By: Mia Sims
Its name is a bit intricate, but its uses are abundant and its potential health benefits make tribulus terrestris extract a popular herb. Tribulus terrestris is a type of plant usually found in warm, tropical climates. In its supplement form, the extract may help reduce inflammation in the body and improve libido, bladder health and heart health.
If you’ve been looking for a way to naturally reduce inflammation and promote a healthier bladder and heart, this herb may be able to help. There is no specific evidence, however, that proves that the extract can cure, treat or prevent any disease or medical condition, but its potential benefits are abundant, nonetheless. You should consult a doctor if you’re thinking of testing this supplement.
What is Tribulus Terrestris?
Tribulus terrestris is a small flowering plant with hard thorns and often uneven leaves. It is usually planted in the Mediterranean and is found in subtropical regions such as India, China, South America, Mexico, Spain, Bulgaria and Pakistan (x). Tribulus is part of the caltrop family, Zygophyllaceae (x). It has been used for generations to improve energy and vitality and improve sexual function and physical performance (x).
Tribulus Terrestris in Traditional Medicine
Traditional medicine practices—Iraqi folk medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, etc.—have used the plant for decades as an aphrodisiac, urinary anti-infective and diuretic. It has also been used as an aid to enhance libido, fight inflammation, reduce blood sugar and cholesterol and keep the urinary tract healthy (x, x). Other studies suggest that it may have antidiabetic and antioxidant properties as well.
Tribulus terrestris was first used in China and traditional Indian medicine, a system called Ayurveda. Its fruits were used to treat different aspects of sexual health including infertility, impotence, erectile dysfunction and low libido. Studies state it may also have cardiotonic properties that are good for the heart. In Chinese medicine, people used the plant and its roots to tone and repair the kidneys, aid as a cough expectorant and help with mammary duct blockage (x).
What is Tribulus Terrestris Extract Used for?
So what benefits does tribulus terrestris have and what does it do today? The answer is broad, as people use the herb for a number of functions in the human body. Research has suggested that it may help with libido, inflammation, bladder health and heart health with aphrodisiac, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and immunomodulatory properties. Research attributes these potential effects to a variety of chemical constituents including (x):
- Flavonol glycosides
- Steroidal saponins
There is no specific evidence proving that tribulus terrestris can treat, cure or prevent any medical disease or condition, but it has natural properties that may help.
We reached out to Dr. Jenelle Kim, founder and formulator of JBK Wellness Labs, for insight on its properties and possible benefits. Dr. Kim is an expert in supplements, a doctor in Chinese Medicine and an author who teaches Asian medicine and philosophy.
Aphrodisiac Activity for Libido
When asked about its aphrodisiac properties, Dr. Kim states that it is an “adaptogenic herb” and experts in traditional medicine often recommend it to “help improve libido in both men and women with reduced sex drives; it is [also] commonly used in supplements for its libido and virility enhancing properties.”
According to studies, the chemicals in tribulus terrestris release nitric oxide in the body, a molecule that acts as a relaxant and calming agent. This may have the potential to address sexual dysfunction and protect against testicular damage.
Studies suggest that it also has the potential to influence sex hormone function in animal subjects (x). Another study suggests that male subjects with erectile dysfunction reported significant improvement in their sexual performance after 12 weeks of taking tribulus terrestris extract (x). Another study used female subjects with hypoactive sexual desire and the results concluded that after taking 7.5 mg of the extract daily for four weeks, the women seemed to experience improvement in the drcusl desire, arousal, lubrication satisfaction and pain (x, x).
Anti-Inflammatory Activity & Immune Health
Dr. Kim attributes these potential effects to the herb’s saponins, which may “help stimulate and improve immunity.” In particular, they may help reduce inflammation and swelling that occurs as an immune response (x). The herb contains inflammatory cytokines that may reduce inflammatory conditions in the body, such as in autoimmune disorders.
In one study, researchers injected each subject with a chloroform extract of tribulus terrestris into rats with carrageenan, a substance that triggers inflammation. After 200 mg/kg doses, the extract demonstrated what the researchers considered good anti-inflammatory activity (x).
Diuretic & Antibacterial to Support Bladder Health
According to Dr. Kim, the herb is known for its “direct benefit to the organs of the urinary system.” Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine systems have used it to help with bladder and kidney infections, kidney stones, urinary retention and haematuria [bloody urine].” It may also help address “prostate problems or obstructed urinary flow.”
According to research, Iraqi herbalists have also used the plant to address urinary stones using aqueous extract from its leaves and fruits (x). In one study, researchers suggested that it may effectively promote diuresis to pass urinary stones, supporting its traditional use (x).
E. Coli is one of the major factors in urinary tract infections. A study published by De Gruyter Open suggests that tribulus terrestris extract may increase the sensitivity of E. coli bacteria to the antibiotic gentamicin (x). Another study also suggests that it may effectively help promote diuresis—or increased urine flow—in order for urinary stones to pass (x). This evidence suggests that the herb may be an effective alternative to traditional treatments for UTIs.
Anti-Hypertensive Properties to Support Heart Health
Dr. Kim suggests that the herb may have “beneficial effects on blood pressure” that may contribute to overall heart health. She continues, “Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine have… used tribulus to benefit the heart and vasculature.”
Studies suggest that tribulus terrestris extract may also support heart health and may potentially have positive effects on blood sugar. Specifically, it may address a symptom called ischemia, or reduced flood flow. The herb has natural anti-hypertensive properties that may help minimize blockages in the arteries, as well as reperfusive properties that may help repair damaged tissue.
In a study examining the effects of tribulus terrestris on female patients with type 2 diabetes, researchers gave 98 subjects 1,000 mg of either the supplement or a placebo every day for three months. The study suggested that tribulus may have significantly decreased the subjects’ blood sugar levels and reduced cholesterol levels (x).
In another study, researchers tested its effects on rabbits who consumed high-cholesterol diets. Tribulus terrestris may have helped reduce lipid levels in the blood, as well as triglycerides. Additionally, the supplement helped protect the linings of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels. It also may have repaired blood vessel damage from the effects of excess fats in the blood (x).
Is Tribulus Terrestris Safe?
Overall, experts deem that tribulus terrestris extract is safe in recommended dosages as a dietary supplement. However, this may vary by the individual and tribulus terrestris may cause some side effects. It is important to consult a physician before adding this supplement to your diet to potentially avoid side effects which may include:
Warnings & Precautions
Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should refrain from taking this supplement. It may not be safe and research on animals suggests that it may interfere with fetal development. There are not enough studies on human subjects to determine if it is safe, so it may be best to avoid it (x).
Pre-Existing Health Conditions & Medication Interactions
Tribulus terrestris may negatively impact pre-existing health conditions in the body and make them worse, including prostate conditions and diabetes. Research states that it may also interact with medications including (x):
- Blood thinners
- Antihypertensive drugs
Make sure to consult a physician before taking the supplement to reduce the risk for unwanted interactions with medications.
How Much Tribulus Terrestris to Take
In order to understand how this supplement may be able to help you, it’s important to understand how to take it. The recommended dosage is 600 to 1,000 mg of tribulus terrestris extract powder once or twice a day or one tribulus terrestris extract capsule three times per day. Make sure to consult a doctor before using the supplement.
Where to Buy Tribulus Terrestris
You can purchase tribulus terrestris extract in both powder and capsule form at BulkSupplements.com. The company is an industry-leading manufacturer and distributor for pure dietary supplements. BulkSupplements.com is not just a consumer brand. It also supplies pure ingredients to other brands that distribute food and other supplement products. All products at BulkSupplements.com are manufactured and tested according to current and proper manufacturing practices.
Are you interested in trying tribulus terrestris as a dietary supplement to potentially increase libido, support heart health, improve bladder health and reduce inflammation? Contact BulkSupplements.com to place an order today.
Tribulus terrestris is a small flowering plant native to warm tropical regions. It has been used in traditional medicine as an aphrodisiac, urinary anti-infective and diuretic. People often use it as a supplement to potentially produce similar effects. If you’ve been looking for a way to naturally promote wellness in these areas, tribulus terrestris extract might be the right supplement for you.
There is no specific evidence, however, proving that tribulus terrestris can definitely cure, treat or prevent any disease or medical condition. Be sure to consult a physician before taking tribulus terrestris or any other supplement product to make sure it’s the right option for you. Understanding your current health condition will help you better understand if tribulus terrestris can benefit your overall health.
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.