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Tribulus terrestris

Tribulus terrestris, also commonly known in South Africa as devil’s thorn, may aid heart problems, sexual problems and athletic performance.

What are its health benefits?

The plant’s roots, leaves and fruit are used in medicine. Tribulus terrestris extract is taken by some people to manage a number of ailments and may have the following benefits:

  • Used in powder form in bodybuilding as it reportedly assists in muscle-building
  • Believed to increase the body’s natural testosterone levels, and is thus used by some men to aid sexual performance
  • Some use it as a diuretic (water pill)
  • Assists in the management of heart problems such as high blood pressure (hypertension), anaemia, high cholesterol and chest pain
  • Assists in the management of gonorrhoea, chronic fatigue, sore throats, inflammation and hepatitis

Recommended dietary allowance (RDA)

A recommended dietary allowance for tribulus terrestris has not yet been established, however, a dosage of between 85 to 250mg three times per day is reportedly sufficient for adults.

However, consult with your Clicks pharmacist regarding recommended dosages.


Tribulus terrestris is generally safe to consume orally for short periods of time up to eight weeks.

When consumed during pregnancy, tribulus terrestris may have a negative effect on foetal development, so rather avoid use. Rather do not use it while breastfeeding either.

It may worsen prostate conditions such as prostate cancer.

Tribulus terrestris may lower blood sugar levels, and those suffering from diabetes should consult a doctor before taking it. The effect on blood sugar levels might also cause problems during surgery as it can interfere with blood sugar control.

Because tribulus terrestris may be a diuretic, people with bipolar disorder who take lithium should be careful when taking tribulus terrestris as it can effect the levels of lithium in the body

Ensure you discuss dietary supplementation with your Clicks pharmacist to avoid the potential for side effects and adverse interactions with medications.

This medicine has not been evaluated by the Medicines Control Council. This medicine is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in September 2015