Tribulus Terrestris

Background

Tribulus terrestris is an herb from Ayurveda and belongs to the Zygophyllaceae family which is indigenous to the Southern Europe, Southern Asia, Australia, and Africa. Tribulus terrestris, also known as trib, puncturevine, and protodioscin, is considered as an adaptogen and has a long history of medicinal use. It is primarily used for its libido enhancing properties and supposed testosterone boosting properties. Tribulus terrestris is mostly recommended for male health including virility and vitality, and specifically more catered towards cardiovascular and urogenital health. There are also studies which suggest that this herb has a protective effect on the heart, liver, kidneys and other vital organs. [1]

Benefits

Tribulus terrestris is an ingredient most commonly consumed in dietary supplements purported to promote libido, testosterone levels, muscle growth and male health. It is often used by people who have infertility, low sex drive, and erectile dysfunction. It is also used by athletes to increase muscle strength and improve performance in sports. Bulgarian tribulus has been reported to increase transaminases via rhabdomyolysis.[2]
The most common health benefits of tribulus terrestris include:

  • Increases libido in both genders [3]
  • Increases testosterone production in men with low levels [4]
  • Improves fertility [5]
  • Rejuvenates low sperm counts very effectively [6]
  • Enhances athletic performance [7]
  • Improves physical performance [8]
  • Reduces oxidative stress [9]
  • Improves liver and kidney health [10]
  • Improves heart health [11]
  • Has inhibitory effect on prostate cancer and breast cancer [12][13]

Several studies suggest that tribulus terrestris works more effectually for balancing hormones, normalizing ovulation and improving fertility than hormone replacement therapies. It is claimed by some women that tribulus terrestris relieves them of various menopausal symptoms like mood swings, hot flashes and night sweats.

How it works

The effects of Tribulus Terrestris on human body is not clearly known. But it is believed that it works by regulating hormones via the liver, especially hormones that influence your reproductive system. Though it does not necessarily increase levels of testosterone directly, it helps regulate it, by making it more active.
Tribulus terrestris will help increase greater production of testosterone when you are not able to produce enough, which, in some cases, may be as much as 20 to 30 percent. An interesting fact is that when you have more production of testosterone levels in your body, it will have the opposite effect, helping to reduce the levels, for which it is safer than other drugs for boosting testosterone levels without any limits.
Various parts of tribulus terrestris contain a variety of chemical constituents which are medicinally important, such as flavonoids, flavonol glycosides, steroidal saponins, and alkaloids. It has diuretic, aphrodisiac, antiurolithic, immunomodulatory, antidiabetic, absorption enhancing, hypolipidemic, cardiotonic, central nervous system, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antispasmodic, anticancer, antibacterial, anthelmintic, larvicidal, and anticariogenic activities.[14]

Considerations

Taking tribulus terrestris as a supplement for a short time may be safe, providing you’re healthy and you are not pregnant or breastfeeding. Side effects may include – difficulty falling asleep, feeling restless and irregular periods. Since tribulus terrestris increases energy, it is recommended to take it early in the day and to engage in some physical activity during the day.
Tribulus terrestris has been known to interact with certain medications. Some pharmaceutical companies advise not to take it if you are taking heart and blood pressure medicines.

Recommendations

Studies show a wide variety of doses to assess the effects of tribulus terrestris. According to one source, for the best results with this supplement a regimented dosage can be as follows:[15]

  • Take 3 oral doses daily of at least 750 mg, but not more than 1250 mg.
  • Consume this dose daily for 9 weeks.
  • Discontinue use for between 2 and 4 weeks.
  • Resume usage for 9 weeks.

Sources