Can Tribulus Terrestris Cure Erectile Dysfunction And Improve libido?
By Johnathan P Cumberwell
Let’s learn more about this plant.
Tribulus Terrestris is a plant of the family Zygophyllaceae, and has been used for medicinal purposes in China, India, Pakistan, the Middle East and parts of Africa, for thousands of years.
It’s a hardy plant that is native to warm, temperate and tropical regions of Europe, Southern Asia, Africa and Australia.
Due to its rapid growth however, it has spread around the world and become an unwelcome weed and invasive plant in many areas.
It’s a plant traditionally used as a physical rejuvenation tonic, for supporting the immune system, treating liver and kidney conditions, cough problems, skin conditions, headaches, vertigo, respiratory disorders, inflammation, infertility, and as an aphrodisiac.
Today, it is mostly used for infertility, sexual health and as an athletic performance enhancer.
Tribulus Terrestris is an annual plant, meaning that it completes its life cycle from germination to seed in one year, and then dies.
Its stems and branches are normally 20-60 cm long, with even and opposite green and hairy leaves forming leaflets of up to 10 cm.
It generally grows low to the ground, where it forms dense mats 2 to 5 feet in diameter.
Tribulus Terrestris has small yellow flowers and produces a fruit covered with sharp spines.
Because of its rapid growth and its spikes, it has received many names such as Devils Thorn, Devils Weed and Puncture Vine.
The parts of the plant that are normally used for medicinal purposes, are the fruits and the root.
There are more than 20 species in the Tribulus family, but Tribulus Terrestris is the most frequently utilized plant for supplements.
Let’s learn how this plant can impact your sex life.
How Does Tribulus Terrestris Improve Erectile Dysfunction And Libido?
Tribulus Terrestris Can Increase Testosterone Production
Research has also indicated that Tribulus can increase the number of Leydig cells in your testicles.
When you have more ‘factories’ (Leydig cells) producing testosterone, you are also likely to produce more of it.
A third pathway that has been proposed is that protodioscin may be a precursor to dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). This DHEA in turn, is a precursor to testosterone.
Therefore, the more DHEA you have, the more testosterone you will normally also produce.
Tribulus Terrestris Can Increase Nitric Oxide Production
Tribulus Terrestris has also in research studies (see below) shown an ability to increase nitric oxide production.
And why do you need nitric oxide?
You need nitric oxide in order to get erections.
Your penis is flaccid because muscles inside your blood vessels (called smooth muscles), squeeze the blood vessels in your penis flat.
When these blood vessels are flat, almost no blood will remain. In other words, almost all the blood is forced out of the penis.
In order to get an erection, blood needs to flow into your penis to fill it up.
This is where nitric oxide comes to the rescue: It instructs the smooth muscles in your penis to relax and let go of the squeeze. And as they relax, the blood vessels are no longer squeezed flat, but will fill with blood.
As blood flows into the blood vessels of your penis, an erection will form. And when your penis is completely filled with blood, you will have a firm erection.
So how does this plant make you produce more nitric oxide?
It is believed that protodioscin (one of the components of Tribulus Terrestris), can make the enzyme nitric oxide synthase more efficient at producing nitric oxide.
So if this enzyme can make more nitric oxide than normal, you will have more nitric oxide available. This should normally make it easier for you to both get and maintain erections.
Tribulus Terrestris Is A Potent Antioxidant
Why are antioxidants helpful for performing sexually?
In your body, you will at any given time have what’s called free radicals. These are ‘unstable’ molecules, because they have an unpaired electron orbiting its nucleus.
They are almost ‘desperate’ to react with something or somebody.
And this can cause all kinds of damage. It can even cause damage to your DNA.
In addition, free radicals love to react with nitric oxide. So if you have lots of free radicals in your blood, your nitric oxide levels are likely to be reduced.
And with less nitric oxide, you will normally find it more difficult to get erections.
Let’s look at the scientific research on Tribulus Terrestris.
Scientific Studies On Tribulus Terrestris’ Impact On Libido And ED
Tribulus Terrestris Study 1: May 2020
This study did an analysis and summary of research studies performed on Tribulus Terrestris from 1982 to 2020. Only research that met certain criteria were included in the analysis.
- Protodioscin is the dominant component in Tribulus Terrestris fruits, and is considered to be the main pharmacologically active steroidal saponin
- Tribulus Terrestris can increase testosterone levels
- Tribulus Terrestris is a potent antioxidant
- The plant can treat both erectile dysfunction and low libido
Tribulus Terrestris Study 2: December 2019
The aim of this study was to determine the effects of Anacyclus Pyrethrum and Tribulus Terrestris extracts, both separately and simultaneously, on male rat fertility parameters.
32 male rats were divided into 4 groups and given the following treatment, daily for 25 days:
- Group 1: Saline (control)
- Group 2: Tribulus Terrestris (10mg/kg)
- Group 3: Anacyclus Pyrethrum (100mg/kg)
- Group 4: Tribulus Terrestris (10mg/kg), and Anacyclus Pyrethrum (100mg/kg)
- Sperm count increased in all the treatment groups
- The Tribulus Terrestris and the combined groups showed significantly increased testosterone level, compared to control group
- All treatment groups showed increased luteinizing hormone levels
- All the treatment groups had higher number of Leydig, spermatogonia and spermatid cells
The study concluded that Tribulus Terrestris and Anacyclus Pyrethrum individually, improved sexual parameters. And taken together, they had an even more potent effect.
Tribulus Terrestris Study 3: September 2019
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of gross saponins of Tribulus Terrestris, on erectile function in rats resulting from type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Adult male rats were initially treated to provoke type 2 diabetes mellitus. Rats were then divided into 4 groups of 6 rats:
- Group 1: No treatment
- Group 2: Treated with Tribulus Terrestris
- Group 3: Treated with Sildenafil (Viagra)
- Group 4: Treated with Tribulus Terrestris and Sildenafil
There was also a 5th group that was a non-diabetic control group.
In rats treated with Tribulus Terrestris:
- The intracavernous pressure was significantly higher than in the group receiving no treatment
- There was significantly increased nitric oxide levels, compared to that in the no treatment group
- Expression of eNOS was significantly higher than that in the no treatment group
Regarding cGMP levels, this was higher in the Tribulus Terrestris and the Sildenafil groups, than in the control group. This level was also higher in the mixed group than in any single-treatment group.
Tribulus Terrestris Study 4: August 2019
The aim of this review was to assess the scientific publications involving Tribulus Terrestris, with special reference to its chemical constituents and biological properties.
- Protodioscin is a predecessor of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in patients with low hormone levels
- Tribulus Terrestris can increase serum levels of free and bioavailable testosterone
- Tribulus Terrestris has antioxidant properties
- Tribulus Terrestris improves endothelial function and nitric oxide production
Tribulus Terrestris Study 5: May 2019
The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety profiles of Tribulus Terrestris in aging males with partial androgen deficiency, who also suffered from erectile dysfunction and lower urinary tract symptoms.
70 men with erectile dysfunction and lower urinary tract symptoms, took 750 mg Tribulus Terrestris a day, or a placebo, for 3 months.
After 3 months, total testosterone increased by 23% and erectile function increased by 50%, in the group taking Tribulus Terrestris.
There was no change in the lower urinary tract symptoms.
The study concluded that Tribulus Terrestris can elevate testosterone level and improve sexual function, in patients who suffer from erectile dysfunction and partial androgen deficiency.
Tribulus Terrestris Study 6: May 2017
Tribulus Terrestris Study 7: February 2016
The aim of this study was to analyze the evidence supporting a role for Tribulus Terrestris as an aphrodisiac, and to reappraise the widely believed view of Tribulus Terrestris as an androgen enhancing botanical supplement.
In this report, the researchers did an extensive review of research on Tribulus Terrestris that had been published between 1968 and 2015.
- Tribulus Terrestris can treat erectile dysfunction and sexual desire problems
- The hypothesis that these effects are due to androgen enhancing properties, are inconclusive
- There is emerging evidence for possible endothelium and nitric oxide-dependent mechanisms, underlying Tribulus Terrestris’ aphrodisiac and pro-erectile activities
Tribulus Terrestris Study 8: April 2015
The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of Tribulus Terrestris on testosterone level and erectile function in aging males, with partial androgen deficiency.
30 men with partial androgen deficiency, were given 750 mg Tribulus Terrestris a day, or a placebo, for 3 months.
Results showed a statistically significant difference in the level of testosterone (total and free) and erectile function, in the Tribulus Terrestris group.
Tribulus Terrestris Study 9: August 2014
The aim of this study was to evaluate the 5α-reductase inhibitory activity of Tribulus Terrestris, and other plants.
5α-reductase is an enzyme that converts testosterone to its 5α-reduced form dihydrotestosterone. So if something can inhibit this enzyme, more testosterone should survive.
The study concluded that Tribulus Terrestris did not have strong 5α-reductase inhibitory abilities. Therefore, it’s likely that its testosterone increasing properties come via other pathways than 5α-reductase inhibition.
Tribulus Terrestris Study 10: April 2013
The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of Tribulus Terrestris on behavior and neuroendocrine metrics, in chronic mildly stressed and depressed rats.
30 male rats were given various doses of Tribulus Terrestris, or a placebo, for 4 weeks.
The rats were then exposed to an unpredicted sequence of mild stressors.
In the rats, this stress decreased the scores of crossing, rears and grooming, and increased cortisol levels.
The medium and high Tribulus Terrestris dose (0.75 and 2.25 g/kg), significantly prevented all of the abnormalities induced by the stress.
And the highest dose of Tribulus Terrestris reduced cortisol levels by 60%.
The study concluded that Tribulus Terrestris has the ability to reduce chronic mild stress, and to produce antidepressive effects.
Tribulus Terrestris Study 11: March 2013
The goal of this study was to investigate the effect of Tribulus Terrestris on the relaxation of the corpus cavernosum of rabbits and rats.
Groups of rabbits and rats were given various doses of Tribulus Terrestris, or a placebo, daily for one month.
Tribulus Terrestris produced a dose-dependent relaxation in the smooth muscles in the corpus cavernosum.
The researchers concluded that the results involved the nitric oxide / nitric oxide synthase pathway and endothelium of the corpus cavernosum.
Tribulus Terrestris Study 12: October 2012
The aim of this study was to examine the effects of Tribulus Terrestris and Cornus Officinalis extracts on relaxation of the smooth muscle of the corpus cavernosum, their mechanisms of action, and on penile erection.
Groups of rabbits were given either Tribulus Terrestris, Cornus Officinalis, the two supplements together, or nothing at all, for one month.
The research demonstrated that Tribulus Terrestris alone, Cornus Officinalis alone, and the mixture of both extracts, showed concentration-dependent relaxation effects of the corpus cavernosum.
Tribulus Terrestris Study 13: July 2012
The purpose of this study was to study the effect of Tribulus Terrestris in the management of Oligozoospermia (low sperm count).
63 men between the ages of 21 and 50 years, received 6 grams of Tribulus Terrestris twice daily, or a placebo, for 60 days.
The group receiving Tribulus Terrestris experienced a 16% increase in testosterone.
Both the placebo and Tribulus Terrestris groups saw a significant increase in total sperm count. However, only the Tribulus Terrestris group saw improvements in sperm motility and other sperm measurements.
The Tribulus Terrestris group also saw improvements in the loss of erection by 6%, rigidity 9%, premature ejaculation 6%, and lack of orgasm 10% scores.
Tribulus Terrestris Study 14: January 2012
The objective of this research was to study the effect of acute and repeated doses of Tribulus Terrestris, on sexual function in sexually sluggish male albino rats.
18 sexually sluggish male rats were given 50 mg/kg, 100 mg/kg of Tribulus Terrestris, or a placebo, daily for 28 days.
The study reported a 30% and 55% increase in testosterone levels with 50 mg/kg and 100 mg/kg Tribulus Terrestris extract, respectively.
Sperm count also increased significantly in the rats receiving Tribulus Terrestris.
The study also reported an increase in mount frequency, intromission frequency, and penile erection index, as well as a decrease in the time the rats needed between each session.
The study concluded that Tribulus Terrestris is a sexual enhancer in the management of sexual dysfunction in males.
Tribulus Terrestris Study 15: April 2011
The goal of this study was to study the effect of Tribulus Terrestris on sexual behavior in male albino rats, and compare this with Sildenafil Citrate (Viagra).
Groups or rats were given 100 mg/kg Tribulus Terrestris extract, or 0.71 mg/kg of Sildenafil Citrate (Viagra), daily.
Tribulus Terrestris extract improved sexual behavior of male rats, measured by increased intromission frequency and firmer erections.
The rats also experienced an increase in testosterone levels, and in sperm count.
The results with Tribulus Terrestris were noted to be comparable to the results of Sildenafil Citrate.
Tribulus Terrestris Study 16: January 2010
The goal of this study was to investigate the possible effects of Tribulus Terrestris on endocrine sensitive organs in intact and castrated male rats, as well as in post-menopausal rats.
Three groups of castrated male rats were given 11, 42 and 110 mg/kg/day of Tribulus Terrestris, for 7 days.
The same dose was given to intact males and castrated females, for 28 days
Tribulus Terrestris was not able to stimulate the prostate, seminal vesicle, uterus and vagina in the rats. This indicates a lack of androgenic and estrogenic activity of Tribulus Terrestris.
However, the study reported an increase in sperm production in the rats given 11 mg/kg/day of Tribulus Terrestris.
Tribulus Terrestris Study 17: January 2008
Tribulus Terrestris Study 18: July 2007
The objective with this study was to investigate the effect of Tribulus Alatus extracts on free serum testosterone in male rats.
30 rats were divided into 5 groups receiving 50 mg/kg of extracts from different parts of the plant, or a placebo, daily for 40 days.
All tested extracts showed significant increase (up to 400%) in the level of free serum testosterone, compared to control group. Also, the extracts of the fruit were the most potent.
The study concluded that Tribulus Terrestris appears to possess aphrodisiac activity due to its androgen increasing property.
Tribulus Terrestris Study 19: May 2007
Tribulus Terrestris Study 20: October 2005
The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of Tribulus Terrestris extract on androgen metabolism in young males.
This study included 21 men, aged 20-36 years old. They were given 10 or 20 mg/kg body weight Tribulus extract, or a placebo, daily for 4 weeks.
The study found no influence on total testosterone or luteinizing hormone levels from these doses of Tribulus Terrestris.
Tribulus Terrestris Study 21: January 2005
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of Tribulus Terrestris on nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-diaphorase activity, and androgen receptor immunoreactivity, in the rat brain.
24 adult male rats were divided into 2 groups of 12 each. Group 1 was given distilled water. Group 2 was given 5mg/kg of body weight of Tribulus Terrestris, once daily for 8 weeks.
After 8 weeks, there was a 58% increase in androgen receptor activity in the rat brains of the rats in Group 2.
The research also reported a 67% increase in neurons expressing nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-diaphorase. This suggests that Tribulus Terrestris can increase nitric oxide synthase and subsequent nitric oxide production.
The study concluded that the observed increase in androgen receptor activity and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-diaphorase positive neurons, was probably due to the androgen increasing property of Tribulus Terrestris.
It also concluded that the findings from the present study add further support to the aphrodisiac claims of Tribulus Terrestris.
Tribulus Terrestris Study 22: July 2004
Tribulus Terrestris Study 23: August 2002
Tribulus Terrestris Study 24: June 2000
Tribulus Terrestris Study 25: January 2000
Other Tribulus Terrestris Health Benefits
My Experience With Tribulus Terrestris Supplements
I struggled with ED and libido problems for more than 10 years. During these 10 years, I tried a lot of supplements. I tried almost anything I could find. Supplements in capsules, tablets, tinctures, powders, teas, etc.
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