Purpose: Recurrence and persistent side effects of present day treatment for urolithiasis restrict their use, so an alternate solution, using phytotherapy is being sought. The present study attempted to evaluate the antilithiatic properties of Tribulus terrestris commonly called as "gokhru" which is often used in ayurveda to treat various urinary diseases including urolithiasis.
Materials and methods: The activity of Tribulus terrestris was investigated on nucleation and the growth of the calcium oxalate (CaOx) crystals as well as on oxalate induced cell injury of NRK 52E renal epithelial cells.
Results: Tribulus terrestris extract exhibited a concentration dependent inhibition of nucleation and the growth of CaOx crystals. When NRK-52E cells were injured by exposure to oxalate for 72 h, Tribulus terrestris extract prevented the injury in a dose-dependent manner. On treatment with the different concentrations of the plant, the cell viability increased and lactate dehydrogenase release decreased in a concentration dependent manner.
Conclusion: The current data suggests that Tribulus terrestris extract not only has a potential to inhibit nucleation and the growth of the CaOx crystals but also has a cytoprotective role. Our results indicate that it could be a potential candidate for phytotherapy against urolithiasis.