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Tribulus Terrestris Basics

Our planet is so interesting and diverse. We are astonished at its wealth and variety of forms and species. We are fascinated by its unique beauty and mystery. We praise our Nature for the valuable gifts – healing plants that help solve health problems.

Tribulus Terrestris is a weedy plant, which can be found in the moderate and tropical climate regions of Europe, America, Africa, Australia, and the southern Asia. The Latin word “tribulus” is translated as “caltrop” (a peaked weapon). Tribulus Terrestris has a number of other names: Puncture Vine, Caltrop, Yellow Vine, Goathead. The plant is regarded to be invasive species. The weed may be found on the sides of the roads, pastures, wild and uninhabited places.

Tribulus Terrestris multiple stems spring out from one crown. They usually trail on the ground forming flat patches, but they may also rise upwards in shade or among taller trees. Tribulus Terrestris has pinnate leaves made of two rows of little leaflets (less than a quarter-inch long), which are arranged opposite each other along a stem.

Puncture vine blooms with yellow flowers that are 4-10 mm in diameter and have 5 petals. The fruit appears a week after blooming. It is easily broken into four or five small nuts with a seed inside. The seeds are firm and stiff and have two sharp spines 10 mm long. The seeds look like goat’s or bull’s heads and are very dangerous.

The sharp spines may puncture not only the bare foot, but even a bicycle tyre. Tribulus Terrestris was used as a murderous weapon by indigenous tribes of southern Africa. They tainted the seeds with poison and then put them for the victim to step and press down with the foot.

Tribulus Terrestris was considered in Indian ayurveda practice as a health tonic and aphrodisiac. It was believed to boost immune system and improve sexual function. In European folk medicine it has been used to treat headache, constipation, sexual problems, and nervous disorders. Chinese and Indian people praised the plant for its effectiveness in the treatment of liver, kidney, and cardiovascular conditions. In Turkey, the plant was commonly used to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Puncture Vine consists of different phytochemicals. They include saponins (protodioscin, furostanol), glycosides, flavonoids, alkaloids, resins, tannins, sugars, sterols, and essential oils. Recently, the scientists have isolated two new saponins from Tribulus Terrestris: Terrestrinins A and B. All these compounds are responsible for the most plant’s actions.

In fact, we have not much scientific evidence that proves the wide folk use of Puncture Vine. Nevertheless, Tribulus terrestris demonstrates anti-microbial and anti-tumor properties. The plant’s active substances are able to lower cholesterol as well as act as antioxidants. The plant also shows positive results in hypertension and diabetes treatment. Nowadays Tribulus Terrestris becomes more and more popular among bodybuilders and athletes for its abilities to increase testosterone level.

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