Tribulus Terrestris - Facts, Uses, Health Benefits, Side Effects

Facts

Also known as devil’s weed, Tribulus Terrestris is a type of herb used by ancient Indians and Chinese as a traditional medicine.

Eastern European Olympic athletes claimed that TT helped them in their performance. Since then, this plant became a favorite in many male health supplements as a testosterone booster and libido enhancer.

This herb has also been used for hundreds of years by the Chinese and in India for treating a wide array of illnesses and conditions such as improving moods, impotence, and for general improvements to one’s health.

The plant has many common names, including burra gokharu, goat’s-head, bindii, bullhead, caltrop, small caltrops, devil’s eyelashes, devil’s-thorn, puncture vine, cat’s-head, puncturevine, and tackweed.

Uses and health benefits of Tribulus Terrestris

In Ayurvedic medicine

TT is used as a powder form of the aerial parts, especially the fruits, and it is known in Sanskrit as gokshura, meaning the “cow’s hoof”. Gokshura is considered to contribute to overall physical, as well as sexual, strength by building all the tissues, particularly the reproductive tissue, but it is not considered as a particular sexual functions herb.

In addition, this herb is considered to be useful in bladder, liver, kidney, urinary tract and urogenital related conditions, where it is said to act as a diuretic. It has also been used traditionally for nervous constipation, disorders, and to stimulate the central nervous system and for the treatment of some types of headaches.

Elevates testosterone levels

This plant increases the levels of testosterone, also increasing sex drive and performance. Erectile dysfunction can encompass several different conditions of reproductive health and sexual dysfunction. About 5 percent of men that are 40 years old have complete erectile dysfunction, and that number increases to about 15 percent of men at age 70.

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According to a 2005 study by the National University of Singapore, Singapore, involving rats, the plant’s supplementation showed an increase in the androgen receptor immunoreactivity, thereby altering the androgen signaling. This produced an increase NOS (Nitric Oxide Synthase) and a subsequent increase in nitric oxide production.

Low testosterone can result in a host of symptoms, including passive attitudes, touchiness/irritability, low energy, feeling weak, inner unrest, muscle atrophy, loss of ability to concentrate, increase in abdominal fat, memory failure, reduced intellectual ability, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, triglycerides and glucose levels, or poor sleep.

Increases libido in females

An interesting aspect about this supplement is that it has been shown to increase libido in females as well. Women who take it regain regular ovulation, they gain improved fertility, it can cause menopausal symptoms to disappear and they commonly experience few or no mood swings.

Oligozoospermia 

Refers to semen with a low concentration of sperm and is a usual finding in male infertility, and is responsible for about 8 to 12 percent of infertility in couples worldwide. TT is frequently used as an aphrodisiac to boost infertility and sexual dysfunction in men.

Improves the circulatory system

TT can improve your circulatory system. Most of us have very unhealthy circulatory systems because of the toxins that we produce each day, the chemicals that we inhale when we breathe and also the foods that we consume. This plant has been demonstrated in studies to help with the cleaning up all these toxins and also expanding blood vessels for better blood supply throughout the body.

Saponins 

There are several active components in TT, including the steroidal saponins protodioscin and protogracillin. They have been demonstrated to possess anti-viral (particularly anti-herpes) and anti-bacterial effects. Bulgarian TT may be used externally and internally to treat herpes and virus infections such as the common cold and influenza.

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Helps the liver

This plant is also known to stimulate the liver, therefore it can aid in the breakdown of fats and cholesterol into hormones and energy resulting in increased stamina and physical performance.

May help protect against diabetes

The fact that TT may fight diabetes is a statement suggested by an animal-based study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences in 2006. In this study, tests on rats concluded that TT supplement may protect against diabetes by inhibiting oxidative stress.

Dosage

The usual dosage of TT supplement is between 85 to 250 mg 3 times/day, with meals or as recommended by the supplement producer.

Side effects of Tribulus Terrestris

There are no published reports of serious adverse side effects associated with TT supplement use. However, individuals with hormone-dependent conditions, such as prostate or breast cancer, should not use the herb. Research suggests it can increase prostate size. Side effects such as agitation, anxiety, restlessness, and difficulty sleeping may occur with overdose.

Breastfeeding or pregnant women should consult with their healthcare specialist before taking this supplement. Furthermore, those scheduled for surgery should discontinue using TT at least 2 weeks before surgery. This is because TT can interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery.

References

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15588660
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18068966
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S037887410300014X

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