Spoken three times quickly in succession, ‘tribulus terrestris’ can be a real tongue twister. You also want to be careful holding this fruit-producing plant in your hands because it is covered with spines, which explains why it’s also sometimes referred to as the ‘puncture vine.’ Beyond all that, however, the fruit, leaf, and root of tribulus terrestris has various health-inducing and medicinal properties that make it a plant worth embracing – at least in the figurative sense.
While the average American consumer probably has never heard of tribulus terrestris, it has been used for many centuries as a mainstay in traditional Chinese medicine as well as Ayurvedic practices. Per verywellfit.com, it is known for treating such conditions as sexual dysfunction with its apparent ability to boost levels of certain hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen. That explains why it‘s included in some supplements that aim to boost testosterone levels.
The Health Benefits of Tribulus Terrestris
Because of its chemical makeup to include its hormonal content, tribulus terrestris has also been linked, per webmd.com, to its perceived ability to enhance athletic performance, as an aid for body builders, and for treating various health issues and circulatory conditions. Before you add it to your regimen, however, consider having a discussion about tribulus terrestris with your physician.
Meanwhile, here is a summary of its best-known purported health benefits:
- Sexual dysfunction. Tribulus terrestris can apparently help treat erectile dysfunction (ED), per a 2017 published study referenced at verywellfit.com. In the study, men with mild to moderate ED given a tribulus extract for 12 weeks showed significant improvement in sexual function, to include ED. Another study in 2018 suggested that tribulus also showed promise for treating sexual dysfunction in women.
- Diabetes. A published 2016 study cited at verywellfit.com and involving women with type 2 diabetes showed that women given tribulus treatment over three months showed much improvement in blood glucose levels (as well as LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol) compared to those women given a placebo.
- Natural diuretic. Its use has been shown to bolster urine production and thus aid in flushing waste out of your body.
- Immune system. A study in rats cited at ahcaf.com found that tribulus terrestris produced a noticeable rise in immune system activity.
- Depression. Per ahcaf.com, tribulus can increase DHEA levels in your body, which can produce enhancements in mood while also staving off anxiety and depression. Some strains also have MAO-A inhibitors that can boost levels of serotonin and norepinephrine known, respectively, as the ‘feel-good hormone’ and the hormone that helps us handle stress.
- Pain reliever. The plant extract has long been used in medical practices for relieving pain and inflammation, specifically rheumatic pain thanks to the analgesic effects of the plant’s methanolic extract, per National Institutes of Health (NIH).