set at ‘100mg’ safe dose in Thailand, but the bottle I have has 600mg per pill, so I wonder where he obtained his information. I take one in the morning and one before I go to the gym. Here’s what I’ve noticed:

    – Marked increase in sex drive, so much so that it’s almost unwanted. I have an almost uncontrollably high libido, to the point of distraction and negatively affecting my social life. I could go all day and all night on this stuff. I have had to stop taking the butea superba on some days so that I could focus on my life and not my dick.

    – Marked increase in endurance both when running and at the gym. Normally I run 2 miles a day, but I took 2 pills of this and ran 7.6 miles last week. If I could try to put it into words, it removes the desire to “give up” easily during moments of physical exertion. At the gym, I find myself wanting to do “just one more set” over and over until I literally don’t have any more time and I need to go home.

    – Noticeably, but not markedly, more cut. My girlfriend and I both agree on this. Maybe it’s simply a side-effect of the extra exertion at the gym, but I have more muscle definition in my torso, shoulders, pecs and arms than I ever have (I have never used steroids or any anabolic substances before this). It doesn’t approach the level that a real steroid would give you, but it does seem to be there.

  12. @tedscott4 on 05/07/2017 at 15:58

    I know this is an old posting, but , if by coincidence you reread this question, wondered how you felt about Butea Superba still? Did raising your DHT continue? and did it increase libido?

  13. Testman on 03/08/2017 at 20:40

    I have read that alternating butea superba with tongkat ali brings the best results. Has anybody tried that…

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