Botanical name: Tribulus terrestris var. bicornutus Family: Zygophyllaceae (Caltrop family)
Synonyms: Tribulus bicornutus, Tribulus hispidus
Puncture Vine is an obnoxious weed whose seeds are incredibly painful to step on, they easilly puncture your bicycle tires, and sometimes have to be pulled out of your pets' paws. It is a taprooted herbaceous perennial plant that grows as a summer annual in colder climates. 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 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 tyres and to cause considerable pain to unshod feet.
Medicinal uses: Tribulus is mentioned in ancient Indian Ayurvedic medical texts dating back thousands of years. Tribulus has been widely used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine for the treatment of sexual dysfunction and various urinary disorders. The Greeks used Tribulus Terrestris as a diuretic. In China and Vietnam it has been used in the treatment of post-partum hemorrhage, epistaxis and gastro intestinal bleeding. Tribulus terrestris is being promoted as a testosterone booster for the purpose of building muscle and increasing sex drive. It does not work like DHEA and androstenedione 100, which are progenitors of testosterone. Instead, claims have been made that it enhances testosterone levels by increasing luteinizing hormone levels.
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