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What Does Tribulus Terrestris do? Benefits, Effectiveness & Side Effects

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. July 26, 2017
What Does Tribulus Terrestris do? Benefits, Effectiveness & Side Effects

Tribulus terrestris is the scientific name of a plant, the extract of which is used as a dietary supplement. The plant is commonly known as puncturevine, devil's weed, bindii, bullhead or caltrop.

As a dietary supplement, it is supposed to increase in the production of testosterone in the body and increase sex drive. It is popular among athletes an is particularly bodybuilders, to increase strength and muscle mass.

In traditional Chinese and Indian medicine, the extract is mixed in tonic and is used as an aphrodisiac and a remedy for the liver, kidneys, urinary tract and cardiovascular medicine. This is all you need to know if you're taking the supplement. So what does tribulus terrestris do? Keep on reading this oneHOWTO article to find out about its benefits.


  1. Active chemical
  2. Action
  3. Availability
  4. The nature of the effects
  5. Side effects

Active chemical

Tribulus terrestris nutritional supplements contain plant extracts. These extracts have a concentration of 40 to 45 percent of chemical compounds called furostanol saponins, which are simply a type of steroid naturally occurring in plants. The most active and dominant of these chemicals is the protodioscin.

There are two reactions in the human body to Tribulus terrestris that are largely attributed to the presence of protodioscin.

Increased testosterone production

Tribulus terrestris is used in mild cases of erectile dysfunction as, according to certain studies[1], it is the amount of protodioscin that increases the amount of sex hormones in the human body.

Several studies have analyzed the value of Tribulus terrestris when increasing activity and strength, as many bodybuilders use this supplement. In these studies[2] [3], they have found no clear evidence that it is true.

Tribulus terrestris in Chinese and Indian medicine

Many traditional medicines from around the world have been using this supplement for several reasons, the most common being:

  • Antibacterial and antifungal: In Iraq, Tribulus terrestris has been used in urinary track infections. Moreover, a study found that it was a useful antibacterial when fighting several bacterial infections such as candida[4].
  • Ayurvedic pharmacology: This plant, which is known as Gokshura, is used to build the reproductive tissue and used for gastrointestinal diseases due to its diuretic properties.
What Does Tribulus Terrestris do? Benefits, Effectiveness & Side Effects - Active chemical


The chemical compounds extracted from the Tribulus terrestris plant stimulate the release of luteinising hormone (LH) in the pituitary gland. LH is a hormone that is essential for reproduction. In men, LH acts on Leydig cells in the testes, which produce testosterone.

One effect of increased testosterone levels is an increase in the production of sperm cells and sperm motility. Protodioscin also affects the production of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). DHEA is the most abundant steroid in the human body and is formed in the adrenal glands. The body converts DHEA into oestrogen and testosterone.

Another activity related to protodioscin is the release of nitric oxide in the cavernous body of the penis, which is the male erectile tissue. The Tribulus terrestris is therefore also known for its libido enhancing qualities.


Tribulus terrestris can be found as a supplement in soluble powder, which is normally packaged as pure Tribulus supplements.

They can also be found in tablet-form as well as as capsules and liquid extracts. Variations of these products combine the extract with other nutritional supplements. These products are not artificially synthesized medicines .

The nature of the effects

The effects are not immediate and only begin to appear after a period of constant consumption, usually two to three weeks.

The recommended daily dose for tribulus products is 750-1250 milligrams. It is suggested that the total daily dose should be divided and to be taken at different times of the day , e.g. at mealtimes.

Side effects

Initial tests of Tribulus terrestris were carried out on animals. A constant supply of high doses of the extract showed the opposite effect: reduced strength and coordination.

In humans, about 1 in 10 experienced an upset stomach. There was also a rare reported case of gynecomastia, which is the abnormal enlargement of the mammary glands in men.

However, most studies show no significant adverse or toxic effects.

The extract increases testosterone levels by 40 percent. The average level of testosterone in human males is 600 nanograms per decilitre (ng / dl), but with tribulus this level can be increased to 850 ng / dl, which is still within the normal range of 300-1000 ng / dl. Remember to always consult your doctor.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to What Does Tribulus Terrestris do? Benefits, Effectiveness & Side Effects, we recommend you visit our Drugs & supplements category.

  1. Gauthaman, Kalamegam, and Adaikan P. Ganesan. "The hormonal effects of Tribulus terrestris and its role in the management of male erectile dysfunction–an evaluation using primates, rabbit and rat." Phytomedicine15.1 (2008): 44-54.
  2. Brown GA, Vukovich MD, Reifenrath TA, Uhl NL, Parsons KA, Sharp RL, King DS (2000). "Effects of anabolic precursors on serum testosterone concentrations and adaptations to resistance training in young men". International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
  3. Antonio, Jose, et al. "The effects of Tribulus terrestris on body composition and exercise performance in resistance-trained males." International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism 10.2 (2000): 208-215.
  4. Al-Bayati, Firas A., and Hassan F. Al-Mola. "Antibacterial a
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What Does Tribulus Terrestris do? Benefits, Effectiveness & Side Effects