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What is Tribulus? More commonly known as Tribulus terrestris and nicknames like Devil’s Weed, Devil’s Head, and Puncture Vine, it is a rather unpleasant looking plant that nevertheless can provide a number of health benefits. How does Tribulus work? Where does it come from? What is it used for? While it has been used in the treatment of a variety of ailments for centuries in folklore and traditional medicine around the world, is there any scientific evidence that backs up these benefits?
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The herb belongs to the Caltrop family of plants (zygophyllaceae) and grows around the world, mainly indigenous to southern Asia and Europe, as well as Australia and Africa.
Today, the plant’s habitat has spread to just about anywhere you can find a relatively dry climate. It can thrive in poor soil, growing low to the ground. It’s interesting to note that Tribulus is actually a Latin name that was intended to define a spiky weapon.
In countries around the world, including the US, it’s nicknamed Puncture Vine because of the ability of the “fruit” of the plant to puncture bicycle tires. When the fruit is new and fresh it’s firm but gives a bit. When it dries, the thorny ball (about the size of a pencil eraser head) protecting the fruit are very hard and are quite painful to step on. Hence its less than stellar nicknames.
Some brands that produce the extract include:
It has been used for centuries if not thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine and by Indian and other Southeast Asian cultures in Ayurvedic medicine. Does Tribulus terrestris work? Cultures around the world have lauded its benefits for generations. In Ayurvedic methods of treatment, it has long been known to promote sexual and physical endurance as well as provide health for reproductive tissues.
It’s been used to treat urinary tract infections, bladder infections and kidney issues. Sometimes, it’s used as a diuretic. Components in the plant our purported to increase levels of luteinizing hormone, a vital component in sending instructions to the testes (testicles) from the brain to produce testosterone, a primary male hormone.
Does Tribulus work to increase testosterone? A number of scientific studies have been, and continue to be conducted regarding the proposed benefits of the plant. Some of the most common studies focus on whether it can improve testosterone levels in those diagnosed with hypogonadism, or low testosterone.
It may also have a beneficial effect on inflammatory conditions, muscle strength, liver health, and in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. It should be noted however, that many of these studies have been performed on small animals and few have engaged consistently monitored long-term studies engaging large groups of test subjects.
An article published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements (“A systematic review on the herbal extract Tribulus terrestris and the roots of its putative aphrodisiac and performance enhancing effect.”) mentions a number of randomized controlled trials combining both animal and human studies.
Some of the animals in the study did show an increase in serum testosterone levels but in humans this increase was only reported when the herbal extract was also combined with other components.Check out the best natural ways to increase testosterone levels here.
Scientific study has determined that it does contain a number of components [Pharmacognosy Reviews (“Phytopharmacological overview of Tribulus terrestris“)] that can provide a huge impact on health and wellness including:
Does Tribulus terrestris work? For most, it depends on why you’re taking the supplement. A person taking the herbal extract to boost testosterone levels may find a different result than someone taking it for exercise stamina or recovery or to build muscle, improve sports performance, or even libido. The studies have shown some surprising results.
Several proposed benefits of Tribulus terrestris have been debunked, at least in part due to lack of consistent results in human study groups. Further research is needed, using larger study groups that are carefully monitored before several conclusions can be made.
Some users swear by the benefits. When accompanied by a nutritious and balanced diet and exercise, many dietary and herbal supplements can boost health and wellness, and function of glands, organs, and tissues in the body. Nevertheless, if you decide to buy, know and understand how it may affect your body based on age, health, and any medical condition for which you’re taking medications.
Does tribulus cause hair loss? Not usually. Common side effects of Tribulus supplements are relatively mild and temporary, but the herb may interfere with or interrupt the efficacy of medications like anti-diabetic drugs. Other herbs and products people sometimes take to boost testosterone include ZMA, DHEA, androstenedione, tongkat ali, yohimbe, maca and ginseng.
Does Tribulus work? That may be a question you need to determine on your own. Some who have used up supplement claim that it does, and others don’t. Milligram strength, ingredients, quality, manufacturing processes, and country of origin can all have an impact on benefits.
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