What is Tribulus terrestris?
Commonly known as caltrop or bindii, this Mediterranean plant’s leaves, fruits and roots are used in making medicines. Because it is covered in spines, this plant is also called puncture vine. It has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for ages as a treatment for different medical conditions.
Benefits of Tribulus terrestris as Testosterone Booster
Tribulus is known to boost the production of testosterone and this accounts for many benefits of tribulus such as:
- Increased libido
- Conversion of fats into energy
- Development of muscle mass
- Increased muscle strength
- Promotion of muscle growth
- Increases physical endurance
- Combats fatigue
- Increased muscular resistance against exertion
How Does It Work?
Tribulus works by regulating the different hormones of the body, especially the sex hormones. According to research, tribulus does not always increase testosterone; rather it regulates its production according to the needs of the body. Tribulus indirectly increases the testosterone levels by increasing another hormone called the Luteinizing hormone (LH). LH is produced by the pituitary gland and regulates the natural levels of testosterone by increasing its production. Low testosterone will be met with increased production rates, often as high as 30% extra than the base rate.
Tribulus has many benefits such as:
- Improving blood circulation
- Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease
- Fights mild depression
- Effective against nervousness
- May be an effective treatment for cholesterol and diabetes
- Utilizes the blood LDL in producing energy
- Improves mood
- Maintains proper functioning of the nervous system
- Strengthens the immune system
- Reduces risk of coronary disease
- Promotes weight loss and prevents excessive weight gain
- Fights against fatigue
- Protects the kidneys and liver
In a study (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) conducted on 67 women diagnosed with hypoactive sexual desire disorder, it was found that tribulus is effective for increasing libido and treating this disorder. The Female Sexual Function index (FSFI) was used to measure the different factors that increase libido. The study lasted for four weeks.
Tribulus is generally safe to use when taken in the recommended dosage of 1200 mg per day. It is unsafe to exceed this daily dose. Also, it is recommended to take breaks in between, such as taking a week off every two weeks to avoid any health complications.
When used for a short period of time, tribulus is safe to use when taken orally. However, the safety of tribulus for long term use is questionable due to lack of research. There are also reports of induced lung problems on eating the spine covered fruit. Some side effects of tribulus are:
- Irregular periods
- Stomach upset
A word of caution
For certain medical conditions, it is best to avoid the use of tribulus:
- Use of tribulus by pregnant women can lead to problems in fetal development. Thus, it is best advised to stay away from tribulus supplements if you are pregnant or nursing.
- Due to the testosterone boosting effects of tribulus, some prostate problems can also occur in men. It might also worsen prostate cancer or benign prostrate hypertrophy (BPH). It can also increase prostate weight.
- For diabetic patients, the dose of medications may need to be adjusted because tribulus can decrease sugar level of blood.
- If you are scheduled to go into surgery, stop the use of tribulus at least two weeks before your scheduled date. This is because tribulus might interfere with the sugar levels of blood before and after surgery.
Due to insufficient research, the role of tribulus in improved athletic performance is questionable. But since ancient times, tribulus has been used as a medication for different diseases as well as to increase energy, fight fatigue, build muscle and increasing libido. Research supports the libido increasing effects of tribulus in women suffering from hypoactive sexual desire disorder. But it should be kept in mind that increasing the dose of supplements does not increase its effects, but can cause major health complications. Just be sure to consult your doctor before you start using tribulus for increasing muscle strength, libido or as a medicine to treat different ailments.