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Pygeum

Parts Used & Where Grown

Pygeum is an evergreen tree found in the higher elevations of central and southern Africa. The bark is used medicinally. Wild pygeum is environmentally threatened and efforts are being made to grow pygeum on plantations and control harvesting in the wild.

How It Works

Chemical analysis and pharmacological studies indicate the lipophilic extract of pygeum bark has three categories of active constituents: 1) Phytosterols, including beta-sitosterol, have anti-inflammatory effects by interfering with the formation of hormone-like substances in the body (prostaglandins) that tend to accumulate in the prostate of men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH); 2) pentacyclic terpenes have an anti-edema, or decongesting, effect; 3) ferulic esters indirectly control testosterone activity in the prostate, which may reduce the risk of BPH.1 While these effects have been shown in test tube studies, human studies are still needed to confirm these effects in the body. Pygeum alone has been shown in some double-blind trials to help men with BPH by improving urinary flow and other symptoms of BPH.2,3 It has also been used successfully in combination with nettle root to treat BPH.4 Long-term BPH studies (six months or greater) on pygeum are lacking, however.

References

1. Murray MT. The Healing Power of Herbs. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1995, 286-93.

2. Barlet A, Albrecht J, Aubert A, et al. Efficacy of Pygeum africanum extract in the treatment of micturational disorders due to benign prostatic hyperplasia. Evaluation of objective and subjective parameters. A multicenter, randomized, double-blind trial. Wein Klin Wochenschr 1990;102:667-73.

3. Andro MC, Riffaud JP. Pygeum africanum extract for the treatment of patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia: a review of 25 years of published experience. Curr Ther Res 1995;56:796-817.

4. Krzeski T, Kazón M, Borkowski A, et al. Combined extracts of Urtica dioica and Pygeum africanum in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: Double-blind comparison of two doses. Clin Ther 1993;15:1011-20.

5. Andro MC, Riffaud JP. Pygeum africanum extract for the treatment of patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia: a review of 25 years of published experience. Curr Ther Res 1995;56:796-817.

6. Carani C, Salvioli V, Scuteri A, et al. Urological and sexual evaluation of treatment of benign prostatic disease using Pygeum africanum at high doses. Arch Ital Urol Nefrol Androl 1991;63:341-5 [in Italian].

7. Menchini-Fabris GF, Giorgi P, Andreini F, et al. New perspectives on treatment of prostato-vesicular pathologies with Pygeum Africanum. Arch It Urol 1988;LX:313-22 [in Italian].

8. Murray MT. The Healing Power of Herbs. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1995, 286-93.

9. Chatelain C, Autet W, Brackman F. Comparison of once and twice daily dosage forms of Pygeum africanum extract in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia: a randomized, double-blind study, with long-term open label extension. Urology 1999;54:473-8.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2019.

Copyright © 2019 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved.

The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2019.