Tribulus extract is a plant extract derived from the Tribulus Terrestris plant, commonly known as puncture vine. The name tribulus is from Latin and refers to a four-pointed device called a caltrop, which was used in ancient times to impede the passage of humans and animals. The thorns of this sprawling vine are very stiff and have been known to puncture bicycle tires. Tribulus extract is used as a treatment for sexual dysfunction, as a muscle-building accelerator and as a folk remedy for many ailments like headache, gastrointestinal distress, angina, and many others.
Tribulus extract contains many different elements, and different parts of the plant including leaves, fruit and bark are used in its manufacture. Many proponents of tribulus supplements believe the primary active ingredients in the extracts are substances called saponins, which are believed to help improve blood flow to the male sex organ and stimulate testosterone production. Tribulus extract also contains glycosides, tannins, plant resins, sugars, flavonoids, non-psychoactive alkaloids and essential oils.
Tribulus supplements attempt to make use of the various properties of the substances found in tribulus extract to treat various ailments or enhance various bodily functions. Tribulus is commonly combined with other herbs and ingredients purported to support or improve sexual function and libido. Athletes and body-builders sometimes use tribulus alone or in combination with other similar herbs and supplements in an effort to improve athletic performance and muscle formation.
Folk medicine in many parts of the world has utilized tribulus in the treatment of many conditions for centuries. In ancient Greece, tribulus was used to treat a wide range of ailments including headache, nervous disorders, sexual dysfunction and nervous disorders. Ayurvedic practitioners advocate its use for a variety of problems including cardiovascular and heart conditions, kidney and liver health and gastrointestinal upset. In eastern Europe, it has long been associated with improved athletic performance, although modern studies do not support this belief.
Today, tribulus is used to treat an even wider range of conditions and for general health maintenance purposes, many of which are supported by clinical studies on humans and animals. Tribulus has been shown to help maintain lower blood pressure in subjects with high blood pressure and to moderate cholesterol levels in animals. Tribulus has also been shown in laboratory studies to increase testosterone production in rats. Studies performed in China seem to show that tribulus can reduce the frequency of angina, modulate blood sugar levels and act as an anti-microbial agent.