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Tribulus Terrestris Side Effects

An In-Depth Look at Its Side Effects

When it comes to increasing testosterone levels naturally, nothing on the market today is more popular than the use of tribulus terrestris.

Even with its popularity, there are tribulus terrestris side effects, both bad and good, to be aware before taking this natural testosterone booster.

Tribulus terrestris is a spine-covered, fruit-producing plant found in the Mediterranean.

Due to its spine covering, the plant is also referred to as puncture vine, devil’s weed, and tackweed.[1]

Its root, fruit, and leaves are used as medicine for a variety of purposes, and research surrounding this ingredient is ongoing. This article discusses tribulus terrestris side effects to determine whether this ingredient is effective and safe.

Negative Tribulus Terrestris Side Effects

Few studies reveal tribulus terrestris has adverse effects on humans, and medical authorities indicate tribulus supplements are possibly safe for most people when taken for short time periods.[2]

Most studies in which tribulus terrestris had negative effects involved animals. One animal study shows tribulus terrestris had toxic effects on sheep.[3] Whether these effects occur in humans has not been researched.

One case report explains a 28-year old man sought medical attention at Imam Khomeini Hospital after ingesting 2 L tribulus terrestris in 2 consecutive days. He was admitted with a severe weakness in his lower limbs, a poor appetite, and seizures. Tests done at the hospital revealed his serum aminotransferases was elevated to levels higher than 40 times the upper limit.[4]

However, keep in mind the quantity he consumed is much larger than is typically offered in tribulus terrestris supplements.

Positive Tribulus Terrestris Side Effects

Tribulus terrestris is associated with several benefits, making it a popular ingredient for those looking to optimize sexual performance and boost hormone levels. While has been reported to exhibit adverse side effects in certain circumstances, most users are convinced its pros outweigh its cons.

eSupplements.com Tribulus Terrestris Side Effects

Testosterone Booster

Tribulus terrestris is often found in testosterone-boosting supplements –and for a good reason.

One study analyzed a dietary tribulus terrestris extract’s effects on functional preparedness in athletes’ homeostasis. The study lasted 20 days, during which athletes consumed the extract daily. Research shows blood testosterone concentration increased significantly during the first half of the experiment.[5]

Erection & Sperm Quality

This ingredient is studied for its ability to improve erection quality, and results are promising.

An animal study analyzed tribulus terrestris’ effect on the corpus cavernosum, the erectile tissues around the penis where blood is stored.

Research reveals dose-dependent relaxation effects were observed on the corpus cavernosum in an organ bath. Scientists discovered the ingredient affected the corpus cavernosum nitric oxide/nitric oxide synthase pathway and endothelium.[6]

A human clinical study shows Gokshura fruits (tribulus terrestris) displayed superior results in managing Kshina Shukra (Oligozoospermia) compared to a placebo. Oligozoospermia refers to low semen concentration, a quality related with male infertility.[7]

Increased Libido

Enhanced libido is a tribulus terrestris benefit due to the ingredient’s ability to optimize hormone levels within a normal range. This effect is a result of an important phytochemical, protodioscin.[7]

Protodioscin is a testosterone precursor because it stimulates luteinizing hormone (LH) production. LH production increases testosterone production, and LH is considered a sex-drive influencing hormone. Supplementing with tribulus terrestris may ameliorate sex drive.[7]

An animal study demonstrates tribulus terrestris’ effects on sexual desire and performance. Sexually fatigued rats supplemented with an aqueous tribulus terrestris extract mounted more frequently and experienced an increase in erection index. Also, ejaculatory latency decreased.[8]

Final Thoughts On Tribulus Terrestris

Countless scientific studies prove tribulus terrestris an effective, quality ingredient for improving sexual and hormonal parameters.

While tribulus terrestris might not be for everyone, those looking for ways to naturally increase testosterone and improve sexual aspects should check it out.


    • [1] USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network – (GRIN) [Online Database].National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, (26 September 2013)
    • [2] “Tribulus.” WebMD.
    • [3] Bourke CA. “A novel nigrostriatal dopaminergic disorder in sheep affected by Tribulus terrestris staggers.” Res Vet Sci . 1987;43:347-350
    • [4] Azita Hajhossein Talasaz, et al. “Tribulus terrestris-induced severe nephrotoxicity in a young health male.” Nephrol. Dial. Transplant. (2010)doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfq457
    • [5] Milasius K, Dadeliene R, Skernevicius J. “The influence of the Tribulus terrestris extract on the parameters of the functional preparedness and athletes’ organism homeostasis.” Fiziol Zh. 2009; 55(5):89-96.
    • [6] Do J, et al. “Effects and Mechanism of Action of a Tribulus Terrestris Extract on Penile Erection.” Korean J Urol. 2013 Mar;54(3):183-8. doi: 10.4111/kju.2013.54.3.183. Epub 2013 Mar 15.
    • [7] Sellandi TM, Thakar AB, Baghel MS. “Clinical study of Tribulus terrestris Linn. In Oligozoospermia: A double blind study.” Ayu. 2012 Jul;33(3):356-64. doi: 10.4103/0974-8520.108822.
    • [8] Signh S, Nair V, Gupta YK. “Evaluation of the aphrodisiac activity of Tribulus terrestris Linn. In sexually sluggish male albino rats.” J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2012 Jan;3(1):43-7. doi: 10.4103/0976-500X.92512.

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