Tribulus terrestris is an herbal remedy long used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. While the original use of the herb was to combat conditions such as infertility, erectile dysfunction and low libido, have Tribulus seen a recent resurgence of use as sports performance enhancer, because of its alleged testosterone increasing qualities. Studies, however, is clear
Tribulus terrestris is a plant that grows in moderate to tropical climate in the US, Mexico, Eastern Europe, India and China. The leaves are less than a quarter inch long, and flowers produces spiky seeds that are sharp enough to puncture a bicycle tire. The seeds remain viable for 3-7 years on average.
In China, the herb is known as bai ji li. In India it is referred to as gokshura.
While the eastern world has known for the good properties of Tribulus terrestris in centuries, Western culture first introduced to Tribulus through its popularity with Eastern European Olympic athletes of the 1970s, who praised the compound for its supposed ability to increase testosterone . While Tribulus was originally used to overcome infertility, erectile dysfunction and low libido is Tribulus currently marketed primarily as an athletic performance enhancer. The benefits of increased levels of testosterone are well known, including increased muscle mass, decreased levels of body fat, and rapid increases in strength.
Animal studies have indicated that the administration of Tribulus terrestris resulted in significant increases in levels of testosterone, dihydrotestosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone. Apparently, operates Tribulus by signaling the pituitary gland to produce increased amounts of LH (luteinizing hormone). This in turn has a profound effect which then signals the gonads to increase testosterone production, but not into super-physiological range. Unfortunately, however, through the mechanism of aromatization, this also results in significant increases in estrogen levels.
Does it work?
Human studies with Tribulus is less than conclusive. A study with 15 subjects concluded that Tribulus had no effect on body composition or athletic performance. Others have reached similar conclusions. Proponents of herbal extract argue that studies claiming ineffectiveness misused harvesting techniques, inadequate doses or improper administration of the compound. In short, the evidence either for or against the use of Tribulus to boost testosterone levels are inconclusive, but anecdotal evidence suggests that for some, it lives herb up to its reputation.
Is it safe?
For sheep, no. In sheep, leads Tribulus an irreversible condition which eventually leads to death. In humans, it seems Tribulus to be quite safe, although it is not without limitations. Pregnant or nursing women should not use tribulus, or should younger boys. People with hormone-dependent conditions such as prostate cancer or breast cancer should also abstain. Some reported cases of gynecomastia have emerged, although this seems to be very rare. The point is that Tribulus is relatively mild, with few noticed side effects.