GOKSURA (Tribulus terrestris)
The Sanskrit name goksura denotes the appearance of the fruit, which resembles the cloven hoof of a cow. It is also called as svadukantaka – of sweet spines, iksugandhika – one which smells like sugar cane. Caraka has categorized it as mutra virecana – diuretic and one of the ingredients of laghu pancamula – five minor roots, namely, salaparni, prsniparni, brhati, kantakari and goksura. Susruta mentions it as balya nutritive tonic, sukra sodhana – sperm prifier. Later on in Ayurvedic scriptures it is cited as pramehaghna – antidiabetic, asmarighna – litho-tryptic, amavataghna anti gout and mutrakrcchraghna – an alleviator of dysuria. Goksura is recommended as a drug of choice for dysuria.
The plant occurs throughout India almost upto 3,000 metres altitude. It is a prostrate spreading herb, densely covered with minute hair. The shrub is annual or perennial and thrives in moist soil. The leaves in opposite pairs, 5-8 cm long, compound and the leaflets 4-7 pairs are 8-12 mm. long. The flowers are bright yellow, leaf-opposed, solitary, 1-15 cm in diameter. The fruits very characteristic are globose, consisting five woodycocci, each with two, paired sharp spines. Seeds, numerous, within each coccus.
The botanical name of goksura is Tribulus terrestris and it belongs to Zygophyllaceae family. From the fruits and leaves, flavonoid components like kaempferol, kaempferol – 3 – glucoside, kaempferol – 3- rutinoside and a new acylated kaempferol- 3 – glucoside is isolated. Other components like hecogenin, steroid sapogenins and neotigogenin ae also reported. The bigger variety of goksura is botanically known as Pedalum murex. Disogenin, gitogenin and chlorogenin isolated. Kaempferol, its 3- glucoside, its 3- rutinoside and tribuloside isolated from fruits and leaves.
Goksura is sweet in taste, sweet in the post digestive effect and has cold potency. It alleviates chiefly vata and kapha dosas and pitta dosa also. It possesses heavy and oily attributes. It is useful in urinary calculi, diabetes, as a diuretic and an aphrodisiac.
The fruit, roots and the whole plant is used for the medicinal purpose. The herb, seldom externally, can be used for dressing the wounds with the paste of its leaves.
Internally, goksura is extremely efficacious in most of the urinary tract disorders because it promotes the flow of urine, cools and soothes the membranes of the urinary tract, and aids in the expulsion of urinary stones. It also stops bleeding from the tract and rejuvenates the urogenital system, both in males as well as females, Goksuradi ghrta, the medicated ghee with goksura and dhanyaka is an effective remedy for dysuria, strangury and anuria. For such ailments, the decoction of its roots works well, when given with sugar and honey. Asmari bhedana – disintegration of urinary stones is achieved by goksura curna with goat’s milk. Goksura is commonly used in combinations with guggulu, varuna, usira, dhanyaka, candana, punarnava and pasanabheda in urinary disorders.
In women, it is beneficial to the uterus, as it boosts the growth of uterus by its anabolic and rejuvenative properties. It is the best panacea for infantile or hypoplastic uterus, when combined with satavari, asvagandha and yastimadhu. It helps to prevent abortion by cheching the bleeding and nourshies the genital system. In the males, it is effectively used in impotency with honey. Goksura effectively controls the bleeding, hence is invaluable in raktapitta, haematuria when used with milk.
It is easily the best and often used herb to alleviate pain in the diseases due to vata. It combines well with kantakari for treating the cough of vata origin. Both, goksura and kantakari are balya to prana and alleviate vata, hence are beneficial in cough and the heart diseases. In large doses, it imparts the laxative action, hence is used as an adjunct in the treatment of piles. The powder of its fruit or the decoction of the roots is used for this purpose.
Goksuradi guggulu is a popular formulation consisting of goksura, guggulu, triphala, trikatu and musta. It is commonly used in treating diabetes, urinary calculi, dysuria, gout and sexual debility. In gout, the decoction of goksura and sunthi is very effectively used. Rasayana curna consisting goksura, guduci and amalaki is commonly used as a general tonic.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
- Goksuradi guggulu
- Goksuradi ghrta
- Goksura kvatha
- Goksura curna
- Goksura avaleha
- Dasamularista etc.