What is Tribulus Terrestris?
Tribulus Terrestris is a small, leafy plant that grows all over the world in very arid climates where few other plants can survive.
Tribulus Terrestris was at one time, among the most popular testosterone boosting supplements on the market due to the idea it would increase luteinizing hormone (LH) which would help the testicles synthesize more testosterone.
It’s still used in a large percentage of supplements on the market today based primarily on research done on primates, rabbits, and rats. (1, 2)
Here at Alpha Wolf Nutrition, we focus primarily on human-based research though so will be discussing it mostly as it has performed in human clinicals as there has been ample studies on it over the last couple of decades.
Does Tribulus Terrestris Boost Testosterone?
Tribulus Terrestris may boost testosterone in monkeys and rats but its effects on humans are quite different.
The dose required would be extraordinarily high to see any testosterone gains which would be miniscule at best.
There was one human study done in 1985 which is highly touted by supplement companies selling standardized Tribulus Extract containing at least 10% Protodioscin.
This study did show a large increase in testosterone but the sample size was tiny and only involved 16 total people, just 8 of which were men. (3)
Multiple, larger scale studies have been done showing no statistically significant influence in free or total testosterone in relatively healthy men and only weak evidence there may be a miniscule increase in infertile men. (4, 5).
May Boost Testosterone in Men with a Low Sperm Count
There is some limited evidence suggesting it may have a slight on testosterone in men with a low sperm count.
However, this was found with a mega dose of 6 grams daily for 60 days. (6)
To put that in perspective, in a typical testosterone boosting supplement you’ll either see Tribulus Terrestris hidden in a “proprietary blend” so they don’t have to reveal how much is in their product or it’s around 500mg.
It takes 1,000mg to equal 1 gram so in the scenario where 500mg was the recommended daily dosage on the supplement, you would have to take 12x the recommended serving to get the same amount of Tribulus Terrestris shown to have a slight libido improvement in the above study.
Does Tribulus Terrestris Boost Libido?
Anecdotal evidence abounds from men swearing by Tribulus Terrestris as a libido booster.
However, the only human-based study I could find on healthy individuals was the same one mentioned earlier done on only 8 men and 8 women. (3)
This study did show a significant increase in libido in both men and women but being such an extremely small sample size, it’s hardly relevant.
With that said, all other studies on tribulus terrestris on libido I could find, after several hours of research, were all done on infertile men.
There wasn’t much of an effect but that doesn’t mean just because it doesn’t do much for infertile men that it doesn’t boost libido in healthy men.
I’ve personally taken it in doses ranging from 500 – 1,500 mg and I would swear there is a subtle difference when I’ve taken it on its own.
However when I combined it with horny goat weed the results were very dramatic.
Horny Goat Weed works like fire on my libido anyway but the results were absolutely magnified when combined with 500 mg of Tribulus Terrestris.
Should Men Supplement with Tribulus Terrestris?
It really depends on what you are trying to accomplish.
If you want to boost your testosterone, then don’t bother with it. Tribulus Terrestris appears to be big on hype but little on scientific proof in clinical human studies as far as testosterone goes.
If you want to increase your libido, the mounds of anecdotal evidence suggest it’s worth giving it a try.
I wouldn’t expect it to work wonders for your sex drive on its own but if combined with a more scientifically proven natural aphrodisiac like horny goat weed, you may see some pretty dramatic results.
Check out our article showcasing the Best Testosterone Boosters to learn what supplements and foods do work!
- Gauthaman, K. and A.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(1-2): p. 44-54. – Link
- Martino-Andrade, A.J., et al., Effects of Tribulus terrestris on endocrine sensitive organs in male and female Wistar rats. J Ethnopharmacol, 2010. 127(1): p. 165-70. – Link
- Milanov, S., E. Maleeva, and M. Taskov, Tribestan effect on the concentration of some hormones in the serum of healthy volunteers. Med-Biol Inf 1985(4): p. 27-9. – Link
- 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): p. 348-53. – Link
- Neychev, V.K. and V.I. Mitev, The aphrodisiac herb Tribulus terrestris does not influence the androgen production in young men. J Ethnopharmacol, 2005. 101(1-3): p. 319-23. – Link
- Sellandi, T.M., A.B. Thakar, and M.S. Baghel, Clinical study of Tribulus terrestris Linn. in Oligozoospermia: A double blind study. Ayu, 2012. 33(3): p. 356-64. – Link