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Botanicals and Exercise Benefits

Consuming herbs may be able to help in exercise recovery, and the combination of both may aid in improving certain health conditions. A randomized single-blind, placebo-controlled trial evaluated puncture vine (Tribulus terrestris, Zygophyllaceae) extract (Tribulus Plus; Quamtrax Nutrition Europe S.L. Fuenlabrada; Madrid, Spain) on sports performance, hormonal response, body composition, and perceived exertion following the high-intensity training regimens of CrossFit® athletic males.1 While trial results did not demonstrate significant improvements in daily workouts, the authors conclude that puncture vine extract could "potentially intervene in the recovery process by a tendency…to increase serum testosterone." They state that consuming puncture vine extract may lead to less fatigue and catabolism associated with exercise.

A Spanish single-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial examined the effects of a spinach (Spinacia oleracea, Amaranthaceae) extract (SpisarTM; EUROMED, S.A.; Barcelona, Spain) on 51 healthy adults over 50 during strength training.2 Significant improvements in muscle quality were found in both groups compared to baseline; however, the spinach extract group saw a more significant change in muscle mass at 60° s-1 extension (P = 0.024) and at peak isometric torque (P = 0.021). Men taking spinach saw greater increase in leg muscle mass vs. placebo; women taking spinach had more muscle gain overall vs. placebo.

Another single-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial assessed combining aerobic training (AT) and three turmeric (Curcuma longa, Zingiberaceae) capsules (TS) each containing 700 mg of turmeric powder (prepared by Dineh Pharmaceutical Company; Iran) on the metabolic profile and oxidative stress markers in women with type 2 diabetes and hyperlipidemia.3 Results indicate that eight weeks of AT+TS was superior to AT or TS alone and AT was superior to TS alone for improving metabolic profile and oxidative stress measures.

Lori Glenn
HerbClip™ Managing Editor


1Fernandez-Lazarao D, Mielgo-Ayuso J, del Valle Soto M, Adams DP, Gonzalez-Bernal JJ, Seco-Calvo J. The effects of 6 weeks of Tribulus terrestris L. supplementation on body composition, hormonal response, perceived exertion, and CrossFit® performance: A randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled study. Nutrients. November 2022;13(11):3969. doi: 10.3390/nu13113969.

2Pérez-Piñero S, Ávila-Gandía V, Rubio Arias JA, Muñoz-Carrillo JC, Losada-Zafrilla P, López-Román FJ. A 12-week randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial, evaluating the effect of supplementation with a spinach extract on skeletal muscle fitness in adults older than 50 years of age. Nutrients. December 6, 2021;13(12):4373. doi:10.3390/nu13124373.

3Darmian MA, Hoseini R, Amiri E, Golshani S. Downregulated hs-CRP and MAD, upregulated GSH and TAC, improved metabolic status following combined exercise and turmeric supplementation: a clinical trial in middle-aged women with hyperlipidemic type 2 diabetes. J Diabetes Metab Disord. January 28, 2022;1-9. doi: 10.1007/s40200-022-00970-z.