Tribulus Terrestris or Puncture Vine
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TRIBULUS TERRESTRIS  
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Botanical:  Tribulus Terrestris
Family:  Zygophyllaceae (caltrop/bean caper)
Other common names:  Puncture Vine, Tribulus, Gokshura, Goathead, Burra Gookeroo, Burra Gokhru, Caltrop, Yellow Vine, Cat's-Head, Common Dubbletjie

Athletes love Tribulus Terrestris!   Because it is believed to increase the body's levels of testosterone, the herb is widely used to enhance muscle cell growth and boost bodily strength.  Lovers also love Tribulus Terrestris!  It is said to be the closest and strongest natural herbal alternative to synthetic hormones and believed to effectively treat sexual dysfunction and boost a slow sex drive.  In traditional herbal medicine, the herb is also used to treat urinary disorders and reduce hypertension and cholesterol.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

History:
Tribulus Terrestris is an annual (or perennial), trailing vine that grows predominantly in India and Africa, but may also be found in other tropical areas of the Americas, Asia, Australia and Mediterranian regions, thriving in sandy soil at higher altitudes.  It has been called a weedy species and can even survive in desert climates and poor soil.   In some states in the United States, it is considered an invasive species.  Tribulus is a flowering, taprooted, herbaceous perennial that also grows as a summer annual in colder climates.  The leaves are pinnate with small leaflets, and the flowers bear five lemon-yellow petals.  A week after each flower blooms, it is followed by a fruit that easily breaks into nutlets, which are hard and bear two spines that are sharp enough to puncture bicycle tires and to cause considerable pain to bare feet.  The herb's botanical genus and species name,Tribulus terrestris, is derived from Latin, meaning "thistle of the earth," referring to the spiked seed case that can injure feet, also explaining one of the plant's common names, Puncture Vine.  Tribulus Terrestris also originally described a caltrop, which was an ancient spiky weapon.  It has been used as a medicine for five thousand years in India, and is still widely used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine for the treatment of sexual dysfunction and various urinary disorders.  In the folk medicine of many areas, such as India, China and Turkey, Tribulus Terrestris has been used to treat sexual impotence, edema, abdominal distention, cardiovascular disease and kidney problems.  Some of the constituents in Tribulus Terrestris include natural steroidal saponins (the active principles), sterol, ligninamides, acids (ascorbic acid, aspartic, glutamic, linoleic, oleic, palmitic, tannic, stearic), astragalin, ß-sitosterol, calcium, campesterol, campherol, caucosterol, diosgin, diosgenin, ruscogenin, fat, essential oil, fibers, iron, nitrate, oxalate, phosphorus, potassium, proteins, flavonoids, rutin, quercetin, resin, stigmasterol, unsaturated fatty acids, glycosides and alkaloids.

Beneficial Uses:
Tribulus Terrestris is widely known as an herbal aphrodisiac that improves libido in humans.  There may be two reasons for this effect:  It is believed to elevate testosterone levels in the body (sometimes by more than thirty percent in just five days), which are thought to stimulate centers of the brain having to do with increased sexuality in both men and women, and as such, the herb is said to enhance arousal, desire, and quality of sexual performance.  Independent studies have suggested that the extract increases hormone levels, though leaving them in the normal range.  It is claimed that Tribulus Terrestris helps to increase testosterone by increasing gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which, in turn, stimulates the production of lutenizing hormone (LH) and and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).

Another reason for its libido-enhancing effect may be the herb's hypotensive qualities, which are thought to lower blood pressure and increase blood flow to the reproductive organs of both sexes.  In men it is believed to increase sex drive, improve the quality of erectile function and increase the concentration of sperm.  In women it is believed to enhance libido and increase ovogenesis (egg manufacture).

As an antiseptic diuretic, Tribulus Terrestris is said to stimulate the flow of urine and believed to benefit the urinary tract and kidneys.  Moreover, its reputed antiseptic qualities help to relieve urinary tract infections and urinary discharges; and the increased urine flow also helps to flush the kidneys of impurities and may inhibit calculus and stone formation.

Athletes use Tribulus Terrestris to increase muscle mass and build strength.  Puncture Vine is not a hormone in itself, but supports increased natural production of the body's lutenizing hormone (LH) levels, which play an important part in triggering natural testosterone.  The herb is thought to be a natural herbal alternative to synthetic anabolic hormones, without producing any ill effects.  Its use is said to produce significant results in athletes, and these results first gained recognition when the herb was used by some of the highly successful Bulgarian weightlifting teams.  Persons using Tribulus, who have engaged in active training and workouts, reported both increased bodily strength, as well as faster recuperation and recovery from muscular stress. Tribulus Terrestris is said to be beneficial for those whose testosterone is below normal, such as dieters or overtrained athletes.

Tribulus Terrestris is a cooling, tonic herb that may also support cardiovascular health. In recent scientific tests, the herb has demonstrated an ability to lower high cholesterol levels in the blood, which frequently helps to lower blood pressure and increase circulation. This may reduce hypertension and the risk of strokes and heart attacks. It is interesting to note that Tribulus is widely used in the folk medicine of Turkey to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.

Contraindications:
Tribulus Terrestris Herbal Supplement is not recommended for pregnant and nursing women.  No significant adverse effects have been reported from supplementation with Tribulus Terrestris; however, some users report an upset stomach, which can usually be counteracted by taking it with food.

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