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Tribulus Terrestris, commonly known Gokshura is an annual herb distributed around the world. Gokshura is a Sanskrit name and it means “cow’s hoof”. This name was given probably because of the little thorns present in the fruit which used to get stuck on the hoofs of grazing animals. Gokshura plant is well adapted to survive the extreme conditions and can be grown in dry climates where other plants may not survive. 

Gokshura is a powerful medicinal herb and has been put into various therapeutic uses. Both the fruit and root of this herb have been used in Indian Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. Gokshura fruits exhibit diuretic, aphrodisiac and anti-inflammatory properties while the roots of this herb are used to treat asthma, cough, anaemia, and internal inflammation. Also, the ash of this plant can be used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Charaka, the father of Indian medicine, recognized this herb as an aphrodisiac, a food that arouses sexual desire and diuretic, a food that helps excrete the toxins and waste via the urine.

Some basic facts about Gokshura:

  • Botanical name: Tribulus terrestris
  • Family: Zygophyllaceae
  • Common name: Gokhru, Gokshura, Chotagokhru  
  • Parts used: The root and fruits are used in medicine.
  • Native region and geographical distribution: This medicinal herb originated in India. It is widely spread across India and Africa but is also found in parts of Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
  1. Gokshura nutrition facts
  2. Gokshura health benefits
  3. Gokshura side effects
  4. Takeaway

Different parts of the entire Tribulus plant contain a number of chemical constituents that have both curative and nutritive values.

The leaves contain calcium carbonate, iron, protein, etc which are helpful in strengthening bones. The seeds of the gokshura plant are rich in fats and proteins. and gokshura fruits are a good source of oleic acid, stearic acid, and glucose.

As per the International Journal of Home Science, Gokshura powder contains the following nutrients:

Nutrient Value, per 100 g
Energy 73.48 kcal
Carbohydrates 15.9 g
Proteins 1.3 g
Fats 0.25 g
Flavonoids 19.92
Vitamins  
Vitamin C 14.2 mg
Minerals  
Calcium 59 mg

Due to the high medicinal value, these plants have been used for the treatment of various diseases in traditional medicine. Following are the potential health benefits of gokshura:

  • For bodybuilding: Gokshura is used for improving muscle strength and body composition and can be a natural alternative to steroids.
  • For mental health disorders: Gokshura has anti-depressant and anxiolytic effects due to the presence of sapionins in it and can thus be used for the management of anxiety and depression.
  • For the heart: Gokshura is loaded with antioxidants, which is responsible for its cardioprotective actions. It helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and thus helps in the prevention of atherosclerosis and other heart conditions.
  • For kidneys: The intake of gokshura helps to prevent the formation of kidney stones by flushing excess minerals from the body due to its diuretic actions. It also helps to improbe kidney function.
  • For women: Gokshura is excellent for the health of women having multiple benefits. Daily consumption of this herb helps in improving libido and sexual desires and is also effective against PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and UTIs (urinary tract infections) in them.
  • Other benefits: Gokshura is effective against a number of skin conditions like acne, eczema, itching and skin irritation. It also delays signs of ageing with respect to hair and skin and is useful in relieving migraines, piles and fistulas.
  1. Gokshura for urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  2. Gokshura for PCOS
  3. Gokshura for kidney stones
  4. Gokshura for low libido in women
  5. Gokshura for heart health
  6. Gokshura for anxiety and depression
  7. Gokshura for bodybuilding
  8. Other potential health benefits of Gokshura

Gokshura for urinary tract infections (UTIs)

According to research, Gokshura can successfully treat urinary tract infections without any side effects. Due to its diuretic property, this medicinal plant helps in eliminating pathogenic bacteria from the urinary tract by increasing the flow of urine.

It is believed that Gokshura has rejuvenating properties. Ingestion of gokshura detoxifies the body and protects against urinary tract and bladder infections. Since it is considered safe, gokshura can be a better alternative to antibiotics. 

Gokshura for PCOS

In the recent years, PCOS has become quite prevalent among women of all age groups, especially in adults and young teens. This health disorder can cause acne, irregular periods, weight gain, mood swings, hair loss etc. Further, PCOS can also affect the fertility of a woman by interfering with the conception and can raise complications during pregnancy.

Research study shows that women, who are suffering from PCOS, can be benefitted by Gokshura as it decreases the size and number of cysts.

Another study suggests that regular consumption of gokshura leads to an increase in the level of follicle stimulating hormone in the body, which is essential for the development of ovarian follicles. In Unani medicine, a combination of ashwagandha and gokshura is used for alleviating PCOS symptoms.

It can also help to deal with the unwanted weight gain in women affected by PCOS.

Gokshura for kidney stones

Kidney stones have become a rising issue in many countries due to various reasons. A study shows that 12% of the population in the world is suffering from kidney stones and the recurrence rate is between 50% and 80%. Gokshura has been found to reduce kidney stone formation by a number of ways.

It helps reduce the levels of calcium in blood thus avoiding its deposition in your kidneys.

As a diuretic, it helps flush out the excess minerals from blood before they can accumulate inside your kidneys.

And the antioxidant effects of Gokshura can help in inhibiting the formulation of kidney stones, along with improving kidney function.

Gokshura for low libido in women

Gokshura is traditionally known as an aphrodisiac. Extensive studies have been done to assess the effects of gokshura in improving libido in women. Clinical studies demonstrate that consumption of 7.5 mg of gokshura extracts per day leads to an improvement in sexual desire in women with sexual dysfunction within 4 weeks.

Recent clinical studies indicate that regular administration of gokshura increases sexual satisfaction and arousal in pre and postmenopausal women. This is due to the fact that it increases the levels of testosterone in the blood.

Gokshura for heart health

According to research, Tribulus terrestris or Gokshura possesses cardioprotective properties due to the antioxidants present in it. It is able to reduce the size of infarct (dead tissue area in the body caused by loss of blood supply), which is a condition that happens when there is inadequate blood supply to the affected area. It increases blood flow in the heart and improves heart functioning by increasing ATP levels in the body.

A clinical study is showed that regular consumption of this medicinal herb has a significant antihypertensive effect without any side effect. in fact, studies indicate that gokshura is safe to use for longer periods to treat patients suffering from mild to moderate levels of hypertension.

This plant helps also regulates the cholesterol levels in the body by reducing LDL or bad cholesterol levels. Further, it prevents lipid peroxidation, which is otherwise responsible for plaque formation and atherosclerosis

Gokshura for anxiety and depression

Depression and anxiety have become quite prevalent these days. It can affect all age groups irrespective of the gender. Preclinical studies indicate that gokshura can be an effective anxiolytic and antidepressant drug with minimal side effects and can be successfully used to treat anxiety and depression.

In further studies, this anti-depressive effects of gokshura has been attributed to the reduction of serum cortisol levels due to the saponins present in it.

Gokshura for bodybuilding

Gokshura has recently gained popularity among bodybuilders as this herb can improve muscle strength and body composition. Prolonged intake of Gokshura helps you boost strength and gain muscles. Tribulus terrestris enhances lean mass and testosterone by releasing nitric oxide, a gas that expands the blood vessels which results in better supply of oxygen to the muscles. Men, these days are switching to steroid injections to stay fit which have been proven to be harmful in a long run. Gokshura, as a natural herb is a better and healthy alternative to these steroids. However, more studies are still needed to rule out any health concerns and ascertain the safety of this herb in long-term usage.

Other potential health benefits of Gokshura

  • It is believed that Gokshura helps in combating acne problem which is quite prevalent among teenagers. It is also useful in treating various dermatological problems such as itching, skin irritations, skin eruptions, eczema etc.
  • Regular intake of this herb is believed to prevent early ageing, making you look younger. It helps prevent wrinkles, enhance body fat content and combat muscular degeneration.
  • Further, the seeds of Gokshura are believed to control and prevent hair fall when they are applied in the form of a paste.
  • This ayurvedic herb is also believed to soothe headaches and migraines.
  • Due to the anti-inflammatory properties, it is being used to treat fistula and piles.
  • For long, people have been using Gokshura to treat eye problems and also to boost immunity.
  • The antioxidant effects of gokshura have been found to be helpful in the management of diabetes symptoms and avoid diabetes-related complications.

Most studies have shown that Gokshura is safe to consume and it does not cause any serious side effects. Gokshura may upset stomach and it can increase the size of the prostate in men. It is recommended to consult your health practitioner before adding Gokshura to your daily diet and care should be taken in the following cases 

  • Pregnant and lactating women: It is not advisable for pregnant women and lactating mothers to consume Gokshura as it believed to harm the development of the fetus.
  • Allergic reactions: Some people might suffer from allergic symptoms such as upset stomach, rashes.
  • History of major medical surgeries: It is advised to consume prescribed dosage if you have a history of medical surgeries or conditions.  
  • Ongoing illness: Precautions should be taken if you are already on medication for some serious health issues. Also, women, who have a history of uterine or breast cancers should avoid consuming Gokshura. Men, with a history of prostate cancer, should also avoid Gokshura.
  • Diabetes: Gokshura regulates the blood glucose by lowering it down. Ask your doctor for the recommended dosage if you are a diabetic patient on medication.
  • Patients with hypertension: Patients suffering from hypertension should take Gokshura under medical supervision as it is a proven hypotensive agent.   
  • Children: Children are sensitive so they should never be given any medication without consulting the doctor.

Gokshura or Tribulus terrestris is a small leafy plant, which have been used in Ayurveda and traditional medicine since ages. It has a long list of health benefits with minimal side effects. It is good for people suffering from diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension and is useful for increasing libido. Before you start with any supplements, it is always recommended to consider both health benefits and risks and that is true in the case of Tribulus terrestris too.

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References

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  3. Susan Arentz, Jason Anthony Abbott, Caroline Anne Smith, Alan Bensoussan. Herbal medicine for the management of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and associated oligo/amenorrhoea and hyperandrogenism; a review of the laboratory evidence for effects with corroborative clinical findings. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014; 14: 511. PMID: 25524718
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  9. Seok Yong Kang et al. Effects of the Fruit Extract of Tribulus terrestris on Skin Inflammation in Mice with Oxazolone-Induced Atopic Dermatitis through Regulation of Calcium Channels, Orai-1 and TRPV3, and Mast Cell Activation. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017; 2017: 8312946. PMID: 29348776
  10. Mitra Tadayon et al.The effect of hydro-alcohol extract of Tribulus terrestris on sexual satisfaction in postmenopause women: A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. J Family Med Prim Care. 2018 Sep-Oct; 7(5): 888–892. PMID: 30598928
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