Can Tribulus support healthy sexual function in men and women?

Tribulus terrestris has a long history of traditional use in Ayurvedic medicine as an aphrodisiac to support healthy libido and sexual function. Tribulus contains an important steroidal saponin, known as protodioscin, which is considered to be the main compound responsible for the herb’s therapeutic effect in men and women.

Tribulus provides a rich source of protodioscin
The amount of protodioscin in Tribulus can vary, depending on the plant part used and the country of origin, and the therapeutic value of Tribulus is often determined by its protodioscin content, rather than the overall herbal content. Bulgarian Tribulus and Indian Tribulus are the same botanical plant Tribulus terrestris. You can usually distinguish the difference between Bulgarian Tribulus and Indian Tribulus based on the plant parts used:

  • Bulgarian Tribulus uses the herb, or aerial parts of the plant
  • Indian Tribulus uses the fruit of the plant

Bulgarian Tribulus is thought to contain higher levels of protodioscin, mostly in the form of furostanol saponins due to regional differences and the plant part used. A combination of Bulgarian Tribulus and Indian Tribulus provides a broad-spectrum of therapeutic activity. See Bulgarian Tribulus Complex

How does Tribulus work?
Protodioscin is thought to support hormone metabolism via the hypothalamus-pituitary (HP) axis in a number of ways. The hypothalamus produces gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) which stimulates the anterior pituitary gland to produce either:

  • Luteinising hormone (LH), which acts on the Leydig cells in the testes to produce testosterone (androgen) and on the theca cells in the ovaries to secrete androgens which are then converted to oestrogen
  • Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which acts on the Sertoli cells in the testes to produce sperm and on ovarian follicles in the ovaries to support the growth and development of an ovum

LH and FSH bind to receptors in the testes and ovaries to regulate gonadal function.

Protodioscin has been shown to support the conversion of protodioscin to dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in men and women. DHEA is an endogenous steroid hormone produced in the adrenal glands, gonads, ovaries and the brain.

In menopausal women, fluctuating oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels are associated with hormonal imbalances and changes to libido. In post-menopausal women, oestrogen and testosterone levels are much lower, so they are more prone to issues with libido.

Beneficial effects of Tribulus:

  • Traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine as an aphrodisiac to increase virility and promote healthy libido
  • Supports healthy libido in males and females
  • Supports healthy sexual function in males and females
  • Supports healthy female hormonal balance during menopause
  • Supports healthy sexual function and libido in postmenopausal women
  • Traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine as a male tonic
  • Supports sperm production and motility
  • Supports sperm health


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