The Bulgarian tribulus is an herb known for its various benefits for male health. In general, the most common types of pure tribulus supplements are tribulus terrestris extract, tribulus oil, and whole tribulus powder. But what exactly can you expect from them?
If you are physically active, it can prevent muscular damage that increases the risk of pulled, strained, or torn muscles. It can increase the strength of your high-intensity movements such as jumping, sprinting, and punching. Lastly, it can protect your kidney, liver, and testicles from chemical damage.
Knowing this, you would immediately buy the best tribulus terrestris extract, powder, or oil that you can find, right? Well, before you do that, read on since not all of these can give you the desired effect.
Is Your Supplement a Powder or an Extract?
Herbal supplements come in a variety of forms. They can be in capsules, powders, teas, tablets, tinctures, oils, or extracts. To make it simpler, these types can be divided into two simple categories: powder and extract.
Herbal Powder Supplements
These supplements are the powdered form of the whole plant or some specific part of it. For example, it could be its powdered root, leaves, stem, or everything at once. Powdering the plant makes it easier for you to take or dissolve it before ingestion. It could come in capsules or in loose powder.
In some cases, you can take herbal powders as tea. This is one of the traditional approaches that herbalists followed for centuries! In this case, the plant is ground to a consistency enough for tea preparation. In other words, not as fine as the one you would find in capsules or loose powder supplements but enough to make a tea that would contain some of the plant’s beneficial compounds.
Herbal Extract Supplements
An extract is a substance isolated from the rest of the plant. This is done through a combination of solvents (water, alcohol, or some other chemical), pressure, and heat. In the case of herbal supplements, these solvents help separate the beneficial compounds present in the plant from the plant fibers. This result in a product that only contains what you need to get the plant’s benefits.
Extracts can also come in capsule form for easy ingestion. Alternatively, you can take them directly using a dropper. In some cases, the extract is dehydrated and formed into tablets.
In other words, extracts really come in many forms and shapes. Are they better than whole plant powders, though?
Which is Better Between Herbal Extracts and Powder Supplements?
To answer this question, we can take a look at the statements that you can find online about these two types of supplements:
FACT: “Extracts contain the standardized amount of a plant’s beneficial compounds”
Tribulus terrestris, and any other plant, contains compounds that provide various beneficial effects to your body. This is how humans discovered the benefits provided by these herbs even before the introduction of extraction techniques. But, the simple fact is that the potency of an herb depends on growing variable such as the climate, soil, and sun exposure. Because of this, one Bulgarian tribulus plant does not contain the exact amount of its active compounds as another Bulgarian tribulus plant. Even if they grew alongside each other.
For extracts, this is not the case. Herbs are processed to isolate the compound that provides the plant’s desired effect. These are processed with steam or controlled heat to remove any liquid without significant benefits. In the end, this process results in a substance that contains only tribulus terrestris extract.
It is for this reason that medical studies on any herbal supplement use extracts and not the herb’s powder. Extracts are more quantifiable since you can't say how much of a plant's active compound is there in a powdered root or leaf. Using extracts, on the other hand, gives those studying it an objective evaluation of the herb.
FALSE: “Extracts do not give you the full spectrum of the plant”
Extracts provide you what you need to experience the benefits that the tribulus terrestris can give. It simply takes out what doesn't give the plant’s specific benefits such as plant fiber, water, and chlorophyll. This belief usually stems from the thought that plant antioxidants cannot be extracted. But, this is not the case since these are also the saponins taken from the plant during extraction.
NOT REALLY: “Powders are less expensive”
It is true that powders have a lower price than extracts. However, if you think about it, you are getting more of the plant’s active ingredients in an herbal extract. In powders, you do not know how much you are actually getting.
To illustrate, you are assured that you are getting a gram of tribulus terrestris extract if it says so in the product packaging. On the other hand, you have no idea if a gram of its powder contains also a gram of the herb’s extract. Essentially, you are getting a better value from buying an extract compared to getting a powdered product.
IT DEPENDS: “Extracts contain harmful substances”
There are many ways a compound can be extracted from a plant. One of them is through the use of alcohols (and usually not the kind you drink at parties). These extraction methods are not done on substances intended for human consumption due to the harm the may cause to your body.
Extracts for human consumption are processed by using edible solvents like water or oil. To remove it, other food-safe methods are used such as steam distillation, ultrafiltration, and reverse osmosis.
FALSE: “Extracts are not natural”
An extract is natural since it was processed from the plant. It cannot be considered an extract if the raw material used is not a plant.
TRUE: “Extracts have a longer shelf life”
Herbal compounds don't have any substantial plant matter after the extraction process. On the other hand, the plant matter that makes a herbal powders gradually decays. This leads to the whole product going bad or, at the very least, losing in potency. This is not a problem with liquid or capsuled extracts since the product only contains the pure compound. It could even have a longer shelf life if the extract is sprayed onto a binding compound and formed into tablets.
TRUE: “Extracts contain solvent residue”
This is just the simple reality of processing herbs into extracts. There will always be leftover solvents and substances from the processes it went through. But, this is why you have to choose a product that only uses non-alcoholic and edible solvents, and that purifies it further after extraction. Furthermore, the FDA analyzes products marketed for human consumption to ensure that they are truly safe for your use.
Bulgarian Tribulus Extracts are the Way to Go
Taking tribulus terrestris extract is the best way to experience the plant’s benefits. You are getting the standardized amount and the product actually contains a specified amount of its beneficial compounds. Yes. it might seem more expensive compared to the products in powder form. But, you are getting a better return for the price of your purchase.