Tribulus refers to the spiky fruits from a plant native to Southern Europe, Southern Asia, Africa and Australia. It is sometimes called burra gokharu, bindii, caltrop, puncturevine and tackweed, depending on the region it comes from. There is little written history of its use as a food, but a fair amount of information on its use in traditional medicinal systems of India and China. It is used in those systems mainly as a tonic to promote vitality, and as an aphrodisiac.*
What is Tribulus Used For?
The research conducted on Tribulus has focused on its effects related to hormonal production and to its use for athletic performance. Most of the research has been done in vitro and so for purposes of this discussion we will focus on traditional aspects of its use. In Ayurveda, the system of traditional medicine from India, they have referred to it's properties as sweet and cold and have used it to help support healthy kidney and liver function, and as a sexual tonic.*
Traditional Health Benefits of Tribulus
Additional Information on this Herb
Tribulus contains two major alkaloid fractions, the beta-carboline indoleamines harmane and norharmane, flavonoids, and the soponins diosgenin and protodioscin. Two steroid saponins, terrestrinins A and B, have also been isolated from tribulus
1.) Postigo S, Lima SM, Yamada SS, et al. Assessment of the effects of Tribulus terrestris on sexual function of menopausal women. Rev Bras Ginecol Obstet 2016;38(3):140-6.2.) Brown GA, Vukovich MD, Reifenrath TA, et al. Effects of anabolic precursors on serum testosterone concentrations and adaptations to resistance training in young men. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2000;10:340-59. 3.) Wilkins AL, et al. Photosensitivity in South Africa. IX. Structure elucidation of a beta-glucosidase-treated saponin from Tribulus terrestis, and the identification of saponin chemotypes of South African T. terrestis. Onderstepoort Journal Veterinary Res 1996; 63:327-34. 4.) De Combarieu E, Fuzzati N, Lovati M, Mercalli E. Furostanol saponins from Tribulus terrestris. Fitoterapia 2003;74:583-91. 5.) Huang, J. W., Tan, C. H., Jiang, S. H., and Zhu, D. Y. Terrestrinins A and B, two new steroid saponins from Tribulus terrestris. J Asian Nat Prod Res 2003;5(4):285-290. 6.) 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.
Not for use during pregnancy or lactation. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.
- This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.
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