Tribulus is known as Gokshura in Ayurveda. It is an ancient herb, used since thousands of years for its immense medicinal qualities. Its botanical name is Tribulus terrestris. Tribulus, in modern day, is used for body building, to relieve diseases of uro-genital system and as an aphrodisiac. It belongs to Zygophyllaceae family.
Table of Contents
Common names, Sanskrit synonyms
English name – Puncture vine, Small caltrops, Tribulus, Cow hage.
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 – body building
There are many Tribulus supplements that are targeted towards body building. 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 urinary system, its usage in urinary calculi suggests towards its diuretic activity.
Tribulus also has lithotryptic activity. (useful in stones in Kidney and urinary bladder).
Study on diuretic activity
Gokhru for Urinary calculi
It has diuretic activity and also lithotryptic 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
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 and PCOS
Poly cystic Ovarian Disease is one of the major cause 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 of 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, anti inflammatory properties. Hence, useful in these conditions to some extent. But it is not a standalone products for these conditions.
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 third trimester of pregnancy, in pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, especially to reduce pedal edema.
Medicinal properties, indications
Rasa – Madhura – 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.
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 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.
Ayurveda medicines with Tribulus
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 as Yatra Akrutihi, tatra gunaaha vasanti. Meaning, if the shape of an herb resembles to 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 Gokshura is 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 the 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 peri-menopausal care, Gokshura can be very useful.
Read: Menarche And Menopause – Ayurvedic Viewpoint
How to take?
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 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.
Is 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.
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 of Tribulus, as per various authors:
Dashamoola, Shothahara – Group of ten roots that relieve inflammation.
Mutravirechaniya – Group of herbs that cleanse and detoxify urinary system.
Krimighna – Group of herbs that is used to treat intestinal worms.
Vidarigandhadi, Veerataruvadi, Laghu (light to digest) Panchamoola
Combinations for body building
Usual combinations of Gokru for gym and body building –
You have to consult a doctor before trying any of these.
Usually Tribulus is made combination with Shilajit, Ashwagandha, Shatavari, kaunch powder, Vidarikand – with 2 – 3 herbs as gym supplement. It helps to improve muscle bulk and shape.
Sir, i am 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 have every chemical in balanced form .for eg sarpagandha has reserpine that reduce bp but it also has rauwolfin alkaloid that increase bp. So any side effects of reserpine can counteract by rauwolfin and patient get reserpine only in dilute concentration that will be sufficient for hypertension. So it is 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.
this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets,
Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the 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.
Species: terrestris Linn.