Tribulus terrestris is a small thorny plant that has an important role in many forms of traditional medicine, and these days is particularly popular in supplements aimed at body builders and at men who wish to improve their sexual performance, as it has demonstrated significant effects upon testosterone levels and sexual behavior in several animal studies, as well as in In Vitro studies.
Naturally, as with any supplement that you might be considering using, it's always a good idea to know whether there are any side effects associated with the plant, and whether the plant might cause any unwanted interactions with other supplements or medications that you might be using.
Happily, side effects of Tribulus terrestris are extremely rare, and very few have been reported. The side effects of Tribulus terrestris rather depend upon the effects that you wish to produce – to explain, as the major reason why most people take pure Tribulus extract is because they want to increase their testosterone levels, it would seem foolish to list (as some other sources have) an increase in free testosterone levels as a ‘side effect' of using this plant! However it should be noted that an increase in testosterone levels would constitute an undesirable effect for most women – which is probably why this supplement is marketed mostly to men.
It should also be noted that an increase in testosterone levels can produce some unwanted side effects such as increased aggression, faster and thicker growth of hair and enlargement of the prostate gland, though as we saw above, these potentially unwanted effects of excess testosterone could hardly be termed side effects of Tribulus terrestris itself.
KNOWN SIDE EFFECTS OF TRIBULUS TERRESTRIS
The most commonly reported side effect of taking Tribulus terrestris extract is mild stomach pain, which may or may not be accompanied by feelings of nausea. In most cases the problem can be averted by taking Tribulus extract with – or shortly after – food. If you are prone to upset stomachs then taking the supplement with a food such as live yoghurt will almost certainly prevent any discomfort.
Of course you should never attempt to consume the raw plant material – not only because the active ingredients are found in such small quantities that you would have to eat several kilograms of the plant to enjoy any significant effects, but mostly because the plant is covered in sharp thorns. There have been reports of injuries to a very few men who have been foolish enough to try eating the plant, including one instance of a man perforating the wall of his stomach.
One instance has been documented of Tribulus terrestris extract being linked to the development of gynaecomastia – a rare but benign condition which causes the enlargement of the breast region in men. This condition is well known to be linked to drugs which cause a rebalancing (or imbalance) in the normal regulation of the sex hormones. Unfortunately the study did not include a chemical analysis of the supplement that was taken, so it is difficult to draw a direct conclusion as to whether it was Tribulus extract itself – or some other component of the supplement in question – which caused the unfortunate man's condition.
DRUG INTERACTIONS WITH TRIBULUS TERRESTRIS
There are no well-documented cases of Tribulus terrestris extract interfering with the actions of prescription drugs, but Tribulus is not recommended for those suffering with heart conditions, diabetes, or any other long-term health problems. As with ANY natural supplement, you should always consult your doctor before taking the product if you are taking any medications.
Tribulus terrestris extract is now very commonly used by men all over the world, both on it's own and as an ingredient of other supplements, and there have been no reports of serious problems following it's use.
It is likely to remain an important sexual and physical enhancement supplement for athletes, bodybuilders and ordinary men alike.