Tribulus terrestris (Gokhru) is a summer annual perennial plant. The herbaceous has a tap root and grows well in sandy soils, on railway tracks, and non-fertile soils. It is considered an invasive, noxious weed. Devil’s thorn has little yellow flowers with 5 petals. It has multiple stems that sprout from one crown. The leaves are opposite and pinnate in two rows of little leaflets arranged opposing each other. These are less than 6 mm long. The fruits appear one week after the flowers appear. The seeds are stiff and firm with two spikes 10 mm long.
The common names include devil’s thorn, devil’s eyelashes, goat’s head, tackweed, burra Gokhru, gokshura, puncture vine, and cat’s head. In Hindi it is known as Gokhru.
Botanical name or family
The botanical name for this plant is Tribulus terrestris. It belongs to the caltrop or Zygophyllaceae family.
Geographical areas where Tribulus terrestris plant grows
The plant grows well in moderate to tropical regions of Europe, southern Asia, Australia, Africa, and America.
Tribulus terrestris medicinal uses/health benefits
The use of Tribulus terrestris is found in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine since the olden days. People use it to control the heart health, improve testosterone levels, and have a better sleep for stress control.
The Tribulus terrestris augments the testosterone levels and increases the libido. The endurance is also enhanced. It achieves it in this way. It increases the levels of luteinizing hormones in the body. This hormone sends a signal through the body to produce more testosterone.
- Increases endurance: By increasing the amount of blood flow, the Tribulus terrestris increases endurance. This is useful for the people who are recovering from an ailment or are otherwise infirm.
- Reduces erectile dysfunction: The action of the Tribulus terrestris for decreasing erectile dysfunction is to relax the smooth muscles. When this happens, there is a greater flow of blood to the genitals.
- Restores strength and courage: Many of the compounds such as the harmine has a psychological effect on the person. It makes the person courageous while increasing the physical strength.
- Regulates production of testosterone: It does not increase the levels so much but rather regulates the levels of testosterone. It does this in this manner. If the testosterone level is low, then it increases it, but when the levels are too much, then the Tribulus terrestris will decrease the level of the testosterone. This way it maintains the optimum levels and keeps the body functioning at the right levels.
- Promotes natural anabolic muscle gain: The presence of the chemicals kaempferol tribulosin, and others help improve the anabolic gain in the muscles of the person. For this reason, it is a favorite with the body builders and weight trainers who want to put on muscle.
- Increases physical strength: The increase in physical strength happens when the person has more muscle gain along with an increase in the courage and determination. Therefore, the sportsperson prefer this. In fact, several Olympic teams have got significant gains without the use of banned substances and steroids by using the Tribulus terrestris. This might be due to the action of the steroidal saponins present in the leaves of the plant.
- Improves the heart health: It improves the blood circulation and helps to handle the blood pressure effectively.
- Improves blood circulation: Substances such as the kaempferol 3-rutinoside help to dilate the blood vessels. This results in better blood flow throughout the body. Improved blood circulation helps in better metabolic activity and faster healing. The body building process too is given a boost.
- Treatment for diabetes: By improving the insulin sensitivity, the Tribulus terrestris will lower the levels of sugar in the blood. This is not validated by medical research, but studies are underway.
- Treatment for cholesterol: Tribulus terrestris has a proven effect on the lipid levels in the body. By including small amounts of the herb in the daily diet, you can benefit from the lowered cholesterol levels.
- Converts bad fats in the blood into available energy: This is one of the better effects of the herb. One must crush the leaf, boil the juice with gingelly oil, and add ghee. The oil is used along with the food. This will improve the digestion and convert bad fats (low-density lipids) into energy.
- Reduces high blood pressure: High blood pressure comes down when you use the Tribulus terrestris. This happens due to the easing of the pressure on the walls of the blood vessels and the expansion of the blood vessel. One observes a synergy improvement with garlic.
- Cardioprotective: It shows a protective action for the heart. It combats stress and promotes the good mood. Devil’s thorn eases the tension, and this helps the heart health enormously. It shows synergetic action with Rhodiola.
- Balances various cardiac functions: The Tribulus terrestris acts as a general tonic. But, more importantly, it helps to maintain the balance between your heart and nervous system. One of the non-specific heart risks is the heart rate variability. The synergy increases with Rhodiola.
- Reduces blood pressure problems: You can handle pressure problems easily if you have the Tribulus terrestris. The herb helps to stabilize the blood pressure and increase blood flow.
- Protects from cardiovascular disease: Cardiovascular disease occurs due to the elevated pressure and sugar. By controlling both these factors, the Tribulus terrestris helps to maintain perfect heart health.
- Reduces stress: Another important aspect of our well-being is the way we handle stress. Too much of stress can lead to nervousness in the present situation and insomnia in the future. We need to ease the tension to keep the body healthy. On the mental level, the Tribulus terrestris helps the person to combat depression and improve the mood. Psychic and physical dependence seems to be a factor governing the usage, but a study of the withdrawal symptoms shows that this fear is unfounded.
- Improves recovery from sports during sleep: The ability of Tribulus terrestris to ease tensions from the body helps the sportspersons to recover fast from their physical activities. The herb acts during their sleeping hours and refreshes them.
- Combats the symptoms of light depression: Use of the Tribulus terrestris helps the person overcome light depression. The chemicals in the herb elevate the mood and make the person happy and contended. The other symptoms of negative emotion such as irritability, nervousness, and agitation are removed. The person gets sound sleep. This action is synergetic with the use of Ashwagandha.