In the testosterone-boosting industry, various compounds get periodic attention from the media. Bulbine Natalensis is one of them, rapidly capturing interest from bodybuilders as a supplement for increasing testosterone levels. But, did you know that it may also help in wound healing? Keep reading to discover the health benefits, side effects, and reviews of Bulbine natalensis.
What Is Bulbine Natalensis?
Bulbine natalensis is a plant from the Asphodelaceae family, which is mainly found in Southern Africa. It is known by various names, including ibhucu, ingcelwane, and rooiwortel [R].
Although bulbine natalensis has been used in Africa for years, however, only recently has it become popular as a supplement in Western medicine.
- Cardiac glycosides
- Naphthalene derivative
Mechanisms of Action
- Increases testosterone levels in the testes and blood
- Increases the size of testes as a result of increased testosterone levels and in turn, the testes secrete more testosterone
- Boosts the activity of a testicular enzyme (alkaline phosphatase), which is involved in maintaining healthy sperm
- Raises levels of compounds in the testes, which are responsible for making testosterone (cholesterol), maturing and maintaining healthy sperm (glycogen, sialic acid, testicular proteins)
- Boosts levels of reproductive hormones (follicle stimulating and luteinizing hormone), which stimulate cells (Leydig cells) to produce testosterone
Health Benefits of Bulbine Natalensis
1) Bulbine Natalensis May Improve Sexual Health
High testosterone levels improve libido, mood, and overall sexual health in humans [R].
A watery extract of bulbine natalensis raised testosterone levels in the testes and blood in rats. It also increased sexual behavior and was more effective than Viagra at a dose of 25-50 mg/body weight. This indicates its potential to be used in the management of disorders of libido, premature ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction in men [R, R, R].
Bulbine natalensis extract enhanced the success of mating and fertility in rats as a result of the increased libido and increased reproductive hormones (testosterone, progesterone, luteinizing hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone). But, it did not alter other parameters of sexual health, such as sperm motility, shape, viscosity, and count [R].
2) Bulbine Natalensis Improves Wound Healing
In pigs, bulbine natalensis leaf gel extracts healed wounds faster and better than untreated wounds. There was an increase in collagen, proteins, and DNA in the bulbine natalensis-treated wounds, meaning that cells were dividing rapidly, resulting in a faster recovery [R].
Bulbine natalensis leaf gel extract enhanced the progress of wound healing in weaning pigs by forming new fibrous tissue, muscles, and connective tissues along with increasing collagen storage and maturation [R].
3) Bulbine Natalensis May Help Fight Fungal Infections
A watery extract of bulbine natalensis from the plant tuber completely blocked the growth of the fungi Aspergillus (niger and flavus) at all tested doses. Bulbine natalensis alcohol extract also had similar effects on the growth of this fungi [R].
4) Bulbine Natalensis May Help Fight Bacterial Infections
Extracts of bulbine natalensis in different types of alcohol blocked the growth of the following bacterial species [R]:
- Staphylococcus aereus, a bacteria resistant to many antibiotics, which commonly causes skin and respiratory infections and food poisoning
- Streptococcus faecalis, a frequent cause of uterine tract infections (UTIs), heart and wound infections
- Bacillus (cereus, pumilus), which may cause food poisoning
- Escherichia coli, which causes UTIs, diarrhea, and inflammatory bowel disease. Horsetail slows the growth and activity of this bacteria, which may justify its traditional use for UTIs
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacteria resistant to most antibiotics that can cause life-threatening drug-resistant infections
- Klebsiella pneumoniae, which may cause respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia
- Serratia marcescens, which causes difficult-to-treat hospital infections
- Proteus vulgaris, which can cause UTIs
- Enterobacter cloacae, which can cause many serious infections affecting the urinary tract, skin, lungs, and heart
- Acinetobacter calcoaceticus, which is actually part of the normal gut flora
- Shigella flexneri, which causes food poisoning
The bulbine natalensis extract in ethyl acetate was the most effective at blocking bacterial growth compared to other alcohol extracts [R].
Side Effects and Safety
In one study (DB-PCT), 36 healthy men took bulbine natalensis supplement daily for 28-days. Consumption of bulbine natalensis was safe as measured by blood, kidney, liver, and general markers of health (heart rate, blood pressure, ECG) [R].
In rats, a watery extract of the bulbine natalensis stem increased blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides and decreased levels of ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL) [R].
In another study on rats showed, bulbine natalensis stem extract increased liver enzymes (GGT, ALT, and AST) and the size of the liver (lobules) and kidney (proximal and convoluted tubules). These changes point to damage from bulbine natalensis use [R].
Limitations and Caveats
There is only one human study examining the effects of bulbine natalensis. Most studies were done on animals.
More scientific studies are required to know how and if bulbine natalensis use impacts the body, short- and long-term safety, and if it interacts with other drugs/compounds in the body.
Bulbine Natalensis Supplements
Extracts of bulbine natalensis are available in capsules, tablets, bulk powders, and liquid extracts. It’s sometimes combined with other testosterone boosters or added to protein powders.
In the only human study on bulbine natalensis, it was consumed at a dosage of 325 mg twice a day [R].
A dosage of 50 mg/kg is optimal based on the rat studies. This can be converted into an estimated 8 mg//kg for a 60 kg human according to the Body Surface Area Conversions standards laid down by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [R].
In other words, based on animal studies, a bulbine natalensis extract may be taken at an estimated dosage of:
- 360 mg for a 100 lb. person
- 550 mg for a 150 lb. person
- 730 mg for a 200 lb. person
The bulbine natalensis dose would be higher if the raw form of the plant is consumed without any extraction.
Many users experienced an increase in libido, mental, and physical energy with bulbine natalensis consumption. The testosterone-boosting effects took some time to be noticeable for some users.
A few users report that they did not feel any effects after taking bulbine natalensis. However, some noticed effects after doubling the dosage.
One user said that the supplement helped them sleep better but he also experienced heart palpitations, which subsided after stopping its consumption.