Abrojo, Abrojos, Al-Gutub, Baijili, Bindii, Bulgarian Tribulus Terrestris, Caltrop, Cat's-Head, Ci Ji Li, Common Dubbletjie, Croix-de-Malte, Devil's-Thorn, Devil's-Weed, Épine du Diable, Escarbot, Espigón, German Tribulus Terrestris, Goathead, Gokantaka, Gokhru, Gokshur, Gokshura, Nature's Viagra, Puncture Vine, Puncture Weed, Qutiba, Small Caltrops, Tribule, Tribule Terrestre, Tribulis, Tribulis Terrestris, Tribulus, Tribulus terrestris.
Overview InformationTribulus is a plant that produces fruit covered with spines. Rumor has it that tribulus is also known as puncture vine because its sharp spines can flatten bicycle tires. People use the fruit, leaf, and root as medicine.
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?Tribulus has chemicals that might increase levels of some hormones. However, it doesn't appear to increase male hormones (testosterone) in humans.
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.
Side Effects & SafetyWhen taken by mouth: Tribulus supplements are POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken for up to 90 days. Side effects are usually mild and uncommon but might include stomach pain, cramping, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, constipation, excitation, difficulty sleeping, or heavy menstrual bleeding. In rare cases, reports of kidney damage have been linked to taking tribulus. There isn't enough reliable information available to know if tribulus is safe to use for longer than 90 days or what the side effects might be.
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 & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking tribulus during pregnancy is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Animal research suggests that tribulus might harm fetal development. There isn't enough reliable information to know if Tribulus is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
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.
Be cautious with this combination
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.
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.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- 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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- Sheehan M, Rustin MHA, Atherton DJ, et al. Efficacy of traditional Chinese herbal therapy in adult atopic dermatitis. Lancet 1992;340:13-17. View abstract.
- Sheehan MP, Atherton DJ. A controlled trial of traditional Chinese medicinal plants in widespread non-exudative atopic eczema. Br J Dermatol 1992;126:179-84. View abstract.
- Sun, B., Qu, W. J., Zhang, X. L., Yang, H. J., Zhuang, X. Y., and Zhang, P. [Investigation on inhibitory and apoptosis-inducing effects of saponins from Tribulus terrestris on hepatoma cell line BEL-7402]. Zhongguo Zhong.Yao Za Zhi. 2004;29(7):681-684. View abstract.
- Sun, B., Qu, W., and Bai, Z. [The inhibitory effect of saponins from Tribulus terrestris on Bcap-37 breast cancer cell line in vitro]. Zhong.Yao Cai. 2003;26(2):104-106. View abstract.
- Taavoni S, Ekbatani NN, Haghani H. Effect of Tribulus terrestris, ginger, saffron, and Cinnamomum on menopausal symptoms: a randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Prz Menopauzalny. 2017 Mar;16(1):19-22. doi: 10.5114/pm.2017.67366. View abstract.
- Tabakova, P., Dimitrov, M., Ognyanov, K., and et al. Clinical study of Tribestan in females with endocrine sterility. Documentation for Registration (unpublished) 1999.
- Talasaz AH, Abbasi MR, Abkhiz S, Dashti-Khavidaki S. Tribulus terrestris-induced severe nephrotoxicity in a young healthy male. Nephrol Dial Tranplant 2010;25(11):3792-3. View abstract.
- Talemi MNPE, Ardakani SMP, Roozbeh B. Tribulus terrestris may decrease muscle damage markers following a high-intensity resistance exercise: a pilot study. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2020:1-7. Online ahead of print. View abstract.
- Postigo S, Lima SM, Yamada SS, et al. Assessment of the effects of Tribulus terrestris on sexual function of menopausal women. Rev Bras Ginecol Obstet 2016;38(3):140-6. View abstract.
- Protich, M., Tsvetkov, D., Nalbanski, B., Stanislavov, R., and Katsarova, M. [Clinical trial of a tribestan preparation in infertile men]. Akush.Ginekol.(Sofiia) 1983;22(4):326-329. View abstract.
- Raos, M., Bumber, Z., and Kovac, K. [A bronchial polyp and foreign body in an adolescent]. Lijec.Vjesn. 2001;123(7-8):177-178. View abstract.
- Roaiah MF, El Khayat YI, GamalEl Din SF, Abd El Salam MA. Pilot study on the effect of botanical medicine (Tribulus terrestris) on serum testosterone level and erectile function in aging males with partial androgen deficiency (PADAM). J Sex Marital Ther 2016;42(4):297-301. View abstract.
- Roaiah MF, Elkhayat YI, Saleh SF, Abd El Salam MA. Prospective analysis on the effect of botanical medicine (Tribulus terrestris) on serum testosterone level and semen parameters in males with unexplained infertility. J Diet Suppl. 2016 Jun 23:1-7. No doi. View abstract.
- Rogerson S, Riches CJ, Jennings C, et al. 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;21(2):348-53. View abstract.
- Ryan M, Lazar I, Nadasdy GM, et al. Acute kidney injury and hyperbilirubinemia in a young male after ingestion of Tribulus terrestris. Clin Nephrol 2015;83(3):177-83. View abstract.
- Samani NB, Jokar A, Soveid M, Heydari M, Mosavat SH. Efficacy of the hydroalcoholic extract of Tribulus terrestris on the serum glucose and lipid profile of women with diabetes mellitus: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2016 Oct;21(4):NP91-7. doi: 10.1177/2156587216650775. View abstract.
- Sansalone S, Leonardi R, Antonini G, et al. Alga Ecklonia bicyclis, Tribulus terrestris, and glucosamine oligosaccharide improve erectile function, sexual quality of life, and ejaculation function in patients with moderate mild-moderate erectile dysfunction: a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, single-blinded study. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:121396. View abstract.
- Sansalone S, Russo GI, Mondaini N, Cantiello F, Antonini G, Cai T. A combination of tryptophan, Satureja montana, Tribulus terrestris, Phyllanthus emblica extracts is able to improve sexual quality of life in patient with premature ejaculation. Arch Ital Urol Androl. 2016;88(3):171-176. View abstract.
- Santos CA Jr, Reis LO, Destro-Saade R, et al. Tribulus terrestris versus placebo in the treatment of erectile dysfunction: a prospective randomized, double blind study. Actas Urol Esp 2014;38(4):244-8. View abstract.
- Sellandi TM, Thakar AB, Baghel MS. Clinical study of Tribulus terrestris Linn. in oligozoospermia: a double blind study. Ayu 2012;33(3):356-64. View abstract.
- Sengupta G, Hazra A, Kundu A, Ghosh A. 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;33(12):1943-52. View abstract.
- Seth, S. D. and Jagadeesh, G. Cardiac action of Tribulus terrestris. Indian J Med Res 1976;64(12):1821-1825. View abstract.
- Seth, S. D. and Prabhakar, M. C. Preliminary pharmacological investigations of Tribulus terrestris, Linn. (Gokhru) part 1. Indian J Med Sci 1974;28(9):377-380. View abstract.
- Gauthaman K, Adaikan PG. Effect of Tribulus terrestris on nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-diaphorase activity and androgen receptors in rat brain. J Ethnopharmacol 2005;96:127-32. View abstract.
- 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.
- Glastonbury, J. R., Doughty, F. R., Whitaker, S. J., and Sergeant, E. A syndrome of hepatogenous photosensitisation, resembling geeldikkop, in sheep grazing Tribulus terrestris. Aust Vet J 1984;61(10):314-316. View abstract.
- Hong CH, Hur SK, Oh OJ, et al. Evaluation of natural products on inhibition of inducible cyclooxygenase (COX-2) and nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in cultured mouse macrophage cells. J Ethnopharmacol 2002;83:153-9. View abstract.
- 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.
- Kamenov Z, Fileva S, Kalinov K, Jannini EA. Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of Tribulus terrestris in male sexual dysfunction-A prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Maturitas. 2017 May;99:20-26. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2017.01.011. View abstract.
- Kumanov F, Bozadzhieva E, Platonova M, and et al. [Clinical testing of Tribestan]. Savr Med 1982;4:211-215.
- Li M, Qu W, Wang Y, et al. [Hypoglycemic effect of saponin from Tribulus terrestris] Zhong Yao Cai 2002;25:420-2. View abstract.
- Marques MAA, Lourenço BHLB, Reis MP, et al. Osteoprotective Effects of Tribulus terrestris L.: Relationship Between Dehydroepiandrosterone Levels and Ca2+-Sparing Effect. J Med Food. 2019 Mar;22(3):241-247. View abstract.
- Neychev, V. K. and Mitev, V. I. The aphrodisiac herb Tribulus terrestris does not influence the androgen production in young men. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005; Oct 3;101(1-3):319-23 View abstract.
- Gauthaman K, Adaikan PG, Prasad RN. Aphrodisiac properties of Tribulus Terrestris extract (Protodioscin) in normal and castrated rats. Life Sci 2002;71:1385-96. View abstract.
- 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.
- Antonio J, Uelmen J, Rodriguez R, Earnest C. The effects of Tribulus terrestris on body composition and exercise performance in resistance-trained males. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2000;10:208-15. View abstract.
- Arentz S, Smith CA, Abbott J, Fahey P, Cheema BS, Bensoussan A. Combined Lifestyle and Herbal Medicine in Overweight Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): A Randomized Controlled Trial. Phytother Res. 2017 Sep;31(9):1330-1340. View abstract.
- Baery N, Ghasemi Nejad A, Amin M, et al. Effect of vaginal suppository on bacterial vaginitis based on Persian medicine (Iranian traditional medicine): a randomised double blind clinical study. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2018 Nov;38(8):1110-1114. View abstract.
- Bedir, E. and Khan, I. A. New steroidal glycosides from the fruits of Tribulus terrestris. J Nat Prod 2000;63(12):1699-1701. View abstract.
- Bedir, E., Khan, I. A., and Walker, L. A. Biologically active steroidal glycosides from Tribulus terrestris. Pharmazie 2002;57(7):491-493. View abstract.
- Bourke, C. A., Stevens, G. R., and Carrigan, M. J. Locomotor effects in sheep of alkaloids identified in Australian Tribulus terrestris. Aust.Vet.J 1992;69(7):163-165. View abstract.
- Brown GA, Vukovich MD, Martini ER, et al. Effects of androstenedione-herbal supplementation on serum sex hormone concentrations in 30- to 59-year-old men. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 2001;71:293-301. View abstract.
- Brown GA, Vukovich MD, Martini ER, et al. Endocrine and lipid responses to chronic androstenediol-herbal supplementation in 30 to 58 year old men. J Am Coll Nutr 2001;20:520-8. View abstract.
- Brown GA, Vukovich MD, Reifenrath TA, et al. Effects of anabolic precursors on serum testosterone concentrations and adaptations to resistance training in young men. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2000;10:340-59. View abstract.
- Campanelli M, De Thomasis R, Tenaglia RL. Priapism caused by 'Tribulus terrestris'. Int J Impot Res 2016;28(1):39-40. View abstract.
- Conrad, J., Dinchev, D., Klaiber, I., Mika, S., Kostova, I., and Kraus, W. A novel furostanol saponin from Tribulus terrestris of Bulgarian origin. Fitoterapia 2004;75(2):117-122. View abstract.
- De Combarieu E, Fuzzati N, Lovati M, Mercalli E. Furostanol saponins from Tribulus terrestris. Fitoterapia 2003;74:583-91. View abstract.
- de Souza KZ, Vale FB, Geber S. Efficacy of Tribulus terrestris for the treatment of hypoactive sexual desire disorder in postmenopausal women: a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Menopause. 2016 Nov;23(11):1252-1256. doi: 10.1080/09513590.2017.1409711 View abstract.
- Deepak M, Dipankar G, Prashanth D, et al. Tribulosin and beta-sitosterol-D-glucoside, the anthelmintic principles of Tribulus terrestris. Phytomedicine 2002;9:753-6. View abstract.
- Deng, Y., Yang, L., and An, S. L. [Effect of Tribulus terrestris L decoction of different concentrations on tyrosinase activity and the proliferation of melanocytes]. Di Yi.Jun.Yi.Da.Xue.Xue.Bao. 2002;22(11):1017-1019. View abstract.
- Dudley JP. Bilateral pneumothorax resulting from the bronchoscopic removal of a puncture vine fruit. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 1983;92:396-7. View abstract.
- Fung AY, Look PC, Chong LY, et al. A controlled trial of traditional Chinese herbal medicine in Chinese patients with recalcitrant atopic dermatitis. Int J Dermatol 1999;38:387-92 . View abstract.
- Twaij HA, Elisha EE, Khalid RM, and et al. Analgesic studies on some Iraqi medicinal plants. International Journal of Crude Drug Research 1987;25(4):251-254.
- Vale FBC, Zanolla Dias de Souza K, Rezende CR, Geber S. Efficacy of Tribulus Terrestris for the treatment of premenopausal women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder: a randomized double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2018 May;34(5):442-445. doi: 10.1080/09513590.2017.1409711. View abstract.
- Walker D, Bird A, Flora T, O'Sullivan B. Some effects of feeding Tribulus terrestris, Ipomoea lonchophylla and the seed of Abelmoschus ficulneus on fetal development and the outcome of pregnancy in sheep. Reprod Fertil Dev 1992;4:135-44. View abstract.
- Wang B, Ma L, Liu T. 406 cases of angina pectoris in coronary heart disease treated with saponin of Tribulus terrestris. Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih 1990;10:85-7. View abstract.
- Wilkins AL, et al. Photosensitivity in South Africa. IX. Structure elucidation of a beta-glucosidase-treated saponin from Tribulus terrestis, and the identification of saponin chemotypes of South African T. terrestis. Onderstepoort Journal Veterinary Res 1996; 63:327-34. View abstract.
- Zarkova S. [Steroid saponins of Tribulus terrestris L. have a stimulant effect on the sexual function]. Rev Port Ciencias Vet 1984;79(470):117-126.
- Zhang W, Leonard T, Bath-Hextall F, et al. Chinese herbal medicine for atopic eczema. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2004;4:CD002291. View abstract.
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