Tribulus (Tribulus terrestris)
Known as Gokshura in Ayurvedic medicine, tribulus is a creeping plant that has been used for centuries in India and China. It has five-petaled yellow flowers and bipinnate leaves along each stem. The plant is also called puncture vine due to the two spikes that grow on the fruit that are capable of puncturing a tire.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Tribulus is taken as an aphrodisiac. It is also useful for erectile dysfunction, infertility, low sex drive and low energy. It can elevate testosterone, luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone and estradiol. It has a beneficial effect on the liver and cholesterol levels. The herb also increases stamina and endurance, and so is used frequently by athletes and bodybuilders. It is believed that it may help to increase muscle mass.
In Chinese medicine, this herb is also used for cardiovascular diseases. It is thought that it also has a positive effect on bone marrow production and the producing of healthy red blood cells. It may also boost the immune system. Ayurvedic medicine uses this herb to rejuvenate the system and to promote longevity in patients who use it.
Externally Tribulus is used to treat a skin condition called vitiligo. It is also used sometimes as a gargle for problems associated with the mouth.
Other Uses The leaves and fruit can be cooked and eaten during times of famine.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
The herb combines well with asoka, ginger, licorice root, guduchi and ashwagandha for a variety of different conditions. When combined with DHEA and androstenedione-type supplements, testosterone production may be increased significantly. However, tribulus alone, while slower to get results, offers no side effects like these other supplements do.
Fruit The fruit is used medicinally.
Side effects may include stomach upset, photosensitivity and a slight lowering in blood pressure. Women who are pregnant or lactating should not take this herb. Men with enlarged prostates should also avoid. The toxicity of this herb is extremely low. A very few men have reported an increase in breast size. People with hormone-dependent conditions like prostate or breast cancer should not take this herb.
Preparation and Dosage
The optimal dosage is still under study. Some recommend a range of 250 to 750 mg per day, while others suggest it needs to be taken in larger amounts per day. Still another expert suggests doses between 85 to 250 mg three times per day at mealtime. Doses should be divided throughout the day, and taken with meals. It should not be taken continuously.
As always you should take appropriate professional advice prior to starting a course of treatment.