Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris)
Common names: Caltrop, Bindii, Puncture vine, Nature’s Viagara
Taxonomic name: Tribulus terrestris
Flowering time: Spring to Autumn
Uses: Strength, stamina, fertility, improves libido
Area of origin: Eurasia, North Africa, North America, Australia
Warnings: Take care when harvesting
To some, Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris) is an evil plant but to me, it has a perverse beauty. It is named ‘Caltrop’ after a wicked, old time, military device that pierced the shoes and feet of horses and men, rendering them unable to do battle.
If you have ever stepped on one of these plants, you will know why. Its woody fruit is the bane of children and cyclists in Summer as the thorns on the fruit can puncture bike tyres! It’s called ‘puncture vine’ for just that reason.
If we look at its overall form though, we can see beauty in its functional simplicity. Caltrop grows best on dry, exposed soil. It’s shallow root system takes advantage of small amounts of soil moisture and its spreading form covers and protects that soil. The thorny seed cases deter creatures from walking on it. Caltrop is a bandaid for degraded soil!
But what about herbally?
I’ll be honest, I’ve not tried all of the herbal possibilities if this plant, but I’m determined to find a use for everything around us, so I’ve collated this post of possibilities and tried to put together a picture of how it works. I can say however that it does work balancing out one’s libido. For me, it works as an anaphrodisiac – it lowers my sex drive to a ‘controllable’ level.
Caltrop is able to balance our endocrine system by stimulating hormonal secretion. It has special affinity for the reproductive system in both men and women and can increase both libido and fertility. For men, it can increase sperm count, blood flow to the penis and testes and prolong erection. For women, it can increase progesterone secretion and reduce oestrogen, leading to a more balanced set of reproductive hormones.
Tribulus also helps stimulate the liver which leads to better metabolism and a general improvement in energy. It helps the breakdown of fats to essential fatty acids. These fatty acids are used as the building blocks of and for transportation of hormones.
In this way, it can be used with Purslane, another Summer plant with a high level of Essential Fatty Acids.
Tribulus has a reputation for providing anabolic steroids to athletes. Clinical research doesn’t support this, though the myriad of other effects it has on our body point to a general improvement is stamina and strength.
In summary, it is the improved balance of hormones that Tribulus brings yields a general improvement in the health of mind and body.
Prostrate, mat forming herb with opposite, pinnate leaves. Yellow flowers with 5 petals, borne singly in jeaf junctions. Spiny green hard fruit that go brown when dry are the distinguishing feature.