Gokshura, also known as Tribulus terrestris, is an herb that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine. It has gained popularity in recent years as a supplement for various health conditions. In this 3000 word article, we will explore the many purported benefits and uses of gokshura.
What is Gokshura?
Gokshura is a flowering plant native to tropical and moderate climates in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Other common names for gokshura include puncture vine, caltrop, goathead, and bindii. The name “gokshura” comes from Sanskrit, with “go” meaning cow and “kshura” meaning hoof, referring to the fruit’s spikes that can stick into cattle hooves.
Gokshura is an annual plant that spreads along the ground with branches up to 1 meter long. It has yellow flowers and stellate-shaped fruit with sharp spines. The root and fruits are used medicinally. Gokshura contains a number of active compounds including saponins, flavonoids, alkaloids, and sterols. The main active compounds are the steroidal saponins protodioscin and protogracillin, which are thought to contribute to gokshura’s purported benefits.
Traditional Uses of Gokshura
In Ayurvedic medicine, gokshura has been used for centuries primarily as an aphrodisiac and tonic for the reproductive system. It was believed to help enhance libido and performance while also supporting proper reproductive organ function in both men and women.
Gokshura was also used in Ayurveda to treat urinary tract conditions, impotence, seminal weakness, and general debility. Recent studies have looked further into these traditional uses to determine if they hold up to scientific investigation.
Modern Research on Gokshura Benefits
Much of the current research on gokshura has focused on determining if it can truly boost testosterone levels and act as an aphrodisiac. Studies have also explored gokshura’s effects on fertility, muscle building, endurance, and potential application for prostate health. Here is an overview of what the research says so far:
There is some evidence that gokshura may act as an aphrodisiac and testosterone booster, though results are still preliminary. Animal studies have shown increased sperm production, improved erectile function, and increased testosterone levels with gokshura supplementation. However, human studies are limited and have had mixed results.
A 2015 review of several randomized controlled trials using gokshura extracts found moderate benefits for libido in men and women, but no conclusive evidence for testosterone boosting effects. The reviewers concluded larger and longer studies are needed to determine gokshura’s efficacy as an aphrodisiac.
Several studies have indicated gokshura may help improve fertility parameters in men. In one 90-day study of 50 men with unexplained infertility, gokshura supplementation increased sperm count and motility. Another study of 60 infertile men found increased sperm concentration and motility after three months of gokshura treatment.
Researchers believe gokshura’s antioxidants help support sperm health and reproductive function. However, larger studies are still needed, especially on gokshura’s effects on fertility in women.
A number of studies have suggested gokshura may aid muscle building and strength when used alongside resistance training. One double-blind trial found men who took 5 grams of gokshura extract daily for 8 weeks gained significantly more muscle strength and size compared to a placebo group.
However, other studies have shown little or no additional benefit for muscle gain with gokshura supplementation. More research is underway, but current evidence is inconclusive on gokshura for boosting exercise performance and physique.
Early research indicates gokshura may help support prostate and urinary tract health in men. In one trial, men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) saw improved urinary symptoms after taking gokshura for 12 weeks.
Gokshura is thought to help inhibit the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which is involved in prostate enlargement. More high quality human studies are needed to verify these effects before gokshura can be recommended specifically for prostate issues.
Traditional uses of gokshura included treating edema and promoting diuresis. Animal and human studies have found components in gokshura do seem to have mild diuretic effects.
A 2014 study in rats concluded a gokshura extract significantly increased urine output. And a small trial in 18 men found increased urination with gokshura compared to a placebo. Further studies may support gokshura’s potential as a safe diuretic.
Gokshura contains flavonoids and other compounds that demonstrate antioxidant activity in some studies. Certain gokshura extracts have been shown to reduce free radical damage and oxidative stress in cells.
Chronic inflammation and oxidative damage are risk factors for many diseases. Gokshura’s antioxidant effects may help explain some of its observed benefits, though more direct human research is needed.
Safety and Side Effects
Gokshura is generally considered safe when used orally in appropriate doses for limited periods of time. The most commonly reported side effect is mild gastrointestinal discomfort. However, there are some safety considerations:
- Gokshura may act as a blood thinner and should be avoided by people with bleeding disorders or taking blood thinning medications.
- It may lower blood sugar, so diabetics should use it with caution and monitor blood sugar levels closely.
- Gokshura may have diuretic effects and contribute to dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities.
- There is some concern gokshura may affect hormones like estrogen and interact with hormone-sensitive conditions. It is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
- Long term safety with gokshura supplementation is unknown, so prolonged use should be avoided.
The recommended dosage of gokshura extract is typically 250-500 mg twice per day standardized to contain at least 40% saponins. It is best to consult a health practitioner for appropriate dosing guidelines.
Gokshura is an herbal supplement with a long history of traditional use as an aphrodisiac, tonic for the reproductive system, and treatment for urinary conditions. Modern research indicates it may offer benefits for fertility, prostate health, muscle gain, endurance, and as a mild diuretic. However, human studies are still limited and high-quality clinical trials are needed.
While generally safe for short term use at appropriate doses, gokshura does have some potential side effects and drug interactions to be aware of. Anyone considering using gokshura supplements should first consult their healthcare provider and use caution, especially if taking any medications or if pregnant/breastfeeding.
Though gokshura shows promise in certain areas, larger scale studies are still needed to verify efficacy and understand the mechanisms behind its effects. Research is ongoing and will help elucidate how this ancient herbal remedy may be used to support health in today’s world.