Pygeum

Also indexed as:Prunus africanum, Pygeum africanum
Pygeum: Main Image© Martin Wall
Botanical names:
Prunus africanum, Pygeum africanum

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.4 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.5, 6 It has also been used successfully in combination with nettle root to treat BPH.7 Long-term BPH studies (six months or greater) on pygeum are lacking, however.

How to Use It

The accepted form of pygeum used in Europe for treatment of BPH is a lipophilic extract standardized to 13% total sterols (typically calculated as beta-sitosterol).8 Men with mild to moderate BPH sometimes take 50–100 mg two times per day. A double-blind trial found that 100 mg once daily was as effective as 50 mg twice per day.9 Pygeum should be monitored over at least a six-month period to determine efficacy. Men with BPH who are using pygeum should be supervised by a doctor.

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The information presented in Aisle7 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 June 2015.

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