Ayurvedic doctors recommend gokshura (Tribulus terrestris) as a diuretic, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory treatment for painful urination, impotence, infertility, kidney disease, gout, and urinary stones. They also recommend it boiled with milk as an aphrodisiac. Chinese herbalists have used Tribulus terrestris (bai ji li) for over four hundred years to treat a variety of liver, kidney, and cardiovascular diseases. They say it frees stuck circulation by smoothing the flow of liver qi.
I asked my brother Dr. Eric Hadady–a handsome body-builder, former Mr. New Mexico, and chiropractor in Albuquerque, New Mexico–if he had heard of the East Indian herb gokshura (Tribulus terrestris.) Imagine my surprise when he answered, “Tribulus is the number one hot-selling herb for athletes in the healthfood stores.” He said it was rather expensive and he would appreciate knowing a cheaper source of herbal testosterone. Imagine his surprise when I told him that gokshura grew wild in the desert and was, in fact, the painful sticker he sometimes pulled out of his socks and cowboy boots. It is commonly called puncture vine or caltrop fruit.
Tribulus is a testosterone enhancer that leads to the production of the luteinizing hormone (LH). When LH levels are increased, the natural production of testosterone increases and so does male sex drive. A significant benefit of tribulus is that it stimulates hormone production to a balanced level, without over-stimulating hormones. Most gym experts recommend experimenting with 750 to 1,250 mgs. per day, divided among meals for increasing testosterone. However, our use of the herb as a tea is not the same as taking a pep pill. The tea is gently diuretic and reduces congestion pain in the pelvis and groin.
Tribulus’ role as a liver tonic is very important. It breaks down cholesterol and fats that inhibit healthy liver function by converting them to hormones and energy. Athletes use it for increased performance and stamina. Use tribulus if you eat too many rich fat foods, have liver discomfort, jaundice, or urinary discomfort.
For increased urination, simmer one teaspoon of Tribulus terrestris and a handful of diuretic Polygonum aviculare twigs (bian xu) in about 2 cups of water for five minutes, then pour the liquid over rooibos red bush tea or add some to tomato juice. To protect the prostate and promote comfortable urination , drink 1 – 3 cups daily.
Gokshura (Tribulus) and Weightloss
The increase in hormone levels particularly testosterone as a result of using tribulus will promote protein synthesis, positive nitrogen balance, and faster recovery from muscle fatigue. Its regular use as a diuretic is strong enough to reduce edema, belly fat, and eventually hypertension. In general, reducing water retention that surrounds muscles with a healthy diuretic such as tribulus makes the body look leaner and sculpted. The extra boost of energy and enthusiasm does not hurt either! Tribulus has no adverse effects to the central nervous or cardiovascular systems. No known negative effects presently exist when Tribulus is used as a dietary supplement. If you use the diuretic tea for more than a few days, make sure to use a mixed mineral supplement to replace lost electrolytes. NOTE: Women should not take the herb during pregnancy, but they can use it after delivery to tone energy.
Dr. Vasant Lad in The Yoga of Herbs recommends gokshura for difficult or painful urination, edema, kidney or bladder stones, chronic cystitis, nephritis, hematuria (blood in urine), gout, rheumatism, lumbago, sciatica, impotence, infertility, seminal debility, venereal diseases, cough, dyspnea, hemorrhoids, and diabetes. Gokshura is free of the side-effects of most diuretics. It strengthens kidney function and stops bleeding. It increases semen and has a gentle sedative effect on the nervous system. Taken with equal parts of ashwagandha, it has many revitalizing effects.
You might add 1/4 teaspoon of gokshura powder to your usual morning green tea. On days when more diuretic action is required, you can add an equal amount of the Ayurvedic tonic and rejuvenative herb for the kidneys punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa). As a tonic for weak muscles or for general debility, mix equal parts of gokshura and ashwagandha. Ayurvedic doctors recommend cooking powdered herbs such as these with milk. Milk and gokshura are said to make a strong aphrodisiac. Since we do not always have fresh goat milk at home, I mix the herbs with tea served during a meal containing goat or sheep cheese. But you can easily add the powdered herbs to water and take them 1 – 3 times daily.
Start with gokshura alone to observe its effects. How do you know you require a diuretic?
If your urine is darker than clear or pale yellow, thick, oily, cloudy, or sandy in appearance or has an odor, you could use a purifying diuretic.
If you need a stronger diuretic action, you can add another diuretic herb to gokshura. Chinese herbalists simmer Tribulus terrestris (bai ji li) with an equal amount of diuretic Polygonum aviculare (bian xu) twigs in about 2 cups of water for five minutes. Ayurvedic herbalists use Tribulus (gokshura) with diuretic punarnava. Either combination works. You can simmer the two herbs and pour the liquid over rooibos red bush tea or mix the herbal powders with tomato juice. To protect the prostate and promote comfortable urination, drink 1 – 3 cups daily of gokshura tea with or without the other diuretic herbs.
In NYC Chinatown you can find bai ji li and bain xu at Lin Sisters Herb Shop at 4 Bowery (212) 962 5417. In Manhattan’s little India area at Lexington Ave. around 28th and 29th Street, I bought Gokharu churna (gokshura powder) and Punarnavadi churna at Kalustan’s on Lexington between 28th and 29th streets or at Butala Emporium on E. 28th between Madison and Lexington. Butala Emporium is also in Queens at 37 -46, 74th Street Jackson Heights (718) 899 5590 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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