This plant commonly goes by two names in Ayurveda: gokshura in Sanskrit, and gokhru in Hindi. Tribulus terrestris is the Latin name.
The word, gokshura, comes from two Sanskrit words: go (cow) and akshura (hoof). This is because the small fruits (about 150 mg each) look very much like the hooves of cows, with several big thorns and lots of little spines on them.
The Hindi name, gokhru also means “cow’s hoof,” and Vaidya Mishra uses both the Sanskrit and Hindi names interchangeably in his ingredients.
Gokshura Gives Strength, Especially to Men
Some modern studies have found that gokshura increases testosterone.
According to the Sanskrit texts , gokshura has the property of being balakrit (giving physical and sexual stamina). It is not a vajikarana herb (aphrodisiac), like ashwagandha. It supports overall physical, as well as sexual, strength by building all the tissues, especially shukra dhatu (reproductive tissue).
The term in Ayurveda used to describe any herb or food that builds all the tissues is bringhana. Bringhana comes from the Sanskrit word, brihat (big or great) because it helps you to gain weight.
Milk, mangos and dates, for example, are all bringhana foods. They are helpful for gaining healthy weight because they nourish all of the seven dhatu (tissues) classified by Ayurveda: rasa (plasma), rakta (blood), mamsa (muscle), meda (fat), asthi (bone), majja (bone marrow and nerves), shukra (reproductive tissue).
When someone has a depletion of all the dhatus (tissues), they usually become very thin and weak. Tuberculosis is the ultimate example of wasting (kashaya). Bringhana herbs and foods help to fill out the depleted tissues and restore strength.
Not only is gokshura a bringhana herb, it is also a vrishya herb. Vrishya means that the quantity, and more importantly quality, of shukra dhatu (reproductive fluid) is improved. Gokshura works directly on the shukra dhatu to strengthen and purify it.
Gokshura especially nourishes the subtlest fraction of shukra dhatu, the sukshma bhag of shukra, which is the raw material for ojas. Ojas is the semi-vibrational material which connects the soul and the body, and gives strength to the whole body. In this way, gokshura not only supports shukra dhatu but, by doing so, strengthens the whole body by indirectly increasing ojas.