Herb: Caltrop

Latin name: Tribulus terrestris

Family: Zygophyllaceae (Creosote-bush Family)

Medicinal use of Caltrop:

The seed is abortifacient, alterative, anthelmintic, aphrodisiac, astringent, carminative, demulcent, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, pectoral and tonic. It stimulates blood circulation. A decoction is used in treating impotency in males, nocturnal emissions, gonorrhoea and incontinence of urine. It has also proved effective in treating painful urination, gout and kidney diseases. The plant has shown anticancer activity. The flowers are used in the treatment of leprosy. The stems are used in the treatment of scabious skin diseases and psoriasis. The dried and concocted fruits are used in the treatment of congestion, gas, headache, liver, ophthalmia and stomatitis.

Description of the plant:


60 cm
(2 feet)

April to

Habitat of the herb:

Dry open habitats, often as a weed in Europe. Sandy seashores in Japan.

Edible parts of Caltrop:

Leaves and young shoots - cooked. A nutritional analysis is available. Fruit - cooked. The unexpanded seed capsules are ground into a powder and made into a bread. A famine food, it is only used when all else fails.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frost.

Cultivation of Caltrop:

Dry open habitats, often as a weed in Europe. Sandy seashores in Japan.

Known hazards of Tribulus terrestris:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.