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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How does Tribulus work?

Tribulus has chemicals that might increase some hormones in animals. However, it doesn't appear to increase male hormones (testosterone) in humans.

Are there safety concerns?

Tribulus supplements are POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth for a short period of time. They have been used safely in research studies lasting up to 8 weeks. The long-term safety of tribulus is unknown.

Eat the spine-covered fruit of tribulus is LIKELY UNSAFE. There has been a report of a serious lung problem linked to eating the fruit.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking tribulus during pregnancy is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Animal research suggests that tribulus might harm fetal development. Not enough is known about the safety of using tribulus during breast-feeding. It's best not to use tribulus if you are pregnant or nursing.

Prostate problems or prostate cancer: There is a concern that tribulus might make prostate conditions such as benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH) or prostate cancer worse. Developing research suggests that tribulus can increase prostate weight.

Diabetes. Tribulus might decrease blood sugar levels. Dose of diabetes medications might need to be adjusted by your healthcare provider.

Surgery: Tribulus might affect blood sugar levels. This might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using tribulus at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Lithium
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Tribulus might have an effect like a "water pill" or diuretic. Taking tribulus might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.



Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Tribulus might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking tribulus along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.



Medications for high blood pressure (ACE inhibitors)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Tribulus seems to lower blood pressure. Taking tribulus along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.

Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), ramipril (Altace), and others.



Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Tribulus seems to lower blood pressure. Taking tribulus along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.

Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), Amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.

Dosing considerations for Tribulus.

The appropriate dose of tribulus depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for tribulus. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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