Tribulus terrestris Extract Benefits and Side Effects - Reviews
Puncture Vine, Caltrop, Yellow Vine, and Goathead
Potential Health Benefits of Tribulus Terrestris

Tribulus terrestris is currently used to enhance physical performance regardless of scientific evidence of effect. [1]

In Iraq, extracts from fruits, leaves and roots of Tribulus terrestris L. are used as urinary anti-infective in folk medicine. In
a study, all the extracts from the different parts of the plant showed antimicrobial activity against most tested
microorganisms. The most active extract against both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria was ethanol extract
from the fruits with a minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) value of 0.15 mg/ml against B. subtilis, B. cereus, P. vulgaris
and C. diphtheriae. In addition, the same extract from the same plant part demonstrated the strongest antifungal activity
against C. albicans with an MIC value of 0.15 mg/ml.[3]

Erectile Dysfunction
In an animal study, Tribulus terrestris increases some of the sex hormones, possibly due to the presence of protodioscin
in the extract. Thus, some researchers believe Tribulus terrestris may be useful in mild to moderate cases of erectile
dysfunction in rabbits and rats. [4]

A controlled trial was conducted with treatment-naive ambulatory patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia aged >50
years. Patients received either standardized extracts of Murraya koenigii and Tribulus terrestris leaves in a dose of 2
capsules BID or tamsulosin 400 μg once daily for 12 weeks with 2 interim follow-up visits at the end of 4 and 8 weeks.
The plant extracts reduced prostate volume from 33.5 mL to 31.6 mL. The corresponding reduction with tamsulosin,
from 41.3 mL to 39.9 mL, was not statistically significant. Peak urinary flow rate did not change appreciably. Mild joint
pain was the most common adverse side effects in both arms. No serious side effects were encountered. [A1]

Tribulus terrestris may benefit people at risk of diabetes, as its extracts significantly decrease fasting glucose level in
diabetic rats. [5] In another rat study, researchers found that the protective effect of Tribulus terrestris on STZ-induced
diabetic rats may be mediated by inhibiting oxidative stress. [9]

Muscle Mass
Tribulus terrestris is promoted to produce large gains in strength and lean muscle mass in 5-28 days. However,
researchers found T. terrestris did not produce the large gains in strength or lean muscle mass that many
manufacturers claim can be experienced within 5-28 days. [6]


[1] Bucci LR. Selected herbals and human exercise performance, Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Aug;72(2 Suppl):624S-36S. [2]
Su L, Chen G, Feng SG, Wang W, Li ZF, Chen H, Liu YX, Pei YH. Steroidal saponins from Tribulus terrestris. Steroids.
2008 Dec 30. [3] Al-Bayati FA, Al-Mola HF.Antibacterial and antifungal activities of different parts of Tribulus terrestris L.
growing in Iraq. J Zhejiang Univ Sci B. 2008 Feb;9(2):154-9. [4] Gauthaman K, Ganesan AP.  The hormonal effects of
Tribulus terrestris and its role in the management of male erectile dysfunction--an evaluation using primates, rabbit and
rat.  Phytomedicine. 2008 Jan;15(1-2):44-54. [5] El-Tantawy WH, Hassanin LA. Hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects
of alcoholic extract of Tribulus alatus in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats: a comparative study with T. terrestris
(Caltrop). Indian J Exp Biol. 2007 Sep;45(9):785-90. [6] Rogerson S, Riches CJ, Jennings C, Weatherby RP, Meir RA,
Marshall-Gradisnik SM. The effect of five weeks of Tribulus terrestris supplementation on muscle strength and body
composition during preseason training in elite rugby league players. J Strength Cond Res. 2007 May;21(2):348-53. [7]
Guo Y, Shi DZ, Yin HJ, Chen KJ. Effects of Tribuli saponins on ventricular remodeling after myocardial infarction in
hyperlipidemic rats.  Am J Chin Med. 2007;35(2):309-16. [8] Heidari MR, Mehrabani M, Pardakhty A, Khazaeli P, Zahedi
MJ, Yakhchali M, Vahedian M. The analgesic effect of Tribulus terrestris extract and comparison of gastric ulcerogenicity
of the extract with indomethacine in animal experiments. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Jan;1095:418-27. [9] Amin A, Lotfy M,
Shafiullah M, Adeghate E. The protective effect of Tribulus terrestris in diabetes. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Nov;1084:391-
401. [A1] Sengupta G, et al, Comparison of Murraya koenigii- and Tribulus terrestris-Based Oral Formulation Versus
Tamsulosin in the Treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia in Men Aged >50 Years: A Double-Blind, Double-Dummy,
Randomized Controlled Trial. Clin Ther. 2011 Dec;33(12):1943-52.
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According to Wikipedia, Tribulus terrestris is a flowering plant in the family Zygophyllaceae, native to warm temperate and tropical regions of the Old
World in southern Europe, southern Asia, throughout Africa, and in northern Australia. It can thrive even in desert climates and poor soil.

Tribulus terrestris L is used in the Arabic folk medicine to treat various diseases. Tribulus terrestris has been used a constituent in tonics in Indian
ayurveda practice, where it is known by its Sanskrit name, "gokshura." In Iran, it is used for relieving rheumatic pain and as an analgesic plant. [8]

The fruits of Tribulus terrestris contains different steroidal saponins. [2]Researchers found some saponins are able to lower serum lipidemia in rats.