• Sexual Dysfunction (in
Tribulus terrestris (commonly known as puncture vine—the bane of bicycles in areas where it grows) has a long history of traditional medical use in China, India, and Greece. It was recommended as a treatment for female infertility, impotence, and low libido in both men and women, and to aid rejuvenation after long illness. The herb became widely known in the West when medal-winning Bulgarian Olympic athletes claimed that use of tribulus had contributed to their success. However, current evidence suggests that it does not enhance sports performance.
What Is Tribulus terrestris Used for Today?
Studies performed in Bulgaria are the primary source of most current health claims regarding tribulus. According to this research, tribulus increases levels of various hormones in the steroid family, including testosterone, DHEA, and estrogen, and for this reason improves sports performance
Other studies that are far too preliminary to prove anything at all are quoted as proving that tribulus is helpful for the treatment of
A properly designed, though small, human study compared the effects of tribulus (3.21 mg per kilogram of body weight—for example, 292 mg daily for a 200-lb man) against
Another double-blind, placebo-controlled study enrolled 22 athletes and followed them for five weeks.
Tribulus terrestris is usually taken at a dose ranging from about 85 to 250 mg 3 times daily with meals. Some tribulus products are standardized to provide 40% furostanol saponins and taken at a dose providing 115 mg of saponins 2 to 3 times daily.
No significant adverse effects have been noted in any of the clinical trials or human research studies of tribulus.
performed in Bulgaria are said to have found the herb safe both in the short and long terms.
Tribulus is known to have a toxic effect on sheep.
Note : Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use any tribulus product. If the herb works as described, it might alter hormones in unsafe ways.
1. Wang B, Ma L, Liu T. 406 cases of angina pectoris in coronary heart disease treated with saponin of Tribulus terrestris [in Chinese; English abstract] . Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih. 1990;10:85-87.
3. Antonio J, Uelmen J, Rodriguez R, et al. The effects of Tribulus terrestris on body composition and exercise performance in resistance-trained males [abstract]. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab . 2000;10:208-215.
18. Rogerson S, Riches CJ, Jennings C, et al. The effect of five weeks of tribulus terrestris supplementation on muscle strength and body composition during preseason training in elite rugby league players. J Strength Cond Res. 2007;21:348-353.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Medical Review Board
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