Botanical Name: Tribulus terrestris, Zygophyllaceae
Latin Name: Tribulus terrestris- Semen (Zygophyllaceae)
Common Name: Gokharu (H), Nerinci(T), Calthrops (E)
Sanskrit Name: Gokshura
Part Used: fruit
Constituents: Tribuloside, Saponin, Alkaloids, Potassium nitrate, Flavonoid- kaempferol, aspartic and glutamic acids.1
Indications: cough, dyspnea, asthma, dysuria, hematuria, urinary lithiasis, cystitis, nephritis, urinary tenesmus, hemorrhoids, parasites, cardiovascular disease, gout, rheumatism, lumbago, sciatica, spermatorrhea, impotence, menorrhagia, postpartum hemorrhage, frigidity, infertility, anemia, venereal diseases, diabetes, opthalmia, headache, insufficient lactation, hives (Bensky and Gamble 1993, 425; Frawley and Lad 1986, 169; Kirtikar and Basu 1993, 421; Nadkarni 1976, 1230; Varrier 1996, 311)
URINARY: Bladder or kidney infections, stones pain, retention, cloudy, bleeding. It soothes the urinary tract membranes and promotes urination. Specific for prostate problems, urinary retention or obstructed urinary flow.2
REPRODUCTIVE: As a tonic herb it nourishes the shukradhatu- it increases virility, fertility, sperm production and lactation. It rejuvenates the reproductive system- especially the uterus and the gonads. Used in infertility and impotence.3
NERVE: Useful in all aggravations of the nervous system and vata. It draws all three dosha downwards- headaches, hives, itchy skin, eye inflammations.
Contraindications: dehydration (Frawley and Lad 1986, 169); pregnancy (Bensky and Gamble 1993, 425)
Toxicity: The LD50 of a liopihilized saponin extract was 813 mg/kg (mice, intraperitoneal) (Arcasoy et al. 1998). This plant is the cause of geeldikkop in sheep and other small livestock, a condition characterized by edema of the head, fever, and jaundice (Kirtikar and Basu 1993, 423). Photosensitization and cholangiohepatopathy have been noted in sheep grazing Tribulus terrestris. (Tapia et al. 1994). Two beta-carboline indoleamines (harmane and norharmane) isolated from the plant material of Tribulus terrestris have been implicated in causing central nervous system effects in sheep that have grazed on Tribulus over a period of months. Researchers proposed that harmane and norharmane accumulate in tryptamine-associated neurones of the central nervous system and gradually interact irreversibly with a specific neuronal gene DNA sequence (Bourke et al 1992).
ˇHepatoprotective: Tribulusamides A and B isolated from the fruits of Tribulus terrestris prevented cell death in cultured mouse hepatocytes induced by D-galactosamine (D-GalN)/tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) (Li et al 1998).
ˇUrinary: An ethanolic extract of the fruits of Tribulus terrestris showed significant dose dependent protection against uroliths induced by glass bead implantation in albino rats. The extract provided significant protection against deposition of calculogenic material around the glass bead, and also protected leucocytosis and elevation in serum urea levels (Anand et al 1994).
ˇNutritional: Tribulus terristris was found to be a rich source of calcium (Duhan et al. 1992).
Comments: Gokshura is an outstanding remedy in urogenital disease, promoting urine flow, soothing the mucosa, and aiding in the excretion of stones and calculi (Frawley and Lad 1986, 170). Unlike diuretics such as Bearberry (Artostaphylos uva ursi leaf), Gokshura pacifies Vata and will not promote secondary effects such as dry skin. Nadkarni mentions that both the plant and seeds are used in decoction or infusion in the treatment of spermatorrhea, impotence, phosphaturia, dysuria, gonorrhea, gleet, chronic cystitis, renal calculi, incontinence, gout, post-partum hemorrhage, and to ensure fecundity (1976, 1230). In most cases of cystitis a simple decoction of the fruit or the tincture will suffice, although in severe cystitis botanicals such as Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis root) can be used in combination.
In severe tenesmus and pain it may be used along with Kava (Piper methysticum root) or Henbane (Hyocyamus niger herb) (TOXIC). For urinary lithiasis Gokshura may be combined with Buchu (Barosma betulina herb) and Gravel root (Eupatorium purpurea). For urinary incontinence and bedwetting a combination of Gokshura and Mullein (Verbascum thapsus root) is effective in strengthening the trigone muscle of the bladder.
Gokshura is also highly esteemed as a vajikarana rasayana. In the treatment spermatorrhea and impotence equal parts of the powders of Gokshura, Tila (Sesamum indicum), Kapikachu (Mucana pruriens) and Ashvagandha may be taken with honey, ghrita and goat's milk, 3 g b.i.d. on an empty stomach at dawn and at dusk. For frigidity and infertility Gokshura may be taken in equal parts Shatavari (Asparagus racemosa root) and Damiana (Turnera diffusa root), 1 2 g t.i.d.
Frawley and Lad consider Gokshura to be a rasayana for Pitta, and say that it is effective in Vatakopa conditions (Frawley and Lad 1986, 170). The presence of harmine alkaloids as well as other constituents are most likely responsible for Gokshura's sedative properties. It may be taken with Ashvagandha as a tonic nervine in Vattic disorders such as nervousness and anxiety.
For lumbar pain Gokshura may be combined with Ginger (Zingiber officinalis), Pippali (Piper methysticum root) or Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa). Varrier mentions that the ash of the whole plant is good for external application in rheumatoid arthrtis (1996, 311). Topically the oil of the seed is used in the treatment of Alopecia (Frawley and Lad 1986, 170).
In Traditional Chinese medicine Gokshura is used in the treatment of headache, vertigo and dizziness due to ascendant Liver yang, and dispels Wind-heat for red eyes and excessive tearing, promotes lactation, and is used in the treatment of hives.