The medicinal power of tribulus terrestris

The tribulus originates from the Mediterranean region and from there spread across Europe, Asia and America. It likes to grow in a dry place. The plant has long been used as an aphrodisiac and its sexual energy-enhancing effect has been confirmed by numerous scientific studies. It is known for claims being made about its muscle enlarging and muscle strengthening capabilities, but these claims are not confirmed by scientific research.
NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Tribulus / Source: Stan Shebs, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)


  • Naming tribulus
  • History of tribulus
  • Tribulus as a muscle strengthening agent
  • Tribulus as an aphrodisiac
  • Tribulus during menopause
  • Other medicinal effects of tribulus
  • Consult a herbal therapist


Naming tribulus

Tribulus Terrestris is the Latin name of this plant. Tribulus means ‘problem’. The reason the plant is called that becomes apparent when you step on the seed. Then you have a big problem. A cyclist can also have a big problem if he cycles over the spiky seed. Terrestris means ‘from the ground’. You could loosely translate it as ‘problem lying on the ground’. In Dutch the plant is called tribulus.

Tribulus / Source: H. Zell, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

History of tribulus

In Indian Ayurveda, tribulus is a means to increase vitality, increase sex drive and promote digestion. In traditional Chinese medicine, the fruit is used to stimulate the functioning of the kidneys and liver and is used to treat tinnitus or ringing in the ears. More research needs to be done to support observations that tribulus promotes muscle mass.

Tribulus as a muscle strengthening agent

Tribulus stimulates the production of the body’s own testosterone. This makes it possibly an anabolic or muscle mass increasing agent. It promotes muscle strength and performance. Because too little research has been done, we have to say that tribulus may increase the level of luteinizing hormone (LH). LH is formed by the pituitary gland and regulates testosterone levels. All kinds of research from this new millennium contradict claims by sellers that it promotes muscle mass and strength. Recent research contradicts sellers’ claims that it is a muscle-enhancing agent.

Tribulus / Source: H. Zell, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

Tribulus as an aphrodisiac

Tribulus is an aphrodisiac. This has been extensively researched in science and this effect has been confirmed time and time again. It increases the number of spermatozoa and their motility. The man’s erectile capacity is increased. It is easier for men to get an erection after taking tribulus because this herb supports blood flow to the erectile tissues. The desire for sexual intercourse increases in both men and women. This means it is used for the following indications:

  • Libido deficiency in men and women,
  • Male infertility,
  • impotence.


Tribulus during menopause

Tribulus promotes the production of estrogens in women. The steroid saponins bind to estrogen receptors in the hypothalamus, causing the woman to produce more estrogen. This reduces the woman’s menopausal symptoms. For this medicinal reason it is prescribed for:

Tribulus / Source: Ariel Palmon, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

  • Menopausal complaints,
  • Too low estrogen levels in women
  • Female infertility.


Other medicinal effects of tribulus

  • Because it has a vasodilating effect, it promotes blood circulation, also in the coronary arteries, and is used for angina pectoris or heart cramps.
  • Because it is a urine and uric acid propellant, it is used to dispel edema and to treat kidney stones.
  • It relaxes the smooth muscle cells. This makes it an adjunct to high blood pressure. It can also be used for: spasms, abdominal pain and flatulence.
  • It is a tonic or general tonic. Therefore, it can be prescribed for: weakness and fatigue without organic cause.


Consult a herbal therapist

Anyone who wants to use tribulus as a medicinal product is recommended to consult a herbal therapist. Tribulus extracts and medicines in the form of mother tinctures, powders, nebulisate, liquid extract, ointment, cream and capsules should only be used on the prescription of authorized persons. A herbal therapist can tell you more about this, as well as about any side effects and interactions with other medicines or herbs. There are also beneficial combinations with herbs. All medicinal effects of this medicinal herb mentioned in this article are based on scientific research and come from Geert Verhelst’s Large Handbook of Medicinal Plants, a standard work in the field of healing plants. The book is used in phytotherapy.

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