What Is Tribulus Terrestris And What Does It Do?
Tribulus terrestris is one of the ingredients you may find in certain supplements. You are more likely to see it included in products target at men, especially bodybuilders and athletes. What is this ingredient? What benefits does it have to offer? Read on to learn more.
Tribulus terrestris overview
Tribulus terrestris is a perennial flowering plant of the caltrop family found in many areas around the world. It thrives in both temperate and tropical regions. The plant typically grows during summer in colder areas. It is able to survive in many places with a dry climate that many other plants will not be able to withstand. The plant, which features spines, is regarded an invasive species in North America.
One can easily tell the name of the herb is Latin. It has connection with the word “tribulos,” which is said to be translation of the Greek word for “water chestnut.” The Latin term “tribulus” was initially used for the spiky weapon known as the caltrop.
Besides tribulus terrestris, the plant is known by a variety of other names. These include puncture vine, devil’s weed, devil’s thorn, devil’s eyelashes, goat’s head, and small caltrops.
Tribulus terrestris is used for medicinal purposes due to the diverse properties that are present in it. These include steroidal saponins, such as diosgenin, dioscin and protodioscin. There are also beta-sitosterols and other types of phytosterols.
In what ways may the plant be beneficial?
It is said that tribulus terrestris has been used in both Indian and Chinese traditional medicines for over 3,000 years. People who know about folk medicine will likely agree that these two are the most revered. The leaf, fruit or root of the plant is used for medicinal preparations.
With increasing interest in herbs in the West, tribulus terrestris appears to be becoming more popular in places such as the U.S., Canada and Europe. So what is it said to do?
Regulation of testosterone levels
One may not be wrong saying bodybuilders are the main group of users targeted with supplements containing tribulus terrestris. This has to do with the purported ability of increasing testosterone levels. This hormone helps to improve muscle strength and tone. The rise in the popularity of use for this purpose is attributed to bodybuilding champion Jeffrey Petermann who promoted it back in the early 1970s. But is this true?
There is a bit of controversy on the usefulness for bodybuilding. And the disagreement is mainly on the argument that it raises testosterone levels. There appears to be no conclusive research showing the herb does increase amount of the male hormone.
What tribulus terrestris may be said to help with is regulation of testosterone levels. Those who support this view say it makes the body to produce more of the hormones when levels are low. It also produces effects that make the body reduce production of the substance if the amounts are too high.
Sexual health or function improvement
It is suggested that tribulus terrestris can be beneficial to men with erection problems. It may also help to deal with infertility and increase production of spermatozoa. Another claimed benefit is that it increases sexual desire.
The benefits are not limited to men as well. Research shows that the herb can also enhance libido and fertility in women. It is even said to be more beneficial for improving libido, compared to traditional hormone therapy. It may also help in controlling symptoms of menopause and andropause.
Stress is a deadly condition. While many people often treat it rather lightly, it can give rise to debilitating disorders. Proponents say tribulus terrestris can help to keep this killer under control. The potency may be enhanced when combined with some other herbs, including ginseng.
If you are having difficulty getting quality sleep, you may get help from tribulus terrestris. It is said to promote relaxing sleep that rejuvenates your whole body. But you may need to use it well before the time you intend going to bed. The efficacy may be boosted when used together with other herbs, including Ashwaganda.
Quality sleep is essential for dealing with effects of stress. It helps to ward off debilitating health issues. Bodybuilders, athletes and other persons who desire fast recovery can benefit from restful sleep.
You may be able to do your heart some good with tribulus terrestris. This is with special regard to the presence of phytosterols such as beta-sitosterols. These natural substances also help to boost your immune, urinary and prostate systems. Plant sterols are used for dealing with heart disease and high cholesterol levels.
It is also claimed that the herb can help convert harmful fats in your blood for your energy needs. This means it may help control blood pressure and improve cardiac function. Tribulus terrestris could then be said to offer some protection against scary heart attacks.
There are several other benefits that are linked to the plant. They include:
- Promotion of good mood
- Prevention of depression
- Withdrawal symptoms control
- Ovulation improvement
- Increase in strength and endurance
- Pain reduction
- Control of irritability and nervousness
- Combating of unsolved general fatigue
- Diabetes management
These benefits make tribulus terrestris sound like some sort of do-all remedy. Traditional medicine practitioners often claim it is an adaptogen. That means the plant helps the body adapt to stress, hence averting its physical and chemical effects. Its use is, in particular suggested, for persons older than 50.
But we need to emphasize that there is no research supporting a number of these benefits. They mostly stem from the belief of those who practice folk medicine.
How to use tribulus terrestris?
You can get the plant as a dietary supplement in powder or tincture form. There is no specific dosage. Your goal will likely determine how much to take. Suggested daily dosage we came across ranged from 250 mg to 1,000 mg a day, divided into two or three doses.
Some advice that you use tribulus terrestris no later than around 8 pm. You are likely to feel the effects quicker when combined with some other synergistic herbs. A tip is to take a week break after using for about two weeks. These helps to guard against possible side effects.
Tribulus terrestris is thought to be very safe to use when taken in the right amount. You can also protect yourself against side effects by taking breaks at regular intervals.
The herb may damage your liver, especially when taken in high doses. It is also believed to be capable of causing damage to the eye. It may also cause irregular periods and trouble sleeping, according to WebMD.
It is not safe for pregnant women or those breastfeeding to use the supplement due to possible adverse effects on their babies. Also, you need to stay away if you are using certain medications, including:
- Diabetes medications
- ACE inhibitors
- Calcium channel blockers
Tribulus terrestris can also potentiate the effects of steroids. This further increases the likelihood of those substances producing side effects.
It can be seen that most of the benefits of tribulus terrestris are mainly based on traditional perception. There is limited research confirming the efficacy. Supplements containing it are usually not approved by the FDA. This, for the greater part, only shows they are safe to use. Speak to your doctor if you have existing medical conditions or taking prescribed medications before trying out the herb.