Tribulus terrestris L.
Common names : Puncturevine, Caltrop [En], Tribule terrestre, Croix-de-Malte [Fr], Erd-Bürzeldorn [De], Tribolo comune [It], Abrojo terrestre [Es], Τριβόλι, Τρίβολος ο Χερσαίος [Gr], Demir Dikeni, Çoban Çökerten [Tu]
Marathokampos, Samos ● Greece
Etymology: The Latin name tribulus originally meant the caltrop (a spiky weapon), but in Classical times already the word meant this plant as well.
Description: It is a taprooted herbaceous perennial plant The stems radiate from the crown to a diameter of about 10 cm to over 1 m, often branching. They are usually prostrate, forming flat patches, though they may grow more upwards in shade or among taller plants. The leaves are pinnately compound with leaflets less than a quarter-inch long. The flowers are 4–10 mm wide, with five lemon-yellow petals. A week after each flower blooms, it is followed by a fruit that easily falls apart into four or five single-seeded nutlets. The nutlets or "seeds" are hard and bear two to three sharp spines, 10 mm long and 4–6 mm broad point-to-point. These nutlets strikingly resemble goats' or bulls' heads; the "horns" are sharp enough to puncture bicycle tires and to cause painful injury to bare feet.
Distribution: Native from Mediterranean, the plant is widely naturalised elsewhere, including in the Americas and also in Australia.
Uses: T. terrestris is now being promoted as a booster for the purpose of increasing sex drive. The extract is claimed to increase the body's natural testosterone levels and thereby improve male sexual performance and help build muscle. But T. terrestris has consistently failed to increase testosterone levels in controlled studies. It has also failed to demonstrate strength-enhancing properties.
Neychev VK, & Mitev VI., 2005. "The aphrodisiac herb Tribulus terrestris does not influence the androgen production in young men". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 101 (1-3): 319–23.
Rogerson S, Riches CJ, Jennings C, Weatherby RP, Meir RA, Marshall-Gradisnik SM., 2007. "The Effect of Five Weeks of Tribulus terrestris Supplementation on Muscle Strength and Body Composition During Preseason Training in Elite Rugby League Players". The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 21 (2): 348–53.
Antonio J, Uelmen J, Rodriguez R, Earnest C., 2000. “The effects of Tribulus terrestris on body composition and exercise performance in resistance-trained males”, Human Performance Laboratory, University of Nebraska, Kearney, NE 68849-3101, USA.