Bulbine Natalensis raises testosterone, lowers estrogen

Bulbine Natalensis & testosterone

There are few herbs that actually boost testosterone, fewer that really lower estrogen, but none that do both exceptionally well – except Bulbine Natalensis.  The rodent data suggests a testosterone boost of 347% compared to baseline, while lowering estrogen by 35%. And all of this is achieved at a dose of 50mgs/kg (rat dose), which translates very well to a low human dose, which would easily fit in a single daily serving. I should know…because I’ve been taking it for the past several months, and using it to boost my testosterone and lower my estrogen – with zero side effects!

Do the math…how many herbal estrogen reducers can lower it by 35%? How many herbal test boosters can raise testosterone by more than double? If Bulbine Natalensis only worked half as well as the study indicates, then we’d still have a blockbuster ingredient.

But nobody’s using it yet…and here’s the story…

In 2007 I formulated a totally unique nutritional supplement that contained Fadogia Agrestis, a Nigerian herb; the research showed that it could double testosterone levels. This modicum of success earned me a two-year sentence in the nutritional industry, where I designed three more products for two different companies (Protein Factory and Custom Capsule), before earning time off for good behavior. I pulled my own product off the market, and currently earn nothing from anything related to supplement design/formulation. I haven’t gotten paid for designing a supplement in several years. Period.

By 2008 I had been doing some research and discovered an herb called Bulbine Natalensis. I looked online and saw that nobody was using it… which was odd because it seemed really great. The numbers were all there…a huge test boost with a nice reduction in estrogen. By 2009, some people had actually posted the Bulbine abstract on Bodybuilding.com, but since they were only posting the free abstract, none of the relevant numbers were included (i.e. the actual %-  testosterone boost, or the estrogen reduction).

While Fadogia has been shown in rodent studies to increase testosterone by 100% (doubling your natural test levels!), Bulbine Natalensis clocks in at 247% (i.e. you will end up with a total of 347% of your original level). It works more than twice as well as Fadogia, at half the dose. Oh, and it is several times more effective than Massularia Acuminata…but the dose is far lower (you can take 20x less). Unlike those other herbs, Bulbine doesn’t just boost testosterone, it lowers estrogen.

If you like Massularia or Fadogia, then you’re going to fall in love with Bulbine –  it was studied by the same scientist, using the same protocol, with the same parameters; the only difference is that Bulbine kicks the sh!t out of them.


Because I write for a South African magazine (Muscle Evolution), and Bulbine is a South African Herb, I MEjuly2010figured that I could easily get my hands on some. Well…that wasn’t the case. I contacted several South African suppliers, and nobody had it. I contacted several Chinese suppliers, and although they claimed to have it, when I tested the samples it turned out to be something else (don’t ask).

The reason I wasn’t seeing Bulbine in any supplements was that nobody could get the damn stuff! I later found out that the conditions for growing the herb are ideal in South Africa, while it’s fairly difficult to grow elsewhere. In South Africa  it  has a folk reputation as a libido booster and fertility enhancer, and this seems to be well supported by the research.


Even though it was an exciting ingredient, I gave up on the idea by the end of 2008; totally removed it from my thoughts and carried on with my other projects.

In late 2009 I was contacted by Daniel Clough from At Large Nutrition. He was toying with the idea of adding a testosterone booster to his product line, so I started researching and formulating a product for him. I ended up purchasing a lot of scientific data, and pouring through the research. A lot of ingredients are good, but you need to take several grams of them per day – far too much to reasonably put in a capsule with other ingredients. D-Aspartic Acid comes to mind, as does Massularia Acuminata.

If I’ve been highly negative about testosterone boosters lately, it’s because I’ve used Bulbine Natalensis. Oh, and let’s not forget that I’m not on the monthly payroll of any supplement companies, and my plans to sell this stuff have already fallen through (more than once). I just thought my blog readers would be interested in my experience, and I’m sure there’s more than enough companies out there who will want to pick up the ball and run with my idea. I have no additional information to “sell” and I’m not soliciting companies to hire me…this is just a rundown of my experience.

Click to listen – Superhuman Radio – Bulbine Natalensis scientist interview!

For numerous reasons, Bulbine kept coming up as the best option, but I’d already been down that road, and it led nowhere. But what’s the use of designing a product if you can’t actually source the main ingredient? So I looked at the research available and figured out what my best options would be. The next few weeks were spent sending out a wish list of about a dozen unique herbs to various suppliers.

Just for a laugh, I put Bulbine Natalensis on the bottom of each list, knowing that nobody would have it. Almost immediately two things happened: 1.) I found a reliable supplier and paid for a sample and 2.) Daniel phoned me to say that the project was on indefinite hold. I had jumped the gun pretty badly, and through complete fault of my own, invested quite a bit of time and money into an idea that had never been officially green-lighted.

BNpowderI was now stuck with a bunch of expensive medical studies ($30 each!), several months of wasted research, and 377 grams of Bulbine Natalensis on the way to my office. Even getting the 377 grams was difficult, as it required over 8 kilograms of raw material to be harvested, which was dried and powdered, and ended up as about a third of a kilogram. Now it was on the way – finally! – and I had no use for it. The South African supplier I stumbled upon had never sold the stuff before, didn’t have it on their price list (still doesn’t), and probably couldn’t imagine what the hell an American wanted with it.

I contacted some friends in the supplement industry, who wished me good luck, and told me that they weren’t interested. I was rejected by one of the largest companies currently being sold in GNC, and one of the smallest companies on the Internet. I contacted some more friends and was given the same answer. I had no promises from anyone, no contracts, and nothing promised to me at all. A few people were interested here and there, but nothing ever panned out, and I never earned a cent from this idea.

But I was still curious to see if it actually worked. I’d already invested quite a bit of money, and written it off as a loss. The least I could do is follow the project through to the end and test it on myself. There was still a lot of work to do, and I needed to determine the appropriate dose.

BNDoseUBulbine Natalensis follows something called an “inverted-U” dose response curve. Imagine the letter “U,” but imagine it upside down. That’s how the dose response of this herb would appear on paper. If you take a certain amount (the dose), it raises testosterone (the response)– to a point. Once you hit the peak dose, the more you take, the lower your testosterone will go. Although it sounds odd, we see this effect with a surprisingly large number of drugs.

Rodents taking 25mgs/kg of bodyweight showed an average testosterone level at 260% of the control group (with a 20% estrogen reduction to boot). So, even at the lowest tested dosage, the stuff whips fadogia and a lot of other stuff out there. Rodents taking 50mgs/kg showed a tremendous 347% testosterone level compared to control. But there’s too much of a good thing – rodents taking 100mgs/kg showed a 1/3rd lower testosterone level, plus they experienced selective toxicity in some of their internal organs. That’s the inverted-U at work, and if you don’t know the right dose, and haven’t done your research, that’s what’s going to happen (although the bloodwork I have at the end of this article shows zero adverse effects for my 3 month-ish trial run).

The human equivalent dose of a drug (or nutritional supplement) is determined by a very specific mathematical formula. The way not to figure this out is to simply multiply/divide by bodyweight. Test animal weighs one kilogram? You weigh 100 kilograms? Just take 100x the dose! That’s not how it’s done.

Let’s just skip to the part where I tell you that I did a bunch of math-stuff, ended up with a number, and that’s the dose I ended up taking.

To make things quasi-scientific, I went off all nutritional supplements, and had my (free) testosterone and estrogen (E2) tested. Then I took a week’s worth of Bulbine Natalensis, once per day, before bed. I took it once per day because that’s what the rodents in the study did, and because it was easier to make fewer capsules. During this time I trained and ate normally. I used ZRT laboratories for testosterone and estrogen testing (saliva) and my primary care physician for bloodwork.

To make a long story short, I botched my calculations, and I ended up taking far too much, probably because I wasn’t using the same extract as the study (I was simply taking the raw herb). I was on the down slope of the curve. So while my estrogen was lowered by over 20%, my testosterone was also lowered by around 20% also!


The results were (and are) promising, because at least I knew that the herb did exactly what the study said it would – I just miscalculated and used too much. So I put together several weeks worth of capsules in a variety of doses, and waited a little longer before retesting. As you can see, by the time I’d readjusted my dose and had another test done, I had still achieved a lower estrogen than my baseline (going from 1.3 to 1.1, or 15% under baseline) and brought back my test levels to slightly over their accidentally lowered level (from 101 to 131, up about 30% from the depressed level):

I was finally on the right track, and as you can see, Bulbine Natalensis has a pronounced effect on both testosterone and estrogen, that I was able to control by changing the dose – which was predictably in line with the rodent study. By getting the original test done, along with two more tests at different doses, I could plug my own results into the dose response curve, and figure out where I needed to be, ideally, to get the test boost/estrogen reduction that would put me at the peak of the curve for each.

freetestestrogenWhen I figured out the optimal dose, my libido was up, my strength was up, and I was gaining a bit of muscle too…then I stayed at that dose for a couple more months. Needless to say, with a huge boost in test (and reduction in estrogen), my results were phenomenal.

When I was sure that it was safe (I didn’t die), I began giving it to my friends. This is fairly standard for me…not too long ago, I gave Iron Man Magazine author Jerry Brainum, a bunch of Irvingia Gabonensis, for him to test out (I couldn’t do it personally because I was testing another herb on myself at the time). I like giving samples to other authors,  because if something sucks, they’ll write about it….there’s no safety net for me or the compound.

Normally, my buddies get a month’s supply (of whatever I’m testing) and in return I get a month’s worth of data about their strength gains, bodyweight changes, libido, fat loss,  etc…in this case, all of the things we’d want to experience with a testosterone booster. Maybe I’m not doing textbook science here, but at least we can say that I’ve put forth some pretty good reasoning for Bulbine Natalensis to be included in future testosterone boosters, or at least for people to look into it, right?

After I gave it to my friends – the guys I hang out with on a daily basis – I gave some to Mike Mahler, a professional in the fitness industry who has probably written and spoken as much as anyone else on hormone optimization. After a month on Bulbine Natalensis, he asked for a Summer supply! Luckily I still had plenty left over from the original bag. And just like Jerry, if the stuff was rotten garbage, Mahler woulda’ let me know. You can read about Mike’s experience on Bulbine Natalensis here.

By the end, I was sitting on a mountain of real-world data – the kind of data that you get from sweating in the gym and moving heavy iron…i.e. the kind of data that matters to us. Everyone using the stuff felt a libido boost, everyone got stronger, and everyone put on lean mass while reducing body fat. My own hormone tests showed that it was working predictably on paper, but in the real world we also care about the kind of data that shows up in the gym, not just on a hormonal profile.

When I’d been on the herb for multiple months, at what I figured was the ideal dose, I did a blood test to make sure the herb was safe. Typically, when you raise test levels and lower estrogen, you’re going to put yourself at risk to throw your body out of whack – complete blood count (CBC), blood lipids, liver enzymes, etc…can all be adversely effected. But this stuff works…it’s been quite an ordeal to get here from 2008, when I first discovered Bulbine, through researching testosterone boosters for Daniel/ALN, to the point we’re at now, where I can confidently say that it’s a winner.

Bulbine Natalensis lowers estrogen, it raises testosterone, and it had no adverse effects on me. Remember, the rodent data tells us that we’re looking at a 35% estrogen reduction, with a 347% boost in testosterone. The stuff is the real deal, even though it took me 2 years to figure it out…and at this point, I’m pretty happy saying that the raw Bulbine Natalensis herb is safe and effective. My test levels ended up higher than baseline, even after all of the messing around with bad doses…and my estrogen was lower. And you can check out my liver enzymes, lipids, etc…at the end of this article…they’re all fine.

Now, I’m onto different trials,  for different herbs, still experimenting on myself…but not with Bulbine Natalensis. I plan to get some additional bloodwork (a full hormone panel) done for a before and after test on this herb, probably some time in the Autumn, and hopefully I can do some more research and figure out the upper limit of itspotential. All of that is on hold for me, though, because I’ve moved on to testing other stuff, and it’s a pain in the butt to get Bulbine…but now that I’ve put the ball in motion, I’m sure we’ll see increased interest, and probably a couple of products hitting the market before 2010 is over.

So, just to end things on the right note, I’ve got a nice copy of my blood work for you (excuse the sloppy scan-work, I combined two pages into one for the blog, and cropped my address out). But remember: this stuff isn’t magic …it’s not going to turn you into Mr. Olympia overnight, and it’s not going to put 30 lbs of muscle on you in a week –  but it appears to be a very safe, very effective, testosterone booster that doubles as an anti-estrogen…and you don’t need to take 20 grams of it.

Originally posted by Anthony Roberts on July 18, 2010, at www.anthonyroberts.co.za

About the Author

Anthony Roberts is the author of numerous books and articles, both online and off, dealing with all areas of performance enhancing drugs. Additionally he has worked as a coach, trainer, consultant, and nutritional supplement designer. His forthcoming book is Generation S, and slated for release in the Fall of 2009.