Tribulus terrestris is a plant that produces spine-covered fruit. Consequently, it is also known as devil’s thorn and puncture vine.
Its use as medicine is wide reaching and longstanding, and it received a lot of attention after medal-winning Olympians from Bulgaria attributed their performance to the plant.
Its three active phytochemicals dioscin, diosgenin, and protodioscin are often identified as tribulus terrestris’ mechanism of action.
Its inclusion in sport and male support supplements is becoming a prevalent practice. Although ongoing, research surrounding tribulus terrestris is promising.
Tribulus terrestris is most studied for its effects on hormone responses and production; however, this does not mean to say clinical research doesn’t support its use for other purposes.
A tribulus terrestris dietary supplement (625 mg) was administered 3 times a day to athletes over a 20-day study. At the study’s end, researchers noticed blood testosterone concentration had increased reliably during the first 10 days.
Researchers discovered tribulus terrestris boosts testosterone because it amplifies gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which then triggers luteinizing hormone production.
Research reveals tribulus terrestris appears to influence sexual function.
One study looked at tribulus terrestris’ effects on oligozoospermia, a condition in which semen has a low sperm concentration. It is often a cause of infertility.
Test subjects suffering from oligozoospermia were recruited from the Outpatient Department of the Institute for Postgraduate Teaching and Research Hospital. A total of 72 patients were assigned to a placebo or a tribulus terrestris group.
Researchers administered 6 g placebo or tribulus terrestris 2 times a day for a 60-day period. Consequently, the study’s end revealed Gokshura [tribulus terrestris] is effective in the management of kshina shukra [oligozoospermia], with lifestyle modification.” The outcome is believed to be a result of tribulus terrestris’ phytochemicals triggering luteinizing hormone production.
An animal studies also lends support to tribulus terrestris’ ability to improve sexual function and behavior.
Sprague-Dawley rats were split into 4 groups, 3 of which received varying doses of tribulus terrestris over an 8-week period. Researchers noted increases in intracavernous pressure –a proerectile property –and mount frequency.
Tribulus terrestris is clinically proven to decrease blood pressure in hypertensive patients.
During this study, tribulus terrestris was administered in 3 g per day as a water extract to test subjects for 4 weeks. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased as well as serum cholesterol. Consequently, researchers say “this plant diuretic can be safely recommended for a longer period to the patients of mild to moderate hypertension.”
Tribulus terrestris appears safer for humans than animals.
However, it was shown to have a toxic effect on sheep, causing a chronic, irreversible dopamine circuit disorder. This resulted in impaired muscle function.
Those pregnant and breastfeeding should avoid tribulus terrestris use because “animal research suggests tribulus might harm fetal development. Continual tribulus terrestris use may alter hormones as well.
Also, if you have prostate problems or prostate cancer, researchers believe tribulus terrestris may worsen prostate conditions by increasing prostate weight.
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-  “Tribulus Terrestris.” NYU Langone Medical Center.
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