Tribulus Terrestris: How Does It Work?

Tribulus terrestris

While glancing through ingredient lists of various testosterone or muscle supplements, your eyes have probably paused on an ingredient called “tribulus terrestris.”

Tribulus terrestris is not an appealing-looking fruit, as it is covered in spines and is also known as “puncture vine.” But, its properties are a bit more appealing.

Tribulus terrestris is touted to affect sexual health and improve other important health components.

The question of “how does it work?” may be running through your mind. Together, let’s find out why tribulus terrestris is among the most popular bodybuilding ingredients.

Tribulus Terrestris and Sexual Health

Tribulus’ ability to raise testosterone has been confirmed in animal studies. In primates, testosterone increased by 52%; it also increased by 51% in rats. [1] Testosterone-raising results have not been as significant in humans, but we know tribulus terrestris has a significant effect on sexual health.

Tribulus is believed to affect sexual health by enhancing androgen receptor density in the brain. This in turn augments libido-stimulating properties of androgens (hormones that develop and maintain male characteristics). [2]

In a rat study, tribulus improved sexual desire and behavior. Scientists of the study conjectured tribulus gets its aphrodisiac qualities from its ability to boost androgen and the “subsequent release of nitric oxide from the nerve endings innervating the corpus cavernosum.” (The corpus cavernosum is a region of erectile tissue that holds most of the blood in the penis during an erection.) [3]

In a study on people with low sperm count, tribulus terrestris improved sexual health greater than did placebo. [4]

Setting aside all the scientific jargon: tribulus terrestris optimizes male hormones, enhances libido, and improves sexual function.

Tribulus Terrestris and Heart Health

In 4 weeks, tribulus terrestris reduced blood pressure by about 10% in people with hypertension. Scientists believe tribulus lowers blood pressure via the kidneys or ACE inhibition. [2]

A study also noted tribulus has potential to decrease cholesterol. More studies are needed to prove tribulus should be taken for these functions. [2]

Tribulus Terrestris and Athletic Performance

Many athletes believe tribulus’ effect on hormones bolsters muscle power and performance.

Samrosa1 commented about a tribulus extract: “After two weeks, with the only change to my regimen being the switch to this product brand, my strength and endurance levels in the gym, overall mood, sex drive, and sexual endurance all went through the roof!”

Vlademil said, “It is the only testosterone booster I have ever tried and it really works, I love it. Very cheap and it does a really great job, energy, everything!”

However, results from athletes have not been supported by studies. In one study, 5 weeks of tribulus accompanied with resistance training amplified strength and lean muscle mass, but not more than the placebo did. [5]

Unless further studies prove tribulus enhances athletic performance, we’ll have to take athletes’ word on its abilities.

How to Take Tribulus Terrestris

Although tribulus terrestris has many properties that require further study, athletes, bodybuilders, and those struggling with sexual function and low T are seeing great benefits from tribulus terrestris.

For top results, choose a testosterone booster that utilizes tribulus along with other ingredients. Syntheroid comes highly recommended because it features tribulus terrestris and other powerful testosterone-boosting ingredients like eurycoma longifolia and horny goat weed.


[1] Kalamegam Gauthaman, Adaikan P. Ganesan. “The hormonal effects of Tribulus terrestris and its role in the management of male erectile dysfunction – an evaluation using primates, rabbit and rat.” Phytomedicine. 2008; 15 (1): 44-54. Available from:

[2] “Tribulus terrestris.” Available from:

[3] Kalamegam Gauthaman et al. “Sexual Effects of Puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris) Extract (Protodioscin): An Evaluation Using a Rat Model.” 2003; 9 (2): 257-265. Available from:

[4] Sellandi TM et al. “Clinical study of Tribulus terrestris Linn. in Oligozoospermia: A double blind study.” Ayu. 2012; 33 (3): 356-64. Available from:

[5] Rogerson S. et al. “The effect of five weeks of Tribulus terrestris supplementation on muscle strength and body composition during preseason training in elite rugby league players.” J Strength Cond Res. 2007; 21 (2): 348-53. Available from:

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