However it has been used for centuries in India and China to cure impotence and erectile dysfunctions and to boost libido in both males and females. It has been suggested that it can help in cases of PMT/PMS and in the female menopause. It has also been used to increase sperm count and boost fertility in both males and females.
In India it is used as a uro-genital tonic and it is said to help cure cystitis, get rid of kidney stones. On the subcontinent it is used to staunch the flow of blood from a wound, strengthen the kidneys, and treat gout and impotence. It’s also a mild diuretic and apparently good for the prostate gland.
In the mid-1990s it hit the headlines when Eastern European athletes said they had taken it to help their performance. The leaves contain steroidal saponins, and these increase the male hormone, testosterone in the body. Whether or not it actually does work as a steroid or testosterone booster has not been proved in Western clinical trials, although studies undertaken by drug companies show that it does indeed boost testosterone and helps build muscles (including of course the penis).
You can’t eat it, but spare a thought for the weed the next time the burrs get in your dog or cat’s paws. It might be good for something after all!