Land caltrops, or Tribulus terrestris, is a flowering shrub belonging to the family of Zygophyllaceae, also known as the caltrop family. The annual plant is characterized by the spines that cover its fruit. This is why it is also known as puncture vine. The name Tribulus terrestris is derived from the Greek “tribulos” meaning “water chestnut.” It is also known by its Hindi name gokharu and bai ji li in Chinese. Its other names include bindii, bullhead, burra, goat’s head, cat’s head, devil’s thorn, devil’s eyelashes, and tackweed.
Tribulus terrestris grows in many parts of the world and is in fact considered an invasive plant. It is, however, native to southern Asia, southern Europe, Australia, and Africa. It thrives in warm climates and tropical areas. It is known to grow even in arid places with poor soil.
The whole Tribulus terrestris plant is used for medicine, though the fruit, seeds, and roots are most commonly used. The plant, especially the fruits, are not to be eaten. The worst known side effect of consuming the spine-riddled fruit is collapsed lungs. The herb has a slightly bitter yet sweet taste and a pungent or acrid smell.
Medicinal Benefits of Tribulus terrestris
This herb is popular among men for its benefits regarding male infertility and sexual prowess. They are also used by professional body builders or even those who are just striving to build some muscles. This medicinal herb is a powerful aphrodisiac. It also has diuretic and lithontriptic properties, the two other main medical actions. Other medicinal actions of Tribulus terrestris include adaptogenic, detoxicant, liver tonic, and recuperative properties. It also has analgesic and antibacterial qualities while being a natural anabolic.
Among the nutrients found in the plant are alkaloids, amino acids, calcium, cinnamic acid, dioscin, fatty acids, fatty oil, flavonoids, glucose, iron, phosphorus, phtyosterol, potassium, ruscogenin, steroidal saponins, sterols, tannins, and vitamin C.
The main medicinal uses for this herb are the following:
- Increases libido for both men and women
- Increases endurance (especially if combined with other herbs such as Ginseng and Rhodiola)
- Prevents erectile dysfunction
- Increases sperm production
- Increases and restores physical strength
- Promotes muscle development
- Hastens physical recovery
- Regulates testosterone production
Also useful against:
- Agitation and irritability
- Andropause and menopause
- Anuria (inability of kidneys to produce urine)
- Kidney stones and other kidney problems
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Premature ejaculation
- Sleeping problems
- Wilms’ tumor (kidney tumor in children)
Men will benefit greatly from Tribulus terrestris. Aside from increasing their sex drive or libido, the herb also helps couples enjoy sex more by increasing the man’s stamina and endurance. That means no more “Wham! Bam! Thank You Ma’am!”
More importantly, men who wish to sire children but are having a hard time doing so may look to Tribulus for help. The herb is used to treat a number of male fertility problems, especially those concerning the semen and the sperm in particular. Diseases such as aspermia (inability to produce semen or lack of sperm in semen), asthenospermia (reduced sperm motility), azoospermia (no motile sperm in semen), oligospermia (low sperm concentration in semen), teratospermia or teratozoospermia (abnormal structure or morphology of sperm cells), impotence prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland), and seminal infection can all be treated by land caltrops.
Risk Factors of Tribulus terrestris
Aside from the risk of collapsed lungs, there are other side effects that may result from using Tribulus terrestris. People suffering from cancer, especially breast and prostate cancer, should stay away from this herb. Additionally, expectant mothers are better off avoiding this to prevent abortion. If you are breastfeeding, you should also avoid this herb.
Those who take the herb still need to be cautious. Avoid taking too much. High doses of Tribulus terrestris may lead to problems related to the eyes and liver. The accepted safe dosage is at 85-250 milligrams a day. Other known side effects include sleep problems and irregular menstruation.
If you are taking beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, Digoxin, diuretics and other medicines for the heart and blood pressure, avoid taking Tribulus terrestris. It also lowers blood sugar, so diabetics should steer clear of this herb.