What is Tribulus Terrestris?
Tribulus Terrestris, derived from Latin word for trouble, is a low-growing plant that produces fruits enclosed in spines. It is commonly known as Puncture Vine due to its spiky seeds and pods which are capable of puncturing feet and even bicycle tyres.
It has many other common names besides puncture vine, including bindi, devil's thorn, devil's weed, caltrop, goathead and tackweed. It is known as Gokharu in Hindi. Humans have been using the fruit, leaf, and root as medicine for wide-ranging complaints since time immemorial.
Enhances Sexual Health
Tribulus is primarily used as a booster for better sexual health. Researchers have recognized naturally occurring steroidal compounds in tribulus known as furostanol saponins which stimulate testosterone (male sex hormone) production by subduing natural hormone receptors. This results in the creation of greater quantities of luteinizing hormone (LH) which encourages the Leydig cells in the testes to produce more testosterone.
Men, who have low testosterone receive an immediate boost from a Tribulus terrestris supplement. A study demonstrated that it can cause an increase in sperm count. It could also provide enduring prostate support for a man as he grows old. Either way, it provides men with natural means to preserve testosterone levels and physical, psychological and sexual health. Since testosterone is also involved in producing athletic characteristics such as energy vigor, muscle strength and aggressiveness, often tribulus terrestris supplements are used by athletes to improve their performance.
Tribulus is also known to support sexual function in women. Women who consumed tribulus experienced enhanced sexual longing, arousal, and gratification compared to those who did not use it. Several studies link tribulus supplementation to balanced hormone levels in the body.
Aids Skin Care
The extracts of the herb are occasionally used as a treatment internally and externally for skin conditions such as allergies, eczema, scabies and psoriasis. In leprosy patients, tribulus has effectively reduced redness and skin lesions.
Supplement for A Healthy Heart
Tribulus might be helpful in lessening symptoms of angina or chest pain. Preliminary clinical research suggests tribulus might have anti-anginal activity. It seems to dilate coronary arteries and improve coronary circulation. Tribulus is also sometimes used to treat anemia.
Boosts Digestive Health
Tribulus boosts the functioning of the digestive system in several ways. Unani medicine prescribes Tribulus as a mild laxative. Some research also indicates that the saponins may be used to pacify smooth muscle spasms or colic pains. It also reduces the level of triglycerides and stimulates appetite. It provides relief for intestinal gas and to expel intestinal parasitic worms.
Helps in Pregnancy / Foetal Development and Breastfeeding
Limited studies show that Tribulus aids in milk flow during breastfeeding. It facilitates childbirth by toning the smooth muscles of the area. The efficacy of tribulus in childbirth is still a grey area that is being researched upon. Some studies also indicate that it may be the potential cause for miscarriage hence pregnant women should use Tribulus with caution.Treats Infertility
Erectile Dysfunction, one of the prime reasons for male infertility, correlates with low levels of Didehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Protodioscin, a constituent of tribulus is responsible for improving DHEA levels in the male system. It also improves sperm concentration and sperm motility. Several studies have consistently proven that regular intake of the extract increases ovulation in women who had abnormal ovulation patterns. Tribulus also reduced the number of cysts in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and helped restore normal ovular function.
Helps Manage Blood Pressure
Tribulus terrestris supplements have been an operational cure for hypertension. Repeated research on rats shows that when aqueous extracts of the herb were administered to hypertensive rats, the blood pressure was indeed lowered. Additionally, the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) activity in the treated rats was significantly lower than the untreated rats.
Extracts from the fruit and leaves seem to have diuretic effects, which may explain the traditional use of tribulus for kidney stones and other urinary problems such as painful urination. For this reason, tribulus is also known as a water pill. Few individuals use tribulus for headache, gonorrhea, liver disease (hepatitis), inflammation, coughs, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), joint pain (rheumatism), and dizziness (vertigo). It is also used as a tonic and is believed to possess mood enhancing qualities. Research conducted on animal models has confirmed that tribulus also facilitates lower blood sugar levels and hence, could be used as a medication for diabetes mellitus. Tribulus is a herb that may positively affect mood, stress, and anxiety. This can be helpful for women who juggle manifold responsibilities or tackle issues related to premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Intake of tribulus terrestris supplements for a short time is probably harmless. However, it is not recommended for pregnant and lactating women. Some common side effects are sleep disorders and irregular periods. Lab tests on animals link tribulus to problems in the development of the fetus. Tribulus supplements work well as preconception medication as they boost fertility in various ways. However, one should refrain from Tribulus after conception as it has been identified with abortion agents.
Also, men should be attentive to the possible connection between tribulus and prostate problems in the long run.
Sometimes tribulus may interact with certain medications. It may intensify the effect of certain heart and blood pressure medicines, such as beta-blockers, digoxin, calcium channel blockers and diuretics. For individuals who are undergoing diabetes treatment, tribulus might further lower blood sugar levels. It is advisable to check with a general physician before taking any herbal supplements. Tribulus may also proliferate the effect that steroids have on the body.
- "Sexual Effects of Puncturevine (Tribulus Terrestris) Extract (protodioscin): an Evaluation Using a Rat Model. - PubMed - NCBI." National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.
- Sharifi, Ali, and Radbod Darabi. "Editorial Board." Life Sciences 73.23 (2003): IFC. Print.
- Wang, Zhe, Dongdong Zhang, Shan Hui, Yingjin Zhang, and Suiyu Hu. "Effect of tribulus terrestris saponins on behavior and neuroendocrine in chronic mild stress depression rats." Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 33.2 (2013): 228-232. Print.
- Qureshi, Ahmed, Declan P. Naughton, and Andrea Petroczi. "A Systematic Review on the Herbal Extract Tribulus terrestris and the Roots of its Putative Aphrodisiac and Performance Enhancing Effect." Journal of Dietary Supplements 11.1 (2014): 64-79. Print.
Latest Publications and Research on Health Benefits of Tribulus Terrestris
- Puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris L.) affects the proliferation, apoptosis, and ghrelin response of ovarian cells. - Published by PubMed
- Insecticidal, biological and biochemical response of Musca domestica (Diptera: Muscidae) to some indigenous weed plant extracts. - Published by PubMed
- Simultaneous use of oxalate-degrading bacteria and herbal extract to reduce the urinary oxalate in a rat model: A new strategy. - Published by PubMed
- Plants in the management of male infertility. - Published by PubMed