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Natural and Alternative Treatments Index Page | Herbs & Supplements:

Tribulus terrestris


Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:
  • Abrojos, puncture vine, caltrops, land caltrops

 

Introduction

Tribulus terrestris is a vine with yellow flowers. It has been used to help control blood glucose and improve sexual function. Tribulus terrestris can be taken as a pill, powder, or extract.

Dosages

250 milligrams 1 to 3 times daily

 

What Research Shows

May Be Effective

  • Diabetes—may help lower blood glucose B1 
  • Erectile dysfunction—may improve sexual performance C1-C4 
  • Hypoactive sexual desire disorder—may improve symptoms D1-D3 
  • Menopause—may improve sexual function E1 

Not Enough Data to Assess

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

 

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to take tribulus terrestris in small doses for a short time, but belly cramps and diarrhea are possible. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period.F1, F2  It is also not known whether it is safe to take by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Interactions

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.


References [ + ]

A. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

A1. Sengupta G, Hazra A, et al. 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 Dec;33(12):1943-1952.

B. Diabetes

B1. Samani NM, Jokar A, et al. 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;21(4):NP91-97.

C. Erectile Dysfunction

C1. Sansalone S, Leonardi R, 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.

C2. Santos CA Jr, Reis LO, et al. Tribulus terrestris versus placebo in the treatment of erectile dysfunction: A prospective, randomized, double blind study. Actas Urol Esp. 2014 May;38(4):244-248.

C3. Kamenov Z, Fileva S, et al. Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of tribulus terrestris in male sexual dysfunction-A prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Maturitas. 2017;99:20-26.

C4. Borrelli F, Colalto C, et al. Herbal Dietary Supplements for Erectile Dysfunction: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Drugs. 2018 Apr;78(6):643-673.

D. Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder

D1. Akhtari E, Raisi F, et al. Tribulus terrestris for treatment of sexual dysfunction in women: randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study. Daru. 2014;22:40.

D2. de Souza KZ, Vale FB, et al. 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.

D3. Vale FBC, Zanolla Dias de Souza K, et al. 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.

E. Menopause

E1. Postigo S, Lima SM, et al. Assessment of the effects of tribulus terrestris on sexual function of menopausal women. Rev Bras Ginecol Obstet. 2016;38(3):140-146.

F. Safety

F1. Talasaz AH, Abbasi MR, et al. Tribulus terrestris-induced severe nephrotoxicity in a young healthy male. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2010 Nov;25(11):3792-3793.

F2. Brown AC. Kidney toxicity related to herbs and dietary supplements: Online table of case reports. Part 3 of 5 series. Food Chem Toxicol. 2017 Sep;107(Pt A):502-519.



Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
Last Updated: 3/27/2020

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