Gokshura (Tribulus) Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects, Medicines – Ayurvedic Details

Tribulus is known as Gokshura in Ayurveda. It is an ancient herb, used for thousands of years for its immense medicinal qualities. Its botanical name is Tribulus terrestris. Tribulus, in modern day, is used for bodybuilding, to relieve diseases of uro-genital system and as an aphrodisiac. It belongs to the Zygophyllaceae family. (Gokshura kula)

Dried fruits of Tribulus

Common names, Sanskrit synonyms

English name – Puncture vine, Small caltrops, Tribulus, Cowhage.
Hindi name – Gokhru

Sanskrit Synonyms of Gokharu:
Gokshura – Go means cow. The fruit of this herb has spines. This herb spreads along the ground. Cows, while walking on grounds, the fruit spines usually pierce the feet of Cow. Hence the name Gokshura.
Ikshugandhika – Ikshu means sugarcane. It has sugar-cane-line sweet odour
Trikantaka – Fruit has 3- 4 pairs of spines.
Svadukantaka – Spinous fruit has sweet odour and taste
Shvadamshtra – toothed with spines
Kantaphala – fruits having spines
Palankasha, Bhakshataka – Fruits of gokshura injures flesh with its sharp spine


Tribulus terrestris  is prostrate shrub. Young parts are silky hairy. Leaves are opposite, paripinnate, leaflets are 3 – 6 pairs, oblong. Flowers are yellow in color, solitary and hairy. Fruit globose, light greenish yellow in color, consisting of fine hairy or nearly glabrous, often muriculate and woodi cocci, each with two pairs of hard  sharp spines, one pair  longer than the  other. There are many seeds in each coccus.


Tribulus terrestris is found all over India.


Tribulus – bodybuilding

There are many Tribulus supplements that are targeted towards bodybuilding. But its efficacy in improving muscle strength and body composition is not yet clinically proven. Example of a research study

Tribulus – diuretic activity

In Ayurveda, diuretic activity of Tribulus is very well utilized through many formulations. Its cleansing effect on the urinary system, its usage in urinary calculi suggests towards its diuretic activity.
Tribulus also has lithotriptic activity. (useful in stones in Kidney and urinary bladder).
Study on diuretic activity

Gokhru for Urinary calculi

It has diuretic activity and also lithotriptic activity – the ability to break down urinary stones. For the same purpose, it is also used in gall bladder stones where the stones are very small and can pass through the bile duct. (research)
It is useful in urinary tract infections.


As per Sushruta Samhita, Chikitsa Sthana 7/19,
A teaspoon of fine powder of Gokshura is administered along with a teaspoon of honey and half a cup of sheep milk, twice a day, before food for 1 week. This relieves urinary calculi.

त्रिकण्टकस्य बीजानां चूर्ण माक्षिकसंयुतम् ।।१९ ।।|
अविक्षीरेण सप्ताहमश्मरीभेदनं पिबेत् ।।
trikaṇṭakasya bījānāṃ cūrṇa mākṣikasaṃyutam ||19 ||
avikṣīreṇa saptāhamaśmarībhedanaṃ pibet ||
Sushruta Samhita Chikitsa Sthana 7/19

Aphrodisiac activity

Gokshura does increase libido in both men and women. It is also known to promote sperm production and ovulation. It is one of the reasons to include this herb as an ingredient in many Ayurveda medicines that are targeted towards male and female infertility.

Tribulus flower

Tribulus and PCOS

Poly cystic Ovarian Disease is one of the major causes of female infertility. Use of tribulus in such patients is useful –
1. To fight water retention – Gokshura is a natural diuretic. So it eliminates excess water from the body and reduces the size of cyst.
2. To fight glucose intolerance – Since Gokshura is known to increase exercise capacity, it will help women to strengthen the muscles, and thus can indulge more in exercise. Related article: Role of exercise in PCOS treatment
3. To fight diabetes – Tribulus is used in the treatment of diabetes. People with PCOS also tend to be diabetic due to glucose intolerance.

Tribulus for weight loss

Since it is a natural diuretic and increases strength for exercise, it is a powerful herb to use in anti-obesity treatment.

Tribulus for piles, fissures, fistula

Tribulus has wound healing and inflammatory properties. Hence, useful in these conditions to some extent. But it is not a standalone product for these conditions.

Tribulus fruit

Pregnancy care Ksheerapaka

Tribulus terrestris powder is added with 8 parts of milk and 32 parts of water, boiled till only milk content remains. Filtered and administered warm.
It is administered in the third trimester of pregnancy, in pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, especially to reduce pedal edema.

Medicinal properties, indications

RasaMadhura – sweet taste
Guna (qualities) – Guru (heavy to digest), Snigdha (unctuous, oiliness)
Vipaka – taste conversion after digestion – Madhura – sweet
Veerya – Sheetala – coolant
Effect on Tridosha – It balances all the three Doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Sanskrit Verse

Traditional benefits

Brihmana – improves strength, nourishes the body
Vrushya – aphrodisiac
Tridoshashamana – Balances Tridosha
Agnikrit – Improves digestion
Shulaghna – Relieves abdominal colic pain
Hrudroga – useful in cardiac disorders
Krichraghna – relieves difficulty in urination
Pramehahara – useful in urinary tract disorders and diabetes.
Madhura – sweet
Deepana – improves digestion
Balakrit – improves strength and immunity
Pushtikrit – Improves body nourishment
Sheetala – coolant
Bastivataghna – Relieves pain originating from the urinary bladder.
Basti Shodhana – Cleanses and detoxifies bladder
Anilahara – balances Vata
Drishtida – Improves vision, useful in eye disorders
Ashmarihara – Useful in urinary calculi
Shwasanut – Useful in dyspnoea, Asthma, Bronchitis and Chronic respiratory disorders.
Kasanut – Useful in cough and cold
Arshanut – Useful in piles / hemorrhoids
Hrudroga Vatanut – Useful in cardiac disorders of Vata origin.

According to Bhojana Kutuhalam twelfth chapter, both the varieties of gokshura are cold in potency, strengthening, sweet in taste and nourishing in nature. It helps in treating difficult-to-treat renal calculi, prameha, treats burning sensation and is rasayana, among the two the larger one is superior in its properties.

Tribulus terrestris

Ayurveda medicines with Tribulus

Gokshuradi Choorna – used in treatment of ascites, diseases of urinary bladder.
Gokshuradi Guggulu – used in diabetes, dysuria, gout, menorrhagia etc.

Since it is one among the Dashamoola, all the medicines prepared with Dashamoola – such as Dashamoolarishta, Dashamoola Rasayana contain Tribulus.

Tribulus dosage

The supplements that you get in the market are Tribulus extracts, their dosage varies from 100 – 250 mg, once to thrice a day.
Raw Tribulus powder dose is around 1 – 3 grams per day.
Its decoction is advised in a dose of 25 – 50 ml per day. Its decoction is prepared by adding 1 tablespoon of powder to 2 cups of water, boiled and reduced to half a cup. Filtered. Consumed when hot.

Gokshura side effects

Pregnant, lactating mothers, children, people with diabetes and hypertension should only take this herb under strict medical supervision.

Tribulus is one of the rare herbs that has both nutritive and cleansing properties, with Tridosha balancing effect.

Interesting fact: There is a concept in Ayurveda text books, called Yatra Akrutihi, tatra gunaaha vasanti. Meaning, if the shape of an herb resembles a disease or organ, then that herb is most likely to have benefits in the respective disease, related to that organ. Tribulus fruits have quite some resemblance with oxalate stones of kidney and bladder, with spines and Tribulus is very widely used in the treatment of the same.

Tribulus, testosterone and gynecomastia

I have not seen any case of usage of Tribulus terrestris, leading to gynecomastia. It is useful in improving strength but I do not think it increases testosterone levels very significantly.
As per a controlled clinical research conducted on rugby league players, It was concluded that T. terrestris did not produce the large gains in strength or lean muscle mass that many manufacturers claim can be experienced within 5-28 days. Furthermore, T. terrestris did not alter the urinary T/E ratio (testosterone/epitestosterone) and would not place an athlete at risk of testing positive based on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s urinary T/E ratio limit of 4:1. (research)

Gokshura for menopause

How is Gokshura useful in menopause?
Dr JV Hebbar: 
Yes, Gokshura is useful in many ways. 

Water retention and swelling of the legs, puffy face are common during menopause, which Gokshura is useful to relieve. 
After the menopause, women’s chances of getting kidney stones increases, Gokshura is useful to prevent or treat kidney stones.
Energy levels drop significantly post menopause. Gokshura is a well known rejuvenator, adaptogen and energy booster. It is explained as Shoolaghna – useful to relieve body aches and pains. 
Decreased levels of estrogen leads to frequent urinary tract infection during menopause. Gokshura is one of the best herbs to fight urinary infections. 

Considering all these, during perimenopause care, Gokshura can be very useful. 
Read: Menarche And Menopause – Ayurvedic Viewpoint
How to take it?
Usually this is advised with other herbs such as Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Shilajit etc. Your doctor will be the right judge to prescribe.
Generally Gokshura kashaya (herbal tea) – 15 ml is advised once or twice a day, before food for 2 – 4 weeks.   


Can this be taken without consulting a doctor?
No. It is always best to consult your doctor before taking any herb

How long does it take to start showing results?
Depends on the dosage and other products suggested with this. Usually 1 – 2 weeks time.

Can this product be taken along with Allopathic medicines (English medicines)?
Usually it is well tolerated with allopathic medicines. However, consult your doctor for the right advice. When English and Ayurvedic medicines are advised together, it is best to take English medicine first, give a gap of half an hour and then take Ayurvedic medicines.  

Can it be used in people with diabetes?
Yes. But an eye should be kept on the blood sugar level. Your doctor should help you in this regard. This product can reduce blood sugar levels.

It is sold in plastic bottles. Is it fine?
If the quality of the bottle material is very good, it should not be a problem, if stored for a short period of time.

Can one take non vegetarian food while taking this?
Yes, unless your practitioner has asked to avoid it.

Are there any Pathya (diet rules to be followed while taking this product?
No product specific diet is mentioned. If the practitioner has advised diet control based on disease, one has to follow that.

Ayurveda varieties

In certain ancient text books, two varieties of Gokshura are mentioned.
Brihat gokshura – Bigger variety – Pedalium murex
Gokshura – Smaller variety – Tribulus terrestris
By and large, the word Gokshura is synonymous with Tribulus terrestris.

Classical categorization

Classical categorization of Tribulus, as per various authors:
Dashamoola, ShothaharaGroup of ten roots that relieve inflammation.
Mutravirechaniya – Group of herbs that cleanse and detoxify the urinary system.
Krimighna – Group of herbs that is used to treat intestinal worms.
Sushruta –
Vidarigandhadi, Veerataruvadi, Laghu (light to digest) Panchamoola

Combinations for bodybuilding

Usual combinations of Gokru for gym and bodybuilding –
You have to consult a doctor before trying any of these.
Usually Tribulus is made in combination with Shilajit, Ashwagandha, Shatavari, kaunch powder, Vidarikand – with 2 – 3 herbs as gym supplement. It helps to improve muscle bulk and shape.

Vishal –
Sir, I am a botany student and I share my personal experience with gokhru. I advise my uncle to prepare decoction of gokhru (10 gram in 150 gram water , 250 gram milk and after boil to half it use) for prostate enlargement .After 3-4 months the disease got cured.So it can be proved that it can reduce the size of enlarged prostate. From research point of view, every herb in its natural form has every chemical in balanced form .For eg sarpagandha has reserpine that reduces bp but it also has rauwolfin alkaloid that increases bp. So any side effects of reserpine can be counteracted by rauwolfin and patients get reserpine only in dilute concentration that will be sufficient for hypertension. So it is the power of natural herbs.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Plantae
terrestris Linn.

Sthanika Karma (Systemic Action)

Internal administration-
Nervous system – Pacifies vata dosha, Indicated in painful neurological conditions, diseases due to vata dosha imbalance etc.
Digestive system – strengthens the digestive system, Facilitate movement of doshas in normal direction, overdose can cause purgation. Indicated in conditions associated with low digestive fire, constipation etc.
Circulatory System – Indicated in edema, bleeding disorders, Heart diseases etc.
Respiratory system – Expels vitiated kapha dosha. indicated in cough, breathing disorders etc.
Reproductive system – Aphrodisiac. Indicated in threatened abortion, impotency, diseases associated with female reproductive tract.
Excretory system – It is indicated in Dysuria, UTI, Renal calculi etc. Helps to increase urine output
Satmikarana – Balya (Promotes body strength)

Gokshura with Ashwagandha

Can Ashwagandha be taken along with Gokshura? 

Dr JV Hebbar 
Ashwagandha is a strength immunity promoting and anti aging herb. Gokshura is also similar. 
Both are extremely nourishing. This combination can be given to improve body nourishment and to increase healthy weight without fat accumulation. 
Both are aphrodisiac herbs. Hence, there are many traditional aphrodisiac preparations in which these two are used together, for example, Ashwagandha Pak, Ashwagandhadi Vati etc. 

Bodybuilding: This combination is useful for gym goers and bodybuilders. It quickens muscle healing, makes you less tired after gym workout, decreases inflammation and relieves pain and stress. 

Heart: Both have antioxidant properties and are good for the heart. When there is swelling, water retention and increased volume of blood which is putting pressure on a weakened heart, this combination is ideal. Ashwagandha would improve the cardiac muscle strength and Gokshura would address the water retention in the body. 
Read: Gokshura (Tribulus) Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects, Medicines – Ayurvedic Details

Kidney and urinary system: 
Both act as diuretic and anti aging. In case of chronic kidney disease associated with difficulty in urination and low volume urine production, this combination is useful. 
Diabetes and hypertension: Both are useful in the treatment of diabetes. This combination is useful to relieve mental and physical stress. 
Countering the side effects of Ashwagandha: Some patients complain of increased body heat, constipation / diarrhea and stomach upset with Ashwagandha usage. Gokshura, being a coolant, is useful to negate a few side effects of Ashwagandha. 
Effect on Tridosha: This combination balances all three doshas, especially, the Vata dosha. 
Possible side effects: 
In diseases where the body water should not be lost, as in case of extreme dehydration, low blood pressure, in these conditions, precaution is to be exercised. 

How to take? 
Ashwagandha and Gokshura powders  2 grams each can be boiled with milk and consumed or can be taken directly with milk or water. Ashwagandha and Gokshura in tablet form can be taken together,  based on your doctor’s advised. 

3 comments on “Gokshura (Tribulus) Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects, Medicines – Ayurvedic Details

  • Sandeep

    13/07/2021 - 5:12 pm

    Sir, the study you’ve referred to gave just 450 mg of extract to rugby athletes, which hardly seems sufficient (?). No wonder it concluded that Gokshar does not improve strength, contrary to Ayurvedic texts.

    Thank you for all your wonderful articles.

    Reply to comment
  • Karan

    04/08/2021 - 3:18 pm

    I have read in places that a mixture of equal quantity of churna of Ashwagandha, Satavari, Swet Musli, Kaunch Beej and Gokshura can be taken for those looking gain physical and mental strength as well as muscle.
    Is this true and what are the considerations that one has to take into account if this is indeed a good and natural way of increasing strength and weight.

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      04/08/2021 - 8:38 pm

      It is a good combination that a healthy adult, seeking good mental and physical strength can take. It can be taken with milk or water.

      Reply to comment

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