Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris)

Annual/Biennial
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Caltrop
Tribulus terrestris
Zygophyllaceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    The seed is abortifacient, alterative, anthelmintic, aphrodisiac, astringent, carminative, demulcent, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, pectoral and tonic[4, 147, 176, 178, 218]. It stimulates blood circulation[147]. A decoction is used in treating impotency in males, nocturnal emissions, gonorrhoea and incontinence of urine[4, 240]. It has also proved effective in treating painful urination, gout and kidney diseases[240].

    The plant has shown anticancer activity[218].

    The flowers are used in the treatment of leprosy[218].

    The stems are used in the treatment of scabious skin diseases and psoriasis[218].

    The dried and concocted fruits are used in the treatment of congestion, gas, headache, liver, ophthalmia and stomatitis[218].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves and young shoots – cooked[144, 177]. A nutritional analysis is available[218].

    Fruit – cooked. The unexpanded seed capsules are ground into a powder and made into a bread[2, 144, 177, 179]. A famine food, it is only used when all else fails[2].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

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.
We have very little information on this species and are not sure how successful it will be in Britain. There are conflicting reports on its hardiness – according to one report it is native to N. France which should make it hardy in Britain[50] whilst another report says that it is only hardy in zone 10 which means that it is not frost tolerant[200]. We would suggest treating it as a frost tender annual and then experimenting with its hardiness. It is likely to require a well-drained dry to moist soil and is also likely to be tolerant of maritime exposure. The plant is very fast growing from seed[50]. A good bee plant[156].
Europe – N. France and eastwards to E. Asia.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.