Tribulus terrestris is a toxic weed that is often used in dietary supplements. These supplements are typically used to enhance sexual function and to improve athletic performance. Tribulus terrestris contains a mixture of different compounds that may be responsible for the medicinal properties of the plant; it may increase the level of various hormones, relax the arteries of the heart, and lower blood pressure.
Tribulus terrestris (also known as puncture vine) is a flowering plant that is usually considered a toxic weed. It has sharp spines that can puncture bicycle tires. This plant is a popular ingredient in dietary supplements, most often used to enhance sexual function or to improve athletic performance.
(Click Benefits of Tribulus Terrestris for more information on what the supplement is used for.)
T. terrestris contains a mixture of different compounds that may be responsible for the medicinal properties of the plant. The root, stem, and fruit contain these compounds. Early research suggests that the plant may increase the level of various hormones (including testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA) in rats. Although studies have not shown similar effects in humans, people use the supplement for sexual problems and for bodybuilding based on the assumption that it increases hormone levels.
T. terrestris may help relax the arteries of the heart. It also may lower blood pressure by inhibiting angiotensin-converting enzymes (much like ACE inhibitor medications). Research also suggests that the plant might have a diuretic effect (it may increase urine production), which may be why some people use it for various kidney problems.