Tribulus Terrestris Effective for ED

Modern research is backing traditional medicine’s use of tribulus terrestris as a beneficial herb for sexual activity and erectile dysfunction.

The Jan 25, 2008 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Phytomedicine published a systematic review investigating dozens of animal tests done with tribulus terrestris and concluded the herb appears to be an effective treatment for mild to moderate erectile dysfunction.

The Physicians’ Desktop Reference lists common uses of tribulus terrestris as:

  • Increasing sex drive
  • Treating erectile dysfunction
  • Increasing fertility & sperm volume
  • Relieving urinary tract problems
  • Building muscle mass

Tribulus terrestris may lower blood pressure and help treat angina, which is chest pain resulting from lack of blood flow to the heart, according to eMedTV.

And it is valued as a general tonic for physical, mental and emotional vigor.

Australian Research on Tribulus Terrestris

Commonly used by body builders for muscle strength, tribulus terrestris came to notice in the US and Australia after scientists in Bulgaria did a series of studies with men and women which showed good results for in treating erectile dysfunction and menopausal symptoms.
bulgarian weightlifters - tribulus terrestris
After the Bulgarian Olympics weight lifting team credited tribulus terrestris with its sporting success it became a popular supplement in high impact sports like American football and for body builders seeking extra strength and lean muscle mass.

However several studies including an Australian tribulus terrestris study done with elite Rugby League players at the Southern Cross University in Lismore did not support these body building claims.

The League players who took tribulus terrestris during pre-season heavy resistance training showed no significant gain in strength or muscle over five weeks, compared with a control group.

One positive was the tribulus terrestris did not elevate testosterone levels in the player’s urine and so did not place them at risk in routine drug testing.

What is Tribulus Terrestris?

Tribulus terrestris is known as the “roadside sex weed” because it grows wild throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas, and it also grows wild in outback Australia, where it is believed it was introduced at the turn of the century from seed dropped from camels imported from Afghanistan.

Well known in Ayurvedic medicine, in many places it is considered a noxious weed and its foliage is toxic to sheep if consumed in large quantities. Another popular name is puncture vine because its long thorns can pierce bicycle tyres.

ancient indians - tribulus terrestrisSince ancient times tribulus terrestris has been used for sexual dysfunction as well as a wide range of other health conditions including hypertension and high cholesterol

It was known to the Ancient Greeks and in China and India tribulus terrestris was celebrated for its benefits as a natural medicine for the liver, kidneys, urinary track and cardiovascular system.

How Does Tribulus Terrestris Work?

Like all herbs, tribulus terrestris has many active compounds which work in multiple complementary ways to enhance physical and emotional health.

1) Tribulus terrestris increases and balances hormone levels

Animal research indicates tribulus may work by increasing levels of hormones, including testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, according to eMedTV.

While tribulus terrestris supports and assists the body’s natural production of testosterone it should be clearly understood tribulus terrestris is not a hormone supplement. By promoting production of the body’s own hormones, it works only within the body’s natural limits to help men achieve their strength and potential. 

Tribulus terrestris will not cause the body to indefinitely produce more and more testosterone, rather it balances natural hormone levels.

Tribulus terrestris research shows:

  • Studies in Bulgaria in the 1980s revealed men who had been unable to achieve an erection or with low libido showed significant improvement from taking tribulus terrestris extract. A follow-up study on healthy men aged 28 to 45 showed a 30%+ increase in testosterone after five days of taking a 250mg capsule of tribulus terrestris three times a day. (1)
  • The European research also showed tribulus terrestris extract can significantly improve the quantity and quality of sperm. It should be noted that sperm needs 80 days to reach maturity, so researchers recommend that men hoping for improved sperm quality take tribulus terrestris for at least this length of time.( 2)


2) Tribulus terrestris relaxes artery walls and increases blood flow

For erectile dysfunction, the effects tribulus terrestis has in relaxing smooth muscle and increasing blood flow helps strengthen erections.

The herb’s relaxing of the arteries of the heart makes it beneficial for the treatment of angina, and tribulus terrestris may reduce blood pressure by inhibiting angiotensin-converting enzymes, similar to blood pressure medications called ACE inhibitors, according to eMedTV.

Tribulus terrestris research shows:

  • Chinese research on 406 cases of angina showed an 82% improvement with tribulus terrestris treatment. It had the effect of dilating the coronary artery system. It was also found to have no adverse action on blood and renal systems when taken long term, and no other unwanted side effects. (3)


3) Tribulus terrestris Intensifies protein synthesis

Particularly in the liver, kidney, and heart tissue of animals, while it enhances energy metabolism.


animal studies - tribulus terrestrisResearchers speculate tribulus terrestris is very effective tonic for physical, mental and emotional vigor because its steroidal properties may enable it to regulate the

secretion of anti-stress hormones such as cortisol, produced by the adrenal cortex.

It’s effectiveness in improving motor activity and muscle tone, and helping restore vigor, vitality, and stamina has been verified in animal studies.

Tribulus terrestris research shows:

4) Tribulus Terrestris has sterols for prostate health and diuretic effect for urinary health:

The herb also may have a diuretic effect, and an increase in urine production from tribulus terrestris may benefit urinary tract disorders.

Tribulus contains sterols like betasitosterols. These active substances in tribulus terrestris protect the prostate from swelling and in combination with the X steroidal saponins, help prevent prostate cancer.

Related use: traditionally Ayurvedic medicine has used tribulus terrestris to effectively treat gout(3)

tribulus terrestris safe
How Safe is Tribulus Terrestris?

No adverse effects to the central nervous or cardiovascular systems were noted in any of the studies that were undertaken. No known negative effects presently exist where tribulus terrestris is used as a dietary supplement.

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1. Viktorov IV, Kaloyanov AL, Lilov L, et al. Clinical investigation on Tribestan in males with disorders in the sexual function. Med-Biol Inf. 1982
2. Milanov, S. et al., Tribestan effect on the concentration of some hormones in serum of healthy subjects, 1983
3. Jayaram S, et al. Tribulus. Indian Drugs 1993;30(10):498-500.  Quoted in Natural Plants 
Effective in Treatment of Sexual Dysfunction: A Review, NK Saini, M Singhai B Srivastava and S Sharma.
4. 406 cases of angina pectoris in coronary heart disease treated with saponin of Tribulus terrestris] Wang B; Ma L; Liu T Research Unit of Cardiovascular Disease, Jilin Medical College. Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih Feb 1990, 10 (2) p87-7, 68