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Wild Garlic extract boosts testosterone production in vitro

Compounds in the South African plant Tulbaghia violacea [see below] stimulate the production of testosterone. Researchers at the University of the Western Cape discovered this when they did experiments with rats' testes cells in test tubes. Tulbaghia violacea is a close relative of common garlic.

Wild Garlic extract boosts testosterone production in vitro
It's also easy to find in garden centres. A ground cover plant, it also goes by the name of Wild Garlic. You can eat the stems, which have a strong garlic taste. The flowers are also edible, but are milder in flavour.

The Zulu have used Tulbaghia violacea for its medicinal properties for centuries. Although eating too much can lead to inflammation, stomach ache and gut complaints, in reasonable doses the plant is claimed to enhance libido. That's why the researchers added ethanol extracts of the fresh stems and bulbs to testes cells in test tubes.

The extracts certainly didn't harm the testes cells, as you can see below.

Wild Garlic extract boosts testosterone production in vitro

Together with LH, the extracts enhanced the production of testosterone by 33-72 percent.

Wild Garlic extract boosts testosterone production in vitro

What it is exactly that the extracts do in the testes the researchers don't know. They put forward two possibilities. Maybe Tulbaghia violacea improves the working of the LH receptors; maybe it speeds up the conversion of cholesterol into testosterone.

The South Africans are not the first researchers to stumble across the testosterone enhancing properties of relatives of Tulbaghia violacea. Animal studies have shown that juice from ordinary onions causes a sharp rise in testosterone levels as well as causing testes to grow.

Japanese researchers, connected to Riken concern, discovered testosterone enhancing properties of another member of the garlic family in 2001. In the Japanese study extracts of ordinary garlic boosted the production of testosterone in rats on a high-protein diet. [J Nutr. 2001 Aug;131(8):2150-6.]

J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Aug 17. [Epub ahead of print].

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