Herb of the Month - Tribulus Terrestris

Author: Angela Fleming   Date Posted:1 March 2018 

Fun for men!

Tribulus terrestris or just Tribulus for short has been used for hundreds of years across many differing cultures. Its therapeutic use still stands today, particularly when it comes to the bedroom.



Tribulus is a hearty little plant which can grow and survive in various climatic conditions. So much so that it can be found in at least 5 continents across the globe. There is a bit of confusion as to where this hearty herb first sewn its seeds. Some say Africa, others Europe, even America gets a mention. In any case, it has succeeded to spread it’s seedlings across the continents in a very vastly manor. It can also be found in Asia and in Australia too.


Traditional use

As this plant was easily accessible, many ancient cultures implemented Tribulus into their traditional medicinal repertoires. It has been utilised for centuries within Ayurvedic, Arabic, and ancient Chinese medicine. The application of this herb across the continents varied, each culture utilised it in different ways. In Traditional Chinese medicine, the fruit of the plant was used to assist lung conditions. In India, depending on tribal tradition, it was used to assist cough, urinary complaints and applied to minor wounds. It is said that South Africans used Tribulus as a remedy for painful joints.

In modern herbal medicine, herbalists and naturopaths respect traditional applications of herbs and may draw from traditional uses. Some traditional uses can be very interesting and unique. However, in this instance it is not recommended to apply Tribulus for ailments previously mentioned, I encourage you to seek medical advice!   

However, there is one traditional application that naturopaths and herbalists have drawn from, one amongst ancient cultures that remained in correlation to one another; an aphrodisiac and enhancing sexual performance in men. It has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine as an aphrodisiac for men, and in traditional Chinese medicine as a sexual reproductive restorative and to aid sexual function.

Today, it is used as a general male tonic, and to improve and enhance sexual function and male stamina.



The research

Scientific research regarding Tribulus predominately pertains to animals. There have been many animal studies in regards to Tribulus and sexual function, with most suggesting that it is capable of improving sexual function and libido. More human studies are beginning to emerge, however remain limited.

A recent clinical trial, conducted in 2017, involving 180 males showed positive results. The primary objective of the study was to compare the efficacy of Tribulus in comparison with placebo, in regards to sexual desire and function. The participants remained in the study for 3 months and over the duration, the difference between Tribulus and placebo became statistically significant after 4 weeks. The stats continued to increase progressively until the end of the treatment period. The results show significant differences in intercourse satisfaction, orgasmic function, sexual desire and overall satisfaction compared to placebo. *

In a previous clinical trial from 2014, Tribulus was used in comparison with placebo. The results were positive, and had shown that the outcome of the finalised questionnaire had improved compared to baseline. The results were applicable for both the placebo and the Tribulus group. The authors concluded that Tribulus was no more effective than placebo. *


How does Tribulus work?

More human studies are warranted when it comes to the mechanism of action. Research does suggest that Tribulus may cause an increase in androgens and nitric oxide. Androgens are sex hormones that regulate the development and maintenance of male characteristics, which include testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). The chemical components speculated to increase androgen levels in males are furostanol and protodioscin. It has been suggested that protodioscin is considered the most important for this action, and that is capable of directly converting to DHEA.   

An increase in androgen levels may be responsible for the increase in libido and sexual performance in men.



There are many reasons why sex can be used therapeutically. Its great exercise, it gets our endorphins pumping and our blood flowing. Sex can also assist with sleep, decrease stress and improve libido. Yep the more sex you have, the more you may desire.

If you need a little push to improve your libido or sexual performance, Tribulus may be of benefit. You have nothing to lose with some to gain, stimulate your senses, think big and go for gold! You may not be the only one smiling at the end of the race!     



Braun, L, Cohen, M 2015, Ed 4, Herbs & Natural Supplements an evidence-base guide, Churchill Livingstone, China

*Kamenov, Z, Fileva, S, Kalinov, K, Jannini, EA 2017, ‘Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of Tribulus terrestris in male sexual dysfunction-A prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial’, Maturitas, Vol 99, Pp. 20-26, Viewed 2 March 2018, <http://www.sciencedirect-com>

*Santos, CA, Reis, LO, Destro-Saade, R, Luiza-Reis, A, Fregonesi, A 2014, ‘Tribulus terrestris versus placebo in the treatment of erectile dysfunction: A prospective, randomized, double blind study’, Actas Urologicas Espanolas, Vol. 38, Issue 4, Pp. 244-8, Viewed 6 March 2018, <http://www.ebscohost.com>


Written by Angela Fleming
Angela Fleming

Angela (BHSc Naturopathy) is a qualified naturopath who strongly believes in living a healthy and happy lifestyle. Angela believes being active, taking time out for yourself on a regular basis and consuming a balanced healthy diet (with the odd sneaky treat included now and then) is the fundamental key to keeping our minds and bodies in good health.

Angela loves to pass on her knowledge of healthy and happy living to her two young children, who love to experiment in the kitchen with her and train alongside her in Karate.

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