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Common name: Puncture Vine, Caltrop, Yellow Vine, Goathead
• Hindi: Gokharu गोखरू
• Urdu: Gokhru
• Bengali: Gokhru kanta
• Telugu: Cinnpalleru
• Tamil: பல்லேரு முள்ளு palleru-mullu
• Malayalam: Nerinnii
Botanical name: Tribulus terrestris
Family: Zygophyllaceae (Caltrop family)
Tribulus terrestris (Gokhru) is a summer annual perennial plant. The herbaceous has a tap root and grows well in sandy soils, on railway tracks, and non-fertile soils. It is considered an invasive, noxious weed. Devil’s thorn has little yellow flowers with 5 petals. It has multiple stems that sprout from one crown. The leaves are opposite and pinnate in two rows of little leaflets arranged opposing each other. These are less than 6 mm long. The fruits appear one week after the flowers appear. The seeds are stiff and firm with two spikes 10 mm long.
Common nameThe common names include devil’s thorn, devil’s eyelashes, goat’s head, tackweed, burra Gokhru, gokshura, puncture vine, and cat’s head. In Hindi it is known as Gokhru.
Botanical name or familyThe botanical name for this plant is Tribulus terrestris. It belongs to the caltrop or Zygophyllaceae family.
Geographical areas where Tribulus terrestris plant growsThe plant grows well in moderate to tropical regions of Europe, southern Asia, Australia, Africa, and America.
Tribulus terrestris medicinal uses/health benefits
The use of Tribulus terrestris is found in Ayurveda and Chinese
medicine since the olden days. People use it to control the heart
health, improve testosterone levels, and have a better sleep for stress
The Tribulus terrestris augments the testosterone levels and increases the libido. The endurance is also enhanced. It achieves it in this way. It increases the levels of luteinizing hormones in the body. This hormone sends a signal through the body to produce more testosterone.
- Increases endurance: By increasing the amount of blood flow, the Tribulus terrestris increases endurance. This is useful for the people who are recovering from an ailment or are otherwise infirm.
- Reduces erectile dysfunction: The action of the Tribulus terrestris for decreasing erectile dysfunction is to relax the smooth muscles. When this happens, there is a greater flow of blood to the genitals.
- Restores strength and courage: Many of the compounds such as the harmine has a psychological effect on the person. It makes the person courageous while increasing the physical strength.
- Regulates production of testosterone: It does not increase the levels so much but rather regulates the levels of testosterone. It does this in this manner. If the testosterone level is low, then it increases it, but when the levels are too much, then the Tribulus terrestris will decrease the level of the testosterone. This way it maintains the optimum levels and keeps the body functioning at the right levels.
- Promotes natural anabolic muscle gain: The presence of the chemicals kaempferol tribulosin, and others help improve the anabolic gain in the muscles of the person. For this reason, it is a favorite with the body builders and weight trainers who want to put on muscle.
- Increases physical strength: The increase in physical strength happens when the person has more muscle gain along with an increase in the courage and determination. Therefore, the sportsperson prefer this. In fact, several Olympic teams have got significant gains without the use of banned substances and steroids by using the Tribulus terrestris. This might be due to the action of the steroidal saponins present in the leaves of the plant.
- Improves the heart health: It improves the blood circulation and helps to handle the blood pressure effectively.
- Improves blood circulation: Substances such as the kaempferol 3-rutinoside help to dilate the blood vessels. This results in better blood flow throughout the body. Improved blood circulation helps in better metabolic activity and faster healing. The body building process too is given a boost.
- Treatment for diabetes: By improving the insulin sensitivity, the Tribulus terrestris will lower the levels of sugar in the blood. This is not validated by medical research, but studies are underway.
- Treatment for cholesterol: Tribulus terrestris has a proven effect on the lipid levels in the body. By including small amounts of the herb in the daily diet, you can benefit from the lowered cholesterol levels.
- Converts bad fats in the blood into available energy: This is one of the better effects of the herb. One must crush the leaf, boil the juice with gingelly oil, and add ghee. The oil is used along with the food. This will improve the digestion and convert bad fats (low-density lipids) into energy.
- Reduces high blood pressure: High blood pressure comes down when you use the Tribulus terrestris. This happens due to the easing of the pressure on the walls of the blood vessels and the expansion of the blood vessel. One observes a synergy improvement with garlic.
- Cardioprotective: It shows a protective action for the heart. It combats stress and promotes the good mood. Devil’s thorn eases the tension, and this helps the heart health enormously. It shows synergetic action with Rhodiola.
- Balances various cardiac functions: The Tribulus terrestris acts as a general tonic. But, more importantly, it helps to maintain the balance between your heart and nervous system. One of the non-specific heart risks is the heart rate variability. The synergy increases with Rhodiola.
- Reduces blood pressure problems: You can handle pressure problems easily if you have the Tribulus terrestris. The herb helps to stabilize the blood pressure and increase blood flow.
- Protects from cardiovascular disease: Cardiovascular disease occurs due to the elevated pressure and sugar. By controlling both these factors, the Tribulus terrestris helps to maintain perfect heart health.
- Reduces stress: Another important aspect of our well-being is the way we handle stress. Too much of stress can lead to nervousness in the present situation and insomnia in the future. We need to ease the tension to keep the body healthy. On the mental level, the Tribulus terrestris helps the person to combat depression and improve the mood. Psychic and physical dependence seems to be a factor governing the usage, but a study of the withdrawal symptoms shows that this fear is unfounded.
- Improves recovery from sports during sleep: The ability of Tribulus terrestris to ease tensions from the body helps the sportspersons to recover fast from their physical activities. The herb acts during their sleeping hours and refreshes them.
- Combats the symptoms of light depression: Use of the Tribulus terrestris helps the person overcome light depression. The chemicals in the herb elevate the mood and make the person happy and contended. The other symptoms of negative emotion such as irritability, nervousness, and agitation are removed. The person gets sound sleep. This action is synergetic with the use of Ashwagandha.
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
- 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)
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.
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