July 1, 2016

Puncture Vine

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What other names is Tribulus known by?

Abrojo, Abrojos, Al-Gutub, Baijili, Bulgarian Tribulus Terrestris, Caltrop, Cat's-Head, Ci Ji Li, Common Dubbletjie, Croix-de-Malte, Devil's-Thorn, Devil's-Weed, Espigón, Épine du Diable, Escarbot, German Tribulus Terrestris, Goathead, Gokhru, Gokshur, Gokshura, Nature's Viagra, Puncture Vine, Puncture Weed, Qutiba, Small Caltrops, Tribule, Tribule Terrestre, Tribulis, Tribulis Terrestris, Tribulus terrestris.

What is Tribulus?

Tribulus is a plant that produces fruit covered with spines. Rumor has it that tribulus is also known as puncture vine because the spines are so sharp they can flatten bicycle tires. People use the fruit, leaf, and root as medicine for wide-ranging complaints.

Tribulus is used for kidney problems, including kidney stones, painful urination, a kidney disorder called Bright's disease, and as a "water pill" (diuretic) to increase urination; for skin disorders, including eczema (atopic dermatitis), psoriasis, and scabies; for male sexual problems, including erectile dysfunction (ED), involuntary release of semen without orgasm (spermatorrhea), and to increase sexual desire; for heart and circulatory system problems, including chest pain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and "tired blood" (anemia); for problems with digestion, including colic, intestinal gas (flatulence), constipation, and to expel intestinal parasitic worms; for pain and swelling (inflammation) of the tissue lining the mouth (stomatitis) and sore throat; and for cancer, especially nose tumors.

Women use tribulus to tone muscles before childbirth, to cause an abortion, and to stimulate milk flow.

Some people use tribulus for gonorrhea, liver disease (hepatitis), inflammation, joint pain (rheumatism), leprosy, coughs, headache, dizziness (vertigo), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and enhancing athletic performance. It is also used for stimulating appetite and as an astringent, tonic, and mood enhancer.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Enhancing athletic performance. Taking tribulus by mouth, alone or in combination with other herbs and supplements such as androstenedione, doesn't seem to enhance body composition or exercise performance in athletes.
  • Infertility. Early research suggests that taking a specific tribulus product (Tribestan) by mouth for 30 days improves sperm count, sperm movement, and volume of ejaculate in people with infertility due to low sperm count and reduced sperm movement. Other research suggests that taking this same product by mouth for 1-2 months can increase libido and erections in people who are infertile due to low levels of testosterone (hypogonadism).

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Chest pain (angina). Developing research suggests a tribulus extract taken by mouth might reduce symptoms of angina.
  • Eczema (atopic dermatitis). Tribulus taken by mouth in combination with 9 other herbs (Zemaphyte) might reduce redness and skin outbreaks in adults and children with a certain type of eczema called nonexudative atopic eczema. However, other research shows no effect.
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED).
  • "Tired blood" (anemia).
  • Cancer.
  • Coughs.
  • Intestinal gas (flatulence).
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of tribulus for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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