In the world of testosterone boosting supplements, Butea superba is one that may be commonly found within many supplement products. For men over the age of 25, they will begin to experience a decline in testosterone production, as a natural part of aging.
Testosterone is responsible for many male characteristics, including increased muscle mass, a deep voice, body hair, and sexual drive. When testosterone production begins to decline, it can be more difficult to get through a workout, add muscle, and even maintain the muscle that was developed over years.
It may also be difficult for an older male to become sexually aroused or remain at peak sexual performance for a longer duration of time.
That leads many men to seek out various supplements to help either increase the production of testosterone in their body or free up certain testosterone levels.
A Word about Free Testosterone
Free testosterone essentially refers to any testosterone that is not bound to either SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin) or the protein albumin. When testosterone is bound, it doesn’t have the same ability to help boost muscle strength or even provide an increase in stamina or libido.
Bound testosterone is basically being held by the body for use at a later time. This could be during a workout, a particular fight or flight response that becomes necessary, or some other purpose, but is not free to be used to help increase muscle or get through a difficult workout.
What is Butea Superba?
Butea superba is one of only two known species of the butea genus of plants. It is indigenous to Thailand but has also been found to grow in India and Burma.
Four many centuries, it has been claimed to be an aphrodisiac of sorts. It has gained a great deal of attention during the past several decades in Western societies as an effective solution or treatment for erectile dysfunction.
Only recently have research studies been conducted on Butea superba to determine its influence on testosterone levels and even safety. There are numerous products that rely on Butea superba, and it’s important to understand whether or not it’s actually effective at helping to increase testosterone levels in the body or even help free up testosterone.
We found three research studies the specifically tested Butea superba and measured testosterone levels on subjects, but two of them were conducted on male Wistar rats.
The first study we looked at was conducted in 2012 by Chaiyasit and Wiwnaitkit at Mahidol Nutrition Society, Mahidol University, Thailand. It was a single case study on human subjects. That alone highlights the significant problem with this particular research study, but due to the low level of research conducted on this ingredient, it’s important to include here.
The researchers found an increase in dihydrotestosterone levels for the one human male subject that took Butea superba on a regular basis. What is interesting to note is that the researchers with this study had the subject stop taking Butea superba and after a week the subject reported feeling no increase in sexual drive and dihydrotestosterone levels had decreased to what is considered normal.
While only conducted on one subject, it does highlight a potential ability for Butea superba to help boost testosterone levels for human male subjects.
(Read more about this study at NCBI.)
The second research study we looked at was conducted in 2012 by Malaivijitnond, Ketsuwan, et al. at the Department of Biology, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. These researchers were looking at the impact of luteinizing hormone reduction on male potency when taking the Butea superba herb.
They conducted their study on five different groups of male Wistar rats. They provided the control group a placebo and the test groups each received 0, 10, 50, and 250 mg/kg body weight of Butea superba in distilled water. They did this over a 30 day treatment period.
The researchers did not find any change in serum testosterone levels or luteinizing hormone levels. They actually found a significant reduction in serum luteinizing hormone levels for those test subject rats that had received 50 mg/kg body weight and 200 mg/kg body weight of Butea superba extract. The researchers found that Butea superba requires androgens testosterone to be able to work synergistically to stimulate the sex organ of intact animals.
(Read more about this study at Scielo.)
The final study we looked at was conducted in 2008 by Cherdshewasart, Bhuntaky, et al. at the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Patumwan, Bangkok, Thailand. These researchers were looking to measure the androgen destruction and toxicity tests of Butea superba commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction.
The test subject male Wistar rats received either 0, 10, 100, 150, or 200 mg/kg body weight of Butea superba powder per day in 0.7 mL distilled water. They conducted this study over 90 consecutive days.
The researchers found a decrease in testosterone in rats that were treated with 150 and 200 mg/kg dosages for body weight.
They concluded that there was a significant risk of overdose consumption problems with Butea superba. In other words, taking too much of Butea superba could actually have a reverse impact on testosterone production, thus resulting in lower testosterone levels.
(Read more about this study at NCBI.)
It’s important to note that while some of the research that was conducted on Butea superba found an increase in testosterone levels, the two studies conducted on male Wistar rats found that elevated dosage levels of Butea superba could actually negatively impact testosterone levels and luteinizing hormone levels in male subjects.
The overall conclusion is that Butea superba is certainly effective at increasing dihydrotestosterone and testosterone levels in the body, but to make sure not to use an elevated dosage is that can have negative repercussions.
We will continue to look at research studies conducted on human male subjects and post the results when they are published.