Tribulus Terrestris


Digestive Health

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Tribulus Terrestris

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Digestive Health
Heart Health
Immune Support
Joint Health
Liver Health
Sleep Quality



Tribulus terrestris is an interesting herb plant which has been well-known for its abilities to treat urinary stones, Parkinson’s disease, along with its unique capacity to treat liver and eye disease and improve sexual and physical strength [1; 2]. In addition, tribulus has been widely used as a main constituent for synthesis of many medicines and food supplements, where it has been associated with being a therapeutic agent for the cardiovascular system and immune system [3]. Tribulus terrestris fruit is also known for its aphrodisiac properties, which has been shown in previous animal laboratory studies [4; 2].

How does Tribulus terrestris work

Tribulus terrestris contains many important compounds, such as steroids, saponins, flavonoids, alkaloids, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins and glutamic acid [5]. In particular, Tribulus methanol extract contains inositol, palmitic acid, estradiol, linoleic and stearic acid [5] –Figure 1. Extracts of tribulus are known to contain antioxidant, anti-apoptotic, anti-hypertension, anti-diabetic, anti-cancer and anti-fungal properties [6]. Moreover, methanol tribulus extract possess anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects; alkaloid-enriched tribulus extract diminished diabetes-induced neuropathic pain [6]. Recently, a methanol extract of tribulus was found to contain a new compound, cis-terrestriamide, which exhibited inhibitory effects on nitric oxide production in a cell line [7].

Benefits and Effects

Tribulus has a traditional history of use in for problems linked to the musculoskeletal, urogenital, gastrointestinal and central nervous systems [5]. Along with these amazing benefits throughout the human physiology, tribulus is also known to contain antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory effects [5]. Fruit extracts of tribulus have also been shown to have an effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory response to a human colorectal carcinoma cell line [9]. Extracted air-dried aerial parts of tribulus contains mainly steroidal glycosides, with the major saponin being protodioscin (PTN) (Figure 2) [8]. In this regard, PTN has been hailed as the pharmacologically active compound/ingredient of tribulus terrestris, with all other compounds being [pharmacologically] inactive [8; 10].

Tribulus terrestris depression

A study assessing the anti-depressive role of tribulus saponins on behaviour in mildly depressed rats, showed that tribulus – at a low, medium and high – had anti-depressive effects [12]. More recently, a 400mg dose of methanol extract of tribulus was shown to have anti-depressant properties; this was highlighted through the restoration of antioxidants such as catalase, superoxide dismutase and malondealdehyde [13]. In addition, an ethanol tribulus extract at a dosage of 100, 300 and 500mg/kg possessed adaptogenic (anti-stress) activity [14]. The stress tests included anoxia (severe form of stress) and tribulus was able to normalise stress biomarkers – i.e. decreases in blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides [14]. In assessing the effects of tribulus in menopausal transition symptoms in women, researchers found tribulus to reduce psychological and urogenital symptoms of menopausal transition [15]. Looking further, tribulus was observed to improve depressive symptoms with a 68.8% improvement [15]. Interestingly, tribulus contains the alkaloid Harmine, which is noted as being an irreversible Monoamine Oxidase A (MAOI-A) inhibitor [15]. This inhibition of Monoamine oxidase-A means that serotonin (5-HT) and other monoamines in the brain evade oxidative metabolism [16]. As a result, this leads to mood changes; the alleviation of depression [15]. Authors of this work note the need to carry out further investigations to evaluate the benefits of tribulus.    

Tribulus terrestris blood pressure

Tribulus has been documented as treating high blood pressure [17]. Dry, aqueous tribulus extracts – dosage of 500mg of capsule form – were administered to patients suffering from Grade I essential hypertension [18]. Significant improvements were noted in systolic and diastolic blood pressure after 14 and 28 days, respectively [18]. Authors also noted that tribulus may be safe and effective in managing hypertension; however, recommend further large-scale experiments be carried out [18].

Tribulus terrestris libido

Administration of tribulus terrestris to humans has been reported to improve libido and spermatogenesis [19]. Also, since tribulus terretris is a naturally occurring traditional plant herb, it has been known to enhance sexual activites [5], as well as treating sexual dysfunction [Chauhan et al., 2018]. Work seeking to better describe the efficacy of tribulus terrestis on sex hormones to grasp tribulus’s possible usefulness in treating erectile dysfunction (ED), demonstrated an increase in testosterone and DHT (dihydrotestosterone) [20]. Indeed, this work suggested the active role of PTN – the presence of this steroidal glycoside [20]. Dosage of tribulus extract for erectile dysfunction (ED) has been described as 400mg capsules [21]; this dose was taken twice in one day [21].

Tribulus for men and women

Tribulus terrestris has also been reported to induce sexual arousal and desire in women [22]. A qualitative/quantitative study addressed the role of tribulus terrestris in treating female sexual dysfunction and found increased levels of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), along with decreases in serum and free testosterone [23]. In men, evidence suggests that tribulus can improve erectile dysfunction (ED) and sexual desire [22]. A dry, ethanol-derived extract of tribulus terrestris given to female and male rats in an experiment to assess effects on endocrine sensitive organs [24]. This work showed that tribulus was not able to stimulate endocrine sensitive tissues: prostate, uterus and vagina in male and female rats. Thus, tribulus was concluded as lacking androgenic and estrogenic activity [24]. 

Tribulus terrestris kidney stones

Research reports that tribulus fruits extract taken regularly for a fortnight, can help expel kidney stones. Remarkably, tribulus extract has been shown to inhibit the growth of calcium oxalate (CaOx) crystals [25]. In this work, researchers used a tribulus powdered fruit extract at varying concentrations to test its inhibition properties on calcium oxalate. Figure 3 graphically describes the dose-dependent inhibition on CaOx. Calcium oxalate stones are the most common type of kidney stone; and, these occur when there are high levels of calcium and oxalate. Calcium oxalate crystals occur when there is a disproportionate ratio of urine waste to liquid. Too much waste in one’s urine ultimately results in in formation of crystals. These crystals stick together and form the well-known kidney stone. Another in vivo study addressed tribulus’ effect in renal tissue after induction of hyperoxaluria [26]. Hyperoxaluria is a condition with characteristic recurrent kidney and bladder stones. Consequence of this condition is progression to end stage renal disease (ESRD); a life-threatening condition. Tribulus was able to reduce oxalate, calcium and phosphate excretion; along with reducing hyperoxaluria-related oxidative stress [26]. Lastly, tribulus aqueous extract was able to restore antioxidant enzyme activity in the kidney tissue [26].

Tribulus and tongkat ali

Tongkat ali (Eurycoma longifolia) is said to possess anti-stress and anti-disease properties, and to improve physical strength [27]. Additionally, compounds derived from the root of this herbal medicine, just like tribulus, have been reported to have effects on testosterone and sexual drive [27]. Tongkat ali contains peptides known as ‘eurypeptides’, which are noted as improving sex drive and energy in animal studies [28]. Oral Lethal Dose 50 (LD50) of E. longifolia has been suggested at between 1500-2000mg/kg; with oral LD50 being more than 3000mg/kg [29]. 

Side effects of Tribulus terrestris

Although safety has been reported in the use of tribulus extract, there has been one reported case – male patient – who after consuming tribulus terrestris showed acute kidney injury, hepatitis and seizure [30]. There is some debate as to whether tribulus actually has testosterone boosting properties; this has been widely argued on open source forums where tribulus users over the age of 30 have often reported effects on muscle gain and increased libido – from increases in testosterone [10]. Also, studies on tribulus’ impact on atheletes confirmed that although tribulus had extra physiological benefits, it did have a negative effect on red blood cells, haemoglobin and thrombocyte indicies [31]. It has been recommended that athletes who consume tribulus at 25mg per 10kg body mass undertake complete blood counts (CBC) [31].

Tribulus dosage

Established, effective tribulus dose – 1 capsule (625mg powder), 3 times a day for 20 days – was reported as statistically increasing physical power in athletes [31]. In addition, it has been found that blood testosterone levels increased after 10 days of experimental administration of tribulus [Milasius et al., 2009], along with anaerobic alactic glycolytic power increases. Tribulus was administered in tablet form – in a concentration of 250mg [23]. Oral toxicological doses of tribulus have demonstrated that a chronic aqueous extract of tribulus did not yield any adverse effects in mice subjects [32]. Safe doses of tribulus (as homeopathic agents) in concentrations of 4mL per kg, have been found in 28-day long toxicity studies – no changes were noticed on biochemical, haematological and histological parameters [33].

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[1] K.S. Dahiya. Ecomorphology, Biology and Medicinal Importance of Tribulus terrestris Linn. – A Review.

[2] Marzieh Matin Yekta, Seyed Hamid Reza Alavi, Reza Hadjiaghaee, Yousef Ajani, 2008. Flavonoid Glycosides from Tribulus terrestris L. orientalis. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 4(3): 231-236.

[3] Saima Hashim, Tamana Bakht, Khan Bahadar Marwat and Asad Jan, 2014.Medicinal Properties, Phytochemistry and pharmacology of Tribulus Terrestris L. (Zygophyllaceae). Pakistan Journal of Botany, 46(1): 399-404.

[4] Dakshayini P.N., Mahaboob Basha P, 2018. Tribulus terrestris fruit extract improves antioxidant defense in female reproductive tract: A comprehensive study in diabetic rats. Journal of Innovations in Pharmaceutical and Biological Sciences, 5(2): 101-107.

[5] Lubna Fatima, Arshiya Sultana, Saad Ahmed, and Shabiya Sultana, 2015. Pharmacological Activities of Tribulus Terrestris Linn: A systematic Review. World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 4(2): 136-150.

[6] Mrinmoy Gautam and Muthiah Ramanathan, 2018. Saponins of Tribulus terrestris attenuated neuropathic pain induced with vincristine through central and peripheral mechanism. Inflammopharmacology.

[7] Hyung Sik Kim, Jin Woo Lee, Hari Jang, Thi Phuong Linh Le, Jun Gu Kim, Moon Soon Lee, Jin Tae Hong, Mi Kyeong Lee, Bang Yeon Hwang, 2018. Phenolic amides from Tribulus terrestris and their inhibitory effects on nitric oxide production in RAW 264.7 cells. Archives of Pharmacal Research, 41: 192-195.

[8] P.G. Adaikan, K. Gauthaman and R.N.V. Prasad, 2001. History of herbal medicines with an insight on the pharmacological properties of Tribulus terrestris. The Aging Male, 4: 163-169.

[9] Sonal Chauhan, Dhara Sharma and Harish Chandra Goel, 2018. An in vitro evaluation of Tribulus terrestris L. fruit extract for exploring therapeutic potential against certain gut ailments. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, 56: 430-436.

[10] Ahmed Qureshi, Declan P. Naughton and Andrea Petroczi, 2014. A Systematic Review on the Herbal Extract Tribulus terrestris and the Roots of its Putative Aphrodisiac and Performance Enhancing Effect. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 11(1): 64-79.

[11] Maja Shishovska, Zorica Arsova-Sarafinovska and Shaban Memeti, 2015. A Simple Method for Determination of Protodioscin in Tribulus Terrestris L. and Pharmacueticals by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography Using Diode-Array Detection. Journal of Chemical Engineering Research Updates, 2: 12-21.

[12] Zhe Wang, Dongdong Zhang, Shan Hui, Yingjin Zhang, Suiyu Hu, 2013. Effect of tribulus terrestris saponins on behaviour and neuroendocrine in chronic mild stress depression rats. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 33(2): 228-232.

[13] Rupasri Dutt-Roy, E. Kayalvizhi and M. Chandrasekhar, 2017. Evaluation of the antidepressant activity of Tribulus terristris in Diabetic Depression in Rat Model. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research.

[14] H. Shivakumar, Talha Javed, T. Prakesh, R. Nagendra Rao, B.H.M. Jayakumar Swamy, A. Veerana Goud, 2006. Adaptogenic activity of ethanolic extract of Tribulus terrestris L. Journal of Natural Remedies, 6(1): 87-95.

[15] Lubna Fatima, Arshiya Sultana, 2017. Efficacy of Tribulus terrestris L. (fruits) in menopausal transition symptoms: A randomized placebo controlled study. Advances in Integrative Medicine, 4: 56-65.

[16] Isabel M. Quadros, Aki Takahashi, Klaus A. Miczek, 2010. Serotonin and Aggression. Handbook of Behavioural Neuroscience, 21: 687-713.

[17] Tunhai Xu, Yajuan Xu, Yue Liu, Shengxu Xie, Yunshan Si, Dongming Xu, 2009. Two new furostanol saponins from Tribulus terrestris L. Fitoterapia, 80: 354-357.

[18] Mohd Rizwan and Asim Ali Khan, 2014. Assessment of efficacy of Sankhahuli (Convolvulus pluricaulis Chois.) and gokhru (Tribulus terrestris L.) in the management of hypertension. Indian Journal of Traditional Konwledge, 13(2): 313-318.

[19] K. Gauthaman, P.G. Adaikan, R.N.V. Prasad, 2002. Aphrodisiac properties of Tribulus Terrestris extract (Protodioscin) in normal and castrated rats. Life Sciences, 71: 1385-1396.

[20] Kalamegam Gauthaman, Adaikan P. Ganesan, 2008. The hormonal effects of Tribulus terrestrial and its role in the management of male erectile dysfunction – an evaluation using primates, rabbit and rat. Phytomedicine, 15: 44-54

[21] C.A. Santos Jr, L.O. Reis, R. Destro-Saade, A. Luiza-Reis, A. Fregonesi, 2014. Tribulus terrestris versus placebo in the treatment of erectile dysfunction: A prospective, randomised, double-blind study. Actas Urologicas Espanolas, 38(4): 244-248.

[22] V.K. Neychev, V.I. Mitev, 2005. The aphrodisiac herb Tribulus terrestris does not influence the androgen production in young men. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 101: 319-323.

[23] Carlos R.B. Gama, Ricardo Lasmar, Gustavo F. Gama, Camila S. Abreu, Carlos P. Nunes, Mauro Geller, Lisa Oliveira and Alessandra Santos, 2014. Clinical Assessment of Tribulus terrestris Extract in the Treatment of Female Sexual Dysfunction. Clinical Medicine Insights: Women’s Health, 7: 45-50.

[24] Anderson J. Martino-Andrade, Rosana N. Morais, Katherinne M. Spercoski, Stefani C. Rossi, Marina F. Vechi, Munisa Golin, Natália F. Lombardi, Cláudio S. Greca, Paulo R. Dalsenter, 2010. Effects of Tribulus terrestris on endocrine sensitive organs in male and female Wistar rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 127: 165-170.

[25] A. Aggarwal, S. Tandon, S. K. Singla, C. Tandon, 2010. Diminution of Oxalate Induced Renal Tubular Epithelial Cell Injury and Inhibition of Calcium Oxalate Crystallization in vitro by Aqueous Extract of Tribulus terrestris. Basic and Translational Urology, 36(4): 480-489.

[26] P. Kamboj, M. Aggarwal, S. Puri, and S.K. Singla, 2011. Effect of aqueous extract of Tribulus terrestris on oxalate-induced oxidative stress in rats. Indian Journal of Nephrology, 21(3): 154-159

[27] M. I. B. M. Tambi, M. K. Imran, R. R. Henkel, 2011. Standardised water‐soluble extract of Eurycoma longifolia, Tongkat ali, as testosterone booster for managing men with late‐onset hypogonadism? International Journal of Andrology.

[28] Shawn M. Talbott, Julie A. Talbott, Annie George and Mike Pugh, 2013. Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(28).

[29] Shaheed Ur Rehman, Kevin Choe and Hye Hyun Yoo, 2016. Review on a Traditional Herbal Medicine, Eurycoma longifolia Jack (Tongkat Ali):
Its Traditional Uses, Chemistry, Evidence-Based Pharmacology and Toxicology. Molecules, 21(331).

[30] Azita Hajhossein Talasaz Mohammad-Reza Abbasi Saeed AbkhizSimin Dashti-Khavidaki, 2010. Tribulus terrestris-induced severe nephrotoxicity in a young healthy male. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation, 25(11).

[31] K. Milasius, R. Dadeliene, Ju. Skernevicius, 2009. The influence of the Tribulus terrestris extract on the parameters of the functional preparadness and athlete’s organism homeostase.

[32] Surender SinghVinod Nair, and  Yogendra K. Gupta, 2012. Evaluation of the aphrodisiac activity of Tribulus terrestris Linn. in sexually sluggish male albino rats. Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics, 3(1): 43-47.

[33] Surender Singh,  Rohit Kumar,  Ritu Karwasra,  Prerna Kalra,  Shalu Rani,  Debadatta Nayak,  YK Gupta, 2014. Evaluation of safety profile of homoeopathic mother tinctures. Indian Journal of Homeopathy, 8:81-86.

Also known as:Tribulus Terrestris
Type:General Health Supplement
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Stacks well with: L-Theanine Capsules,Mucuna Pruriens,Instantized BCAA,Synephrine,Nootropics Sampler,Theobromine,Sarcosine,ALCAR,IDRA-21,Caffeine,Dihydromyricetin,Turmeric,Picamilon,PEA (Phenylethylamine HCL),Quercetin Dihydrate,ALCAR Capsules,NALT,Shilajit,L-Theanine,TUDCA,Beta Ecdysterone,Milk Thistle,Centrophenoxine,Piracetam,Phosphatidic Acid,Magnesium Bisglycinate Chelate,Best Nootropic Stack,Melatonin Powder,Vinpocetine,Glucosamine Sulfate Potassium,Aniracetam,Adrafinil,DHEA,Semax,Etizolam,Zinc Gluconate,Encapsulation Kit,GABA,PRL-8-53,Spirulina,Tongkat Ali,Citicoline,Methylsulfonylmethane,L-Citrulline Malate,Lion’s Mane Mushroom,Cordyceps Mushroom,Methylene Blue,Artichoke Extract and Forskolin,Huperzine A,L-Arginine,Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA),Pramiracetam,Broccoli Sprout Extract,Cissus Quadrangularis,MACA,Sulbutiamine,Avena Sativa,5-HTP,Guggul Gum Resin,DHA Softgels,Chromium Picolinate,Raspberry Ketones,Agmatine Sulfate,Uridine,DMAE Bitartrate,Noopept,Fucoxanthin,Tianeptine Sodium,Vitamin B12,Yohimbine,Taurine,St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum),Epicatechin,Rhodiola Rosea,Theacrine (Teacrine),Alpha GPC,Modafinil,Rutaecarpine,Aniracetam Capsules,Tianeptine Sulfate,Creatine,Magnesium Citrate,Valerian Root,D Aspartic Acid,Choline Bitartrate,Triacetyluridine (TAU),Piperine Black Pepper,Ashwagandha
Typical dose:1 capsule (625mg powder), 3 times a day for 20 days
Half Life :8 hours