Tribulus extract is commonly used as a dietary supplement. The most common tribulus benefits include an increased sex drive and reduction in erectile dysfunction symptoms, although these have yet to be conclusively proven. It is also sometimes used as an alternative medicine for high blood pressure.
More formally known as Tribulus terrestris, tribulus is a herbaceous plant. It is most commonly found in the warmer regions of Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. It is considered to be an unwanted weed in many places of the world, including some parts of the US.
The tribulus benefits that are most frequently sought after are those that relate to sexual problems. Issues such as erectile dysfunction and a low sex drive are often treated with the plant. This is largely due to a study that was released in the 1970s, which claimed that taking tribulus increased a person's testosterone levels. Since then, however, little data has been found to backup this claim.
Another of the several potential tribulus benefits is an ability to help an athlete build muscle. This is once again due to its purported ability to increase testosterone levels in the body. For this reason, there are a number of muscle building supplements that include tribulus and claim it can help with performance.
There have been several controlled studies of tribulus benefits. None of these have been able to show an increase in testosterone levels. The controlled studies have also been unable to show that taking the substance increases the strength of an athlete. Even so, there are a number of bodybuilders and other athletes who continue to use this supplement.
Tribulus is also used in traditional Chinese medicine. It is given for a number of different complaints, including those that affect the nervous system. Again, although there have been some studies that claim it is effective at treating these problems there have been other, conflicting reports. As potential tribulus benefits usually outweigh the side effects, however, there is often nothing to be lost by trying the extract for a particular condition. This is true as long as the extract is not taken instead of a proven medical substance.
There are some negative effects of tribulus, although these are usually relatively uncommon and not serious. For example, diarrhea or indigestion can sometimes be caused by tribulus extract if it is taken without food. Gynaecomastia, the development of unusually large breasts in men, has sometimes been reported as a side effect of taking the substance.