Tribulus terrestris (of the family Zygophyllaceae) is an annual creeping herb widespread in China, eastern Asia, and extends into western Asia and southern Europe. The fruits of this plant have been used in Chinese medicine for the treatment of eye trouble, edema, abdominal distention, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases while in India its usage in Ajurveda was for the purpose of impotency, poor appetite, jaundice, urogenital disorders, and cardiovascular diseases. In Ayurvedic medicine,Tribulus terrestris is used for the treatment of lower back pain, sciatica, inflammation of the pelvic and sacral region, dry cough, respiratory disorders.
Due to activating protein kinase C epsilon (PKCε), Tribulosin can protect cardiac cells from cell death. This occurs at a remarkably low concentration and is likely relevant to oral supplementation of Tribulus terrestris .
Tribulus may reduce blood pressure via either the kidneys (a diuretic and/or protective effect) or via ACE inhibition, and while it shouldn’t influence blood pressure in otherwise normal subjects it may increase the erection-induced blood pressure spike.
Expression of the androgen receptor may be increased in the brain, related to the libido enhancing effects. Some human studies have shown increased testosterone associated with Tribulus supplementation, using 6g of the root extract of Tribulus terrestris by itself for 60 days.
Tribulus terrestris appears to have protective effects in the liver, which are more potent than vitamin E when looking at antioxidantive changes against mineral toxicity and slightly weaker or comparable when looking at cellular damage and liver enzymes. The water soluble components in Tribulus appear to have diuretic properties in humans.
In men with low sperm count, supplementation of 6g tribulus root is associated with a significantly greater improvement in sexual health (assessed by survey) by 49.38% which was greater than placebo (27.80%). A study comparing Tribulus Terrestris against Sildenafil Citrate (Viagra) in sexually normal rats at doses of 100mg/kg bodyweight and 0.71mg/kg, respectively, found that there were no significant differences between both groups, as both were more effective than control at inducing aphrodisia with similar efficacy. Tribulus terrestris appears to relax penile tissue and enhances erections after oral ingestion.
Increases in erectile properties and sexual satisfaction in men has been improved with the standard doses of Tribulus supplementation.
Tribulus terrestris seems to also be able to stimulate Melanocyte-stimulating hormone when orally administered at a large dose (1g/kg for humans), which increased the rate of MSH detection in hair follicles from 18.75% in control to 75% in the Tribulus group, suggesting that high doses of Tribulus may have the ability to induce hair pigmentation.
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