People use tribulus for conditions such as chest pain, eczema, enlarged prostate, sexual disorders, infertility, and many others, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
How does it work ?
Uses & Effectiveness ?
Possibly Effective for
- Sexual problems that prevent satisfaction during sexual activity. Research shows that taking tribulus can improve the sexual experience in women who have sexual dysfunction or low sexual desire. Taking tribulus seems to improve sexual desire, arousal, sensation, ability to reach orgasm, lubrication, and sexual comfort. Early research also shows that taking tribulus can improve sexual satisfaction in men with erectile dysfunction.
Possibly Ineffective for
- Athletic performance. Taking tribulus by mouth, alone or with other herbs and supplements, doesn't seem to enhance body composition or exercise performance in athletes.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Chest pain (angina). Early research shows that taking tribulus extract by mouth might reduce symptoms of angina.
- Eczema (atopic dermatitis). Taking tribulus by mouth in combination with 9 other herbs might reduce redness and skin outbreaks in adults and children with a certain type of eczema. However, some research shows no benefit.
- Enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH). Early research shows that taking a supplement containing tribulus and curry leaf (Murraya koenigii) for 12 weeks improves symptoms similar to the prescription drug tamsulosin in men with an enlarged prostate. Other early research shows that taking a supplement containing tribulus, brown algae, chitosan, and saw palmetto for 2 months improves symptoms and quality of life in men with lower urinary tract symptoms, with or without BPH.
- Erectile dysfunction (ED). The effect of tribulus for erectile dysfunction is unclear. Some early research shows that taking tribulus for 3 months improves erections and sexual satisfaction in men with and without a condition called partial androgen deficiency. Men with this condition often have ED. Other early research shows that taking a supplement containing tribulus, brown algae, and chitosan for 3 months improves sexual satisfaction, desire, ability to ejaculate, and sexual quality of life in men with ED. However, other research shows that taking tribulus for 30 days does not improve erections in men with ED.
- Muscle damage caused by exercise. Early research shows that taking tribulus for 2 weeks before intense exercise might reduce some muscle damage caused by exercise.
- Conditions in a man that prevent him from getting a woman pregnant within a year of trying to conceive (male infertility). Research on tribulus for infertility is conflicting. Some early research shows that taking tribulus for up to 3 months does not improve sperm count in men with low sperm count or men with unexplained infertility. However, other research shows that taking a specific tribulus product for 30 days improves ejaculate volume, sperm concentration, and sperm movement in men with low sperm count and defective sperm movement. Other research shows that taking the same tribulus product for 1-2 months may increase sexual desire and erections in some men who have infertility due to low levels of testosterone.
- Symptoms of menopause. Early research shows that taking a supplement containing tribulus and other ingredients twice daily for 4 weeks improves some menopausal symptoms such as depression and tiredness, but not other symptoms like vaginal dryness. The effect of tribulus alone on menopausal symptoms is unknown.
- A hormonal disorder that causes enlarged ovaries with cysts (polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS). Early research shows that taking tribulus and other ingredients for 3 months might improve menstrual cycle regularity, improve quality of life, and decrease body weight in women with PCOS. Although women taking this combination had a higher rate of becoming pregnant, this did not make them more likely to give birth. The effect of taking tribulus alone for the treatment of PCOS is unknown.
- Early orgasm in men (premature ejaculation). Early research shows that taking a supplement containing tribulus and other ingredients daily for 3 months improves time to ejaculation by 30 seconds. However, the effect of taking tribulus alone for the treatment of premature ejaculation is unknown.
- "Tired blood" (anemia).
- Intestinal gas (flatulence).
- Overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina.
- Other conditions.
Eating the spine-covered fruit of tribulus is LIKELY UNSAFE. There has been a report of a serious lung problem linked to eating the fruit.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Diabetes. Tribulus might decrease blood sugar levels. Dose of diabetes medications might need to be adjusted by your healthcare provider.
Surgery: Tribulus might affect blood sugar levels and blood pressure. This might interfere with blood sugar and blood pressure control during and after surgery. Stop using tribulus at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with TRIBULUS
Tribulus might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking tribulus along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
Lithium interacts with TRIBULUS
Tribulus might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking tribulus might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.
Be cautious with this combination
- For sexual problems that prevent satisfaction during sexual activity: 250 mg tribulus powdered extract three times daily taken after meals for 3 months has been used for women. Also, tribulus extract 7.5 mg daily for 4 weeks has been used for women. 500 mg three times daily for 3 months has been used for men.
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Seth, S. D. and Jagadeesh, G. Cardiac action of Tribulus terrestris. Indian J Med Res 1976;64(12):1821-1825. View abstract.
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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;15(1-2):44-54. View abstract.
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Huang, J. W., Tan, C. H., Jiang, S. H., and Zhu, D. Y. Terrestrinins A and B, two new steroid saponins from Tribulus terrestris. J Asian Nat Prod Res 2003;5(4):285-290. View abstract.
Iacono F, Prezioso D, Illiano E, et al. Observational study: daily treatment with a new compound "Tradamixina" plus serenoa repens for two months improved the lower urinary tract symptoms. BMC Surg 2012;12 Suppl 1:S22. View abstract.
Jacob, R. H. and Peet, R. L. Poisoning of sheep and goats by Tribulis terrestris (caltrop). Aust Vet J 1987;64(9):288-289. View abstract.
Jameel, J. K., Kneeshaw, P. J., Rao, V. S., and Drew, P. J. Gynaecomastia and the plant product "Tribulis terrestris". Breast 2004;13(5):428-430. View abstract.
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Adimoelja, A. Phytochemicals and the breakthrough of traditional herbs in the management of sexual dysfunctions. Int J Androl 2000;23 Suppl 2:82-84. View abstract.
Kohut, M. L., Thompson, J. R., Campbell, J., Brown, G. A., Vukovich, M. D., Jackson, D. A., and King, D. S. Ingestion of a dietary supplement containing dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and androstenedione has minimal effect on immune function in middle-aged men. J Am Coll Nutr 2003;22(5):363-371. View abstract.
Adaikan, P. G., Gauthaman, K., Prasad, R. N., and Ng, S. C. Proerectile pharmacological effects of Tribulus terrestris extract on the rabbit corpus cavernosum. Ann Acad.Med Singapore 2000;29(1):22-26. View abstract.
Akhtari E, Raisi F, Keshavarz M, et al. Tribulus terrestris for treatment of sexual dysfunction in women: randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study. Daru 2014;22:40. View abstract.
Al-Ali M, Wahbi S, Twaij H, Al-Badr A. Tribulus terrestris: preliminary study of its diuretic and contractile effects and comparison with Zea mays. J Ethnopharmacol 2003;85:257-60. View abstract.
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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.
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