Tribulus Terrestris and Testosterone: Another Hyped up Herb that Doesn’t Live up to Its Claims?

Tribulus Terrestris (puncture vine) is a herb that grows pretty much all around the word, but is typically found in dry and cold climates.

It’s the most well known “testosterone booster” in the bodybuilding community. With a bad reputation that is, and it really does share opinions. Some preach for its awesome effects, and some say it’s an utter waste of money with no benefits at all.

So let’s find out does tribulus terrestris really work and what’s the science behind the herb:

Does Tribulus Increase Testosterone Levels

tribulus terrestris does it really workBodybuilders commonly use Tribulus Terrestris as a post-cycle remedy to jump-start the body’s own natural production of testosterone.

They do that based on the claims that tribulus would increase luteinizing hormone (LH) levels which would then help the body synthezise more testosterone inside the testicles.

It makes some sense as Tribulus Terrestris contains steroidal saponins and steroidal glycosides, which may have slight androgenic effects in the body.

However the scientific research on the subject is one hell of a big mess of inconclusive evidence and poorly done studies:

a) This study for example is the poster boy which is used as a “scientific proof” on how Tribulus would boost testosterone. However the researchers used animal subjects (baboons and rhesus monkeys) and they gave them the Tribulus via injections.

The Tribulus injections did work quite well, as they more than doubled the testosterone levels of those primates, but not for a long period of time though.

Basically this study proves nothing, except that there’s some androgenic effects in the herb when it’s injected into monkeys.

b) Few long term studies on animals have seen slight increases in testosterone levels of rabbits and rats (studystudy).

But again, those are animal studies and they’re not enough to prove anything.

c) In this human study concluded by Antonio et al. Tribulus Terrestris supplementation did increase strength endurance and body composition of resistance trained men when compared to placebo.

However That’s not enough to prove that the herb would increase testosterone levels, as it’s filled with nutrients and phytochemicals that may have a positive effect on body composition and muscle stamina even without a change in hormones.

d) Then finally came this human study which showed significant increases in testosterone and LH levels of men and women who take a standardized tribulus extract containing at least 10% of the active ingredient Protodioscin (one of the steroidal glycosides).

e) What followed was few another human studies done with the actual Tribulus Terrestris plant which showed no increases in testosterone or LH levels of young men (study, study, study)

So what can we learn from those studies?

Well, it looks like the herb alone increases testosterone in animals, but not in humans. And when the active ingredient (Protodioscin) is standardized into an extract, it significantly increases testosterone and LH levels in both, men and women.

This makes some sense, as this study found out that most of the Tribulus products on the market contain virtually non-existant amounts of Protodiocsin.

Meaning that most of the brands on the market are basically Tribulus Terrestris plant without the active ingredients that could have those modest androgenic properties.


In my opinion Tribulus Terrestris is one of the worst testosterone boosters out there. Yes it might work if you get an extract with standardized amount of steroidal saponins and Protodioscin, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it.

The only thing that I’ve seen after trying out Tribulus Terrestris has been a slight increase in libido and beard growth rate, but those may be explained by other factors too. So if you want to try Tribulus you’d better get a product like this which has a standardized amount of the active ingredients (affiliate link)

…Or just get yourself a testosterone booster that actually works in humans without any guessing, such as micronutrients, Mucuna Pruriens, and Ashwagandha.

Tribulus Terrestris and Testosterone: Another Hyped up Herb that Doesn’t Live up to Its Claims? was last modified: March 27th, 2017 by Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala is the founder of Anabolic Men, and an Independent Researcher that has been credited with organizing the findings that have helped thousands of men reach hormonal balance.


  1. Kurt Sassmannshausen on 28/11/2014 at 19:46

    If you read the concluding remarks in the 3rd study from item e), there was a 37% increase in free Testosterone, which is what takes action on the body and produces the androgenic effect. So that study actually supports an increase in use usable testosterone.

    • Robert on 03/05/2017 at 19:51

      The third study is using a supplement that includes the prohormone androstendiol (plus tribulus). I’m not sure why it’s considered at all relevant to the question of whether tribulus alone increases testosterone levels. Doesn’t anyone read the full study?

  2. Mr Worldly Wiseman on 06/05/2016 at 22:50

    Study d) was done by a trib supplement producer? Wow, can you imagine getting paid big money to sell a noxious invasive weed (that does nothing) to insecure boys and men? I wonder if my lawn clippings increase testosterone? Let me pay for a few studies and release the one I like. My lawn is special, btw

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