The Benefits of Tribulus Terrestris
The importance of a properly balanced diet for the maintenance of health and wellbeing is widely understood. The problem is that many of the foods we regularly consume are highly processed, with a resultant loss of many of the essential elements present in the natural food. To restore this balance, millions of people regularly purchase and consume dietary supplements. While many of these are helpful, it is now clear that those sourced from natural plant ingredients may be the most beneficial for us.
The encouraging news is that many excellent plant-based options are now available. These provide not only the extra dietary boost we need but in addition offer many other health benefits. Amongst these are some that are able to ward off and alleviate a variety of illnesses and chronic conditions.
A promising such plant-derived health supplement is Tribulus terrestris, also known as the devil’s eyelashes or puncture vine because of the spines that cover the surface of its fruits.
What are the benefits of taking Tribulus terrestris?
An extract from this plant has been known and valued since ancient times for its health benefits. Long used for a variety of medicinal purposes it is now being used to provide even more benefits than previously known.
Boosts athletic fitness and performance
A limited number of studies have shown enhanced athletic performance after the controlled intake of Tribulus terrestris. The herb is seen to be of benefit particularly to those involved in fitness and bodybuilding programs by boosting and maintaining higher levels of testosterone in the body. While a higher level of testosterone can enhance sexual potency, it is thought to additionally lead to increased muscle mass and energy, while helping to maintain normal levels of this hormone in the body without side effects.
The resultant Improved muscular strength, oxygen intake, and exercise capacity are thus some of the ways through which athletes can benefit from Tribulus terrestris. Because of its completely natural nature, it precludes crashes and other side effects as compared to synthetic boosters or other substances such as caffeine.
Lowers blood sugar and cholesterol
One notable study found that women taking Tribulus terrestris supplements showed lower blood sugar as well as lower cholesterol levels, after three months of consistent intake. Other studies done on animals have shown that the plant could also help prevent blood cholesterol level spikes thereby helping protect blood vessels from damage.
Because of the effect on blood sugar levels, people who are on diabetes medication must consult their doctors for a thorough assessment. Taking Tribulus terrestris on top of drugs controlling diabetes could cause blood sugar levels to drop to dangerous levels.
Increases in libido and sex drive
Many researchers have found that taking Tribulus terrestris over a period of several months results in increased libido in both men and women. This involves taking a controlled dosage over the period. The beneficial effect seen is limited to the sex drive, however, and does not assist in cases of erectile dysfunction which requires other treatment.
Apart from benefits mentioned above, Tribulus terrestris may additionally help in alleviating a variety of other health issues. While more studies need to be done in order to conclusively prove such effects, the following areas are of possible benefit:
- Increased immune system activity
- Anti-depressive effects
- Pain relief
- Increased urine production
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Improved prostate health
- Some degree of weight loss
Are the results conclusive?
While many benefits have been claimed by those using Tribulus terrestris, there are also contrary claims indicating that the results are not conclusive, and in certain cases have been shown to be false. For example, many supplements based on Tribulus terrestris claim that it boosts testosterone, while other studies have not sufficiently supported this claim. While they did find that the plant increases testosterone in animals, a similar effect in humans is not yet proven.
So, if you’re planning on taking supplements that contain Tribulus terrestris extracts, make sure you check with your physician first. This will allow you to know the full spectrum of potential effects, including possibly harmful ones.