Tribulus Terrestris: Herbal Aphrodisiac?

Tribulus Terrestris

In Ayurvedic medicine, plants and extracts are used as herbal remedies for a multitude of health problems, including sexual disorders. For this, Tribulus terrestris is one of the preferred herbal aphrodisiacs. [1] The use of Tribulus terrestris is not limited to India, as the therapeutic plant has been a staple of traditional and folk medicine in Turkey, China, and other countries. Used to enhance energy, stamina, and sexual function, Tribulus is believed to stimulate the libido and support normal testosterone levels.

How Does Tribulus Terrestris Work?

Tribulus contains a compound called protodioscin. Protodioscin is a precursor to testosterone production and is also thought to dilate blood vessels. Dilated blood vessels allow for greater blood flow. When more blood is able to reach the penis, more healthy and full erections may result. Many animal studies involving Tribulus terrestris have repeatedly demonstrated its ability to normalize testosterone levels and reduce the occurrence of impotence.

The Effects of Tribulus Terrestris in Animal Models

When National University of Singapore evaluated the effect of Tribulus terrestris on rabbits, it was reported that testosterone and DHT levels increased. Some have interpreted this as evidence for its usefulness in mild to moderate cases of erectile dysfunction. [2]

Researchers at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences administered an extract of Tribulus terrestris to sexually sluggish male rats and observed increases in the frequency of erection. [3] After conducting a similar experiment, improvements in sexual activity and erectile function were also reported by Korea’s Sungkyunkwan University. [4]

Additionally, Tribulus terrestris may work in tandem with other herbal aphrodisiacs and energizers. A study performed by the Department of Urology at Gyeongsang National University School of Medicine in Korea found that a combination of Tribulus terrestris and Calendula officinalis helped improve erectile function in animals. [5]

Tribulus Terrestris: The Final Word?

As is the case with most herbal remedies, the formal medical community has been slow to form a consensus on whether or not Tribulus can increase human testosterone levels above normal ranges. However, regardless of the uncertainty, researchers in the Department of Urology at Italy’s University Federico II of Naples evaluated a natural compound containing Tribulus terrestris. The study, which involved a hundred human males who took the supplement daily, reported that after two months, patients reported improved sexual function and quality of life. [6]

Reduced libido is one of the most prominent symptoms of andropause and affects many middle aged men. Addressing the problem using natural plant extracts is of interest to many men who wish to avoid pharmaceutical drugs and their associated side effects. Have you experimented with Tribulus terrestris? What results did it produce? If you have tried it, please leave a comment and share your experience with us.

– Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM


  1. Kavitha P, Subramanian P. Influence of Tribulus terrestris on testicular enzyme in fresh water ornamental fish Poecilia latipinna. Fish Physiol Biochem. 2011 Dec;37(4):801-7. doi: 10.1007/s10695-011-9478-z. Epub 2011 Mar 20.
  2. Gauthaman K, Ganesan AP. The hormonal effects of Tribulus terrestris and its role in the management of male erectile dysfunction–an evaluation using primates, rabbit and rat. Phytomedicine. 2008 Jan;15(1-2):44-54.
  3. Singh S, Nair V, Gupta YK. Evaluation of the aphrodisiac activity of Tribulus terrestris Linn. in sexually sluggish male albino rats. J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2012 Jan;3(1):43-7. doi: 10.4103/0976-500X.92512.
  4. Park SW, Lee CH, Shin DH, Bang NS, Lee SM. Effect of SA1, a herbal formulation, on sexual behavior and penile erection. Biol Pharm Bull. 2006 Jul;29(7):1383-6.
  5. Kam SC, Do JM, Choi JH, Jeon BT, Roh GS, Hyun JS. In vivo and in vitro animal investigation of the effect of a mixture of herbal extracts from Tribulus terrestris and Cornus officinalis on penile erection. J Sex Med. 2012 Oct;9(10):2544-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2012.02889.x. Epub 2012 Aug 20.
  6. Iacono F, Prezioso D, Illiano E, Ruffo A, Romeo G, Amato B. Observational study: daily treatment with a new compound “Tradamixina” plus serenoa repens for two months improved the lower urinary tract symptoms. BMC Surg. 2012;12 Suppl 1:S22. doi: 10.1186/1471-2482-12-S1-S22. Epub 2012 Nov 15.

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  • Low T

    My husband has low testosterone levels and did not want to use the pharmaceuticals. I have been researching for the past month various herbal supplements and have just started him on Tribulus. There is 6 different herbs that I am giving him on a cyclic bases. I was trying to find out how often to cycle these supplements and if it is necessary to cylcle them due to your body adjusting to them. He is taking Tribulus, Rhodiola, Horney Goat Weed, Tongkat Ali, Yohimbe Bark and Passion Flower on a rotating schedule. He takes one each day of the week in the order that I have listed and on Sundays he takes nothing. Then on Monday we start with the Tribulus and move to the Rhodiola on Tues, etc. Do you have any experience with this? I would appreciate any comments or information. His Testosterone level was less than 200 and he was symptomatic. Thank you.

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