Tribulus terrestris, or Terrestrial terrestris (Latin Tríbulus terréstris) – an annual herbaceous plant that grows in temperate and tropical climates in southern Europe, southern Asia, Africa and northern Australia; a species of the genus Anchors of the family Paifolia (Zygophylláceae).

The roots are thin; stalks branched, spread on the ground.
The leaves are paranous, opposite.
Small yellow flowers are located singly in the axils of the leaves.

In the CIS countries, the plant has a wide range, including the south of Ukraine, Moldova, Crimea, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Introduced into the culture.

The plant grows on compacted soils subjected to anthropogenic impact and trampling by domestic animals, including on trails, country roads. It has increased resistance to trampling.

As medicinal raw materials, grass of the Tribulus terrestris is used, which is harvested during flowering and fruiting: pulled out with roots, then dried under awnings. Shelf life of raw materials is 5 years.

Chemical composition

Saponins, flavonoids, glycosides, alkaloids, tannins, sterols, polysaccharides were found in creeping Tribulus. Steroid glycosides (about 2.8% but not less than 0.7%, wet weight), of which diosgenin is an aglycon.

Protodioscin, which is believed to be responsible for increasing testosterone levels, was isolated. Significant discrepancies were found in the composition of the Tribulus terrestris, with a predominance of protodioscin, in the Tribulus growing in Eastern Europe and South-West Asia, in contrast to the Tribulus growing in India, Vietnam and apparently China, where another species of grass seems to grow. Prototribestin, pseudoprotodioscin, dioscin, tribestin, tribulosin, rutin were also found. The flavonoid astragaline was also isolated, which can partially explain the cardioprotective properties of creeping tribulus. Also found were 25 flavonoid glycosides with the highest content of kempferol, quercetin, isoramnetin and 3-gentiobiocide.

The amount of steroid glycosides called tribusponin has a pronounced antisclerotic effect. It is used in medicine for atherosclerosis, combined with hypertension and angina pectoris.

In folk medicine, Tribulus terrestris has been used for hundreds of years to treat all types of nervous diseases, to dissolve kidney stones, like a diuretic, for colic and lower back pain, ear diseases, as an antidote to wine, and to strengthen and strengthen potency. They are also used as a tonic and astringent and antihypertensive.

In Azerbaijan, various plant organs, in most cases the aerial part, are used entirely against gonorrhea, eye diseases, rheumatic pains, kidney diseases, as an external remedy and for cosmetic purposes.

In the Caucasus, it is used for gonorrhea, diarrhea, eye and throat inflammation.

In folk medicine in Bulgaria, the plant is used to treat impotence.

In Iranian folk medicine, Tribulus terrestris is used to get rid of kidney stones, like a diuretic, laxative, for poultices, against syphilis.

In Nepal, local herbalists, in the form of a decoction inside, with infections of the genitourinary tract.

In Indian medicine, decoction of anchors is used for lower back pain, radiculitis, inflammation of the pelvic and sacral organs, dry cough and respiratory distress. To stimulate the secretion of gastric juice, treatment of urolithiasis, dyspnea, heart disease. In Ayurveda, for the treatment of impotence, sexually transmitted diseases, as well as sexual weakness. In Unani medicine, Tribulus is used as a diuretic, mild laxative and restorative.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the fruits of the Tribulus were used to treat eyes, swelling, bloating, pathological leucorrhoea, and sexual dysfunction. Anchors are described as a very valuable medicine in the Shern-Nong Pharmacopoeia (the oldest known pharmacological work in China) for the restoration of an oppressed liver, treatment of chest tightness, mastitis, flatulence, acute conjunctivitis, headache and vitiligo. In China, different parts of this plant are used to treat various diseases. So the leaves of the Tribulus, used for vomiting, diarrhea, nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy skin, scabies, boils. Flowers with vitiligo. Fruits with headache, dizziness, chest pain, amenorrhea, vitiligo, with various liver diseases, urticaria, eczema.


Treatment for Sexual Dysfunction

In a study conducted in Egypt in 2015 in a group of older men with age-related androgen deficiency, the use of 250 mg mg of Tribulus terrestris extract for three months showed a statistically significant difference in the increase in testosterone (total and free).

A randomized, double, blind, placebo-controlled study conducted in 2012 showed that men with a low sperm count consumed 6 g. Anchor root extract per day for two months led to an improvement in sexual health of 49.38%, compared with placebo (27.80%). In this study, there was a tendency to increase testosterone levels to 16.3%, however, these data were not recognized as statistically significant. In this study, an improvement in erection (6.03%), a decrease in penile stiffness (9.41%), a decrease in premature ejaculation (6.12%), and a decrease in symptoms of an absence of orgasm (9.76%) were also noted.

A study conducted in Iran in 2016, in laboratory conditions, on human sperm cells showed an improvement in various parameters of male sperm, such as motility, curvilinear speed, and viability.

Another study in Brazil in 2016 on 65 men showed a significant increase in sperm quality, especially an increase in concentration and motility.

A study in 2014 in Brazil, in which creeping Tribulus extract was used at doses of 250 mg three times a day for three months to treat sexual dysfunction in women, revealed the efficacy and safety of Tribulus for treating this type of disorder.

A randomized, double, blind, placebo-controlled study conducted in 2014 confirmed the high efficiency of using Tribulus terrestris to treat sexual dysfunction in women.

A study conducted in 2016 showed the effectiveness of using Tribulus terrestris in the treatment of sexual problems in women during menopause.

Lower cholesterol

Several scientific studies have confirmed the effectiveness of Creeping Tribulus for lowering cholesterol.

Cholesterol levels are reduced mainly due to lower low-density lipoproteins (LDL), without significantly affecting high-density lipoproteins (HDL).

Pressure reduction

A study conducted in India in a group of patients with hypertension, after a four-week use of an extract of the fruit of the Tribulus noted a decrease in systolic blood pressure (9.6-10.7%), as well as diastolic blood pressure (7.4-8.1%). A decrease in cholesterol (9.49-10.23%) was also found. There was also a decrease in headache, dizziness, insomnia, decreased heart rate, increased diuresis. However, data related to a decrease in pressure should be approached with caution, since in the intervention group at the beginning of the study, systolic blood pressure was increased, which may indicate an initial negative reaction to treatment.

Treatment of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)

In 1990, in China, a study was conducted on 406 patients with coronary artery disease, with symptoms of angina pectoris, which were given the preparation of Tribulus terrestris, and 67 patients from the control group, who were given the famous Chinese drug Yufeng Ninsin Pian, to thin the blood and treat coronary artery disease. In the group of Tribulus terrestris, remission of angina pectoris was 82.3%, in the group of the drug Yufeng Ningxin Pian, remission was 67.2%. An improvement in ECG results was also noted compared with the control group.

Lowering blood sugar

In 2016, scientists from Iran decided to test the effectiveness of using Tribulus terrestris as a way to treat diabetes used by the people. The ethanol extract of Tribulus, which they used, was highly effective in lowering glucose levels compared to placebo in women with type 2 diabetes. The mechanism for reducing sugar appears to be associated with inhibition of the activity of a-glucosidase in the small intestine. A mild alpha-amylase inhibitory effect was also found that was not dose-dependent, suggesting efficacy with very small dosages.

Tribulus terrestris possess lipase-inhibiting properties, which can be useful for weight loss, due to the burning of fat in patients with diabetes.

In vitro, the properties of Tribulus terrestris, reducing glycation of proteins, were also found. What is important for diabetes.

Diuretic effect

One Indian study of the fruit extract of Tribulus, in humans, for a month, showed a 200 ml increase in urine output during the day. Other studies have also repeatedly shown an increase in urine output.

Sports application

In general, the use of Tribulus terrestris in sports, in healthy athletes, as well as for increasing testosterone levels, has not been shown to be effective, except in cases of sexual problems and the use of Tribulus Tribulus, in combination with other substances and herbs that increase testosterone levels. However, there are studies showing moderate efficacy of Tribulus terrestris in sports. The difference in research results, apparently, is associated with both the abundance of low-quality herbal supplements on the market, and with a large number of additives with anchors from India and China, which almost do not contain protodioscin.

A 2000 American study found that an 8-week administration of Anchor extract (3.21 mg per kg of body weight per day) did not increase muscle mass, physical performance, or endurance in trained men who did strength training compared to the control group who received placebo.

A 2004 Bulgarian study showed that there was no growth in androgen hormones in young men after 24 days of taking Anchor extract.

A study in Australia showed that daily administration of 450 mg of Anchor extract for five weeks to an elite group of rugby players engaged in strength training did not cause them to increase strength or muscle mass more than in the control group, where athletes did not receive the extract .

A 2005 Polish study of basketball players showed that taking an anchored extract by trained young athletes does not lead to an increase in testosterone concentration in the blood, a change in body structure, or an increase in strength.

A study conducted in 2009 in Lithuania, found the effectiveness of dietary supplements containing extract of Tribulus for increasing testosterone levels in the first 10 days of use. In this study, there was also a downward trend in the concentration of urea, cholesterol and bilirubin.

An Italian study of a drug containing Tribulus terrestris has shown its effectiveness in increasing testosterone levels. However, it is not known what percentage contribution of the Tribulus to these indicators.

A 2016 Brazilian study on men showed a decrease in the percentage of body fat, a significant increase in muscle mass, as well as an increase in the level of dihydrotestosterone.

Tribulus terrestris cannot be used by pregnant and lactating mothers, with renal failure, and individual intolerance. Dosages should be observed since in large quantities creeping Tribulus can exert an excessive load on the kidneys, and this effect is much more pronounced in alcoholic extract.

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