Tribulus is a type of vine that has been used as an herbal remedy in the areas of China and India for many centuries. The plant itself creates a spine covered fruit. Various remedies have been created over the years from the root, the leaf, and the fruit.
The question of what is tribulus is a good one along with what is it used for? It has been recommended to help heal a wide variety of ailments but is most often touted as a testosterone booster and helps with the male libido.
Does Tribulus Work?
Many supplements claim that they can help elevate testosterone levels. Obviously people looking to gain muscle size and strength look for natural ways to increase testosterone. Also normal claims include increasing lean muscle mass and strength. Finally there is the claim that it will not lead to a positive drug test therefore athletes can use this supplement to get gains that would bypass normal drug testing protocols.
Sadly there has been no supportive evidence that any of these claims are true.
So far there have been only two studies using tribulus terrestris and both have produced no tangible support to the use of the herb. There was a study in 2005 in Bulgaria with 21 subjects that produced no testosterone increase. Australian researchers also performed a study using 22 elite rugby players. That study as well showed no changes in strength gain or lean muscle mass in the group that used it versus the group that didn’t.
Lastly some medical experts have concluded that the compound might increase the T/E ratio in urine which could produce a positive drug test.
There have been no supportive studies to show that tribulus terrestris has any effect on erectile dysfunction or decreased sexual behavior in humans, although animal testing has shown that it works in certain species.
The Bottom Line
At this time the answer to the question of what is tribulus is rather simple; a waste of money. While the two studies both involved small groups they were run adequately enough that any positive results would have been noted to spur additional studies. People are allowed to put ‘possible’ claims on a box but so far the scientific research has not supported any of them. Supposedly the compound has been researched and used for years in Eastern Europe but it seems doubtful that in this current age of information sharing that no more studies have come to light.
Does that mean that it doesn’t work? It cannot be said with certainty as not all compounds are fully vetted and doses along with purity of the extract could be to blame for the lack of results. Some people point to animal studies that have shown positive results, but that information does not always directly relate to humans in a meaningful way.