Tribulus Terrestris and Prostate Enlargement

Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.


If you are looking to supplement your testosterone, you will find many vitamins, minerals, and herbs.

It's hard to tell which supplements will boost your hormones, and which will cause you more problems than the ones they are trying to fix. 

Others will make you feel flat, exhausted and disenchanted. 

You could have found tribulus terrestris while doing your research. This plant is used in alternative eastern Asian medicine. 

We will tell you about the effects of this herb on testosterone, prostate size and other hormones.

What is Tribulus Terrestris?

Traditional Chinese medicine uses Tribulus, a creeping east Asian plant. 

Tribulus is a common alternative medicine used by Ayurvedic practitioners for centuries. Its few benefits, however, have not been validated through clinical trials. 

The herb has been used in the past to treat fatigue, low sperm count and high blood tension. 

Many claims made by the herbalist that it can cure these diseases are not supported. Only its ability regulate cholesterol appears to have any validity in human tests. 

Also known as goat's head and devil's herb, this plant flower is used by those who want to improve their muscle strength, testosterone and overall health. 

The conversion of cholesterol to steroid hormonal compounds such as testosterone is the most likely cause. 

The teroidal saponin contained in tribulus. It contains bioactive substances. 

The most beneficial of these is steroidal Saponins. These are naturally occurring chemical substances that make up approximately 40% of the herb, and in some cases even more. 

Steroidal saponins in tribulus terrestris are said to have a testosterone-boosting effect. 

What do you think? 

Here's what the latest research shows... 

Tribulus terrestris (a perennial herb) is used as an alternative remedy in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine. 

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Does Tribulus Boost Testosterone Levels?

You'll first notice that there is little clinical research available on the link between tribulus, testosterone and adrenocortin. 

Research based on evidence is not enough to support the hundreds of year old folk medicines. 

Tribulus is not a testosterone booster, nor does it increase muscle mass.

The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published a study [1] that found 450mg of Tribulus per day, over a five-week period did not have any effect on strength or testosterone. 

The researchers studied a team of rugby elites who had been undergoing an intense strength-training regimen. The scientists were interested in seeing if the herb supplement had an impact on markers related to sports and performance. 

Toutefois, even at high dosages, testosterone and other performance indicators were not affected by tribulus. 

No effect of Tribulus on male androgen levels

A second study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology ([2]) recruited 21 healthy young males and had them take either 10mg of tribulus for every kilogram of weight or 20mg. 

This was done every day for four weeks in order to allow the supplement to take effect. 

It was found that no matter how much or little the herb is administered, the effect on androgen markers, directly or indirectly, will be significant. 

Tribulus terrestris did not elevate testosterone levels, or other androgen markers like luteinizing Hormone and Androstenedione. 

Smiley attractive gray-haired male standing beside a receding external wall, looking at camera

It is important to note that there are few studies showing that Tribulus terrestris increases testosterone levels, strength or mass. 

Tribulus and Prostate Enlargement Link

BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) occurs when your prostate gland gets enlarged. 

In the short term, it is not dangerous, but can increase your risk for prostate cancer, infertility, or urinary tract infections. 

A prostatic enlargement can be characterized by frequent toilet trips, urinary problems, hip or back pain, and continence issues. 

It is due to the fact that when your prostate grows in size, it exerts pressure on your urinary tract. 

You are more likely to develop BPH after the age of forty. 

Is there a connection between prostate enlargement (prostate enlargement) and tribulus?

Although there is some evidence that Ayurvedic herbal remedies could help reduce BPH symptoms, the data is extremely thin and mostly comes from animal studies. 

In a study of guineapigs, [3], it was found that 5 grams per kg of body mass could produce diuretic effect, and help relieve urinary symptoms. 

The anti-inflammatory effects of the herb may explain this. 

At that dose, an average person would have to consume 400g per day! 

The only human study that is reliable [4] shows that using tribulus in combination with the nutrients found in the sub-tropical Curry Tree ( Murrayakoenigii), over the course of 12 weeks, can reduce the symptoms of enlarged prostate in comparison to men over the age of 50. 

It can be hard to tell which chemical compound causes an effect when nutrients have been combined in clinical trials. 

It would have been more reliable to test tribulus only. 

This study has also been criticised because it used a placebo of poor quality that was easy to defeat in a direct comparison. 

Important Point: Although the use of tribulus as a potential treatment for prostate enlargement has been recommended, it is not proven to improve symptoms in clinical trials. 

The following is a summary of the information that you will find on this page.

Tribulus terrestris has been used for hundreds of centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. 

Although it might have anti-inflammatory properties, the herb does not affect physical performance. The herb won't increase muscle strength or mass and won't raise testosterone levels. 

The current data is inconclusive. There are some preliminary indications that tribulus could have a positive effect on prostate growth.


Tribulus may cause serum enzyme elevations in some people who take it, though this could also be related to other ingredients within the supplement rather than just taking tribulus itself.

Unfortunately, clinical trials demonstrating elevated liver tests among those taking tribulus supplements are uncommon; most trials include other nutrients along with it and it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly which compound may have caused any negative side effects.

Animal and lab dish studies indicate that Tribulus might assist in treating symptoms associated with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). While promising, more research needs to be completed before concluding this solution for treating BPH in men.

Researchers have investigated how tribulus can increase testosterone levels and athletic performance, however, most of these studies have not been replicated in human trials.

Furthermore, some reports have linked tribulus with liver damage in animals; this injury has been associated with crystal formation within liver tubules and kidney tubules.

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  1. 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
  2. Neychev, VK et al. The aphrodisiac herb Tribulus terrestris does not influence the androgen production in young men.J Ethnopharmacol. 2005; 101(1-3): 319-23
  3. Al-Ali, M et al. Tribulus terrestris: preliminary study of its diuretic and contractile effects and comparison with Zea mays. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003; 85(2-3): 257-60
  4. Senqupta, G et al. Comparison of Murraya koenigii- and Tribulus terrestris-based oral formulation versus tamsulosin in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia in men aged >50 years: a double-blind, double-dummy, randomized controlled trial. Clin Ther. 2001; 33(12): 1945-52
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