As men age, they may start to experience various health issues, one of which is an enlarged prostate. This condition, which is also known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), is quite common in men over the age of 50.

It can be quite uncomfortable and even painful, which is why many men look to natural remedies like pygeum. The symptoms may include:

  • difficulty urinating
  • weak urine flow
  • inability to empty the bladder completely
  • frequent urination at night (nocturia)
  • blood in the urine

This African plant extract (pygeum) has been used for centuries to alleviate the discomfort associated with enlarged prostate. Studies have shown it to be effective in reducing inflammation and improving urinary function.

Pygeum for BPH

Photo by David J. Stang, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What Causes BPH?

BPH is a condition that occurs when the prostate gland grows too large, leading to compression of the urethra – the tube that transports urine.

Although the exact cause of BPH is not yet known, some factors, including age, family history, and hormonal imbalance, are believed to contribute to the development of the condition.

However, contrary to popular belief, BPH is not caused by prostate cancer, and it does not increase the risk of cancer either. With proper diagnosis and management, men with BPH can lead a healthy and comfortable life.

Why Pygeum for BPH?

Many men who suffer from enlarged prostate (BPH) turn to traditional medications like alpha-blockers and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors to manage their symptoms. But what if there was a natural remedy that could help alleviate these issues?

Pygeum is an herbal remedy that has been traditionally used to manage BPH.

Let’s explore what pygeum is, how it works, and what research has to say about its effectiveness.

So, what is Pygeum?

Pygeum, also known as Pygeum Africanum, is a tree native to Africa. Its bark has been used for centuries by indigenous African tribes as a traditional medicine.

Today, pygeum supplements are commonly used to alleviate the symptoms of BPH. It has a high concentration of phytosterols, which are plant compounds that are structurally similar to cholesterol.

These compounds, particularly beta-sitosterol, have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the size of the prostate gland and relieve urinary symptoms.

How Does Pygeum Work?

There are several compounds in pygeum that have been shown to support prostate health.

The most studied of these is beta-sitosterol, a natural plant compound that has anti-inflammatory and anti-androgenic properties. Not only can it help reduce the inflammation and swelling of the prostate gland, but it can inhibit the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that contributes to prostate enlargement.

The exact mechanisms by which pygeum relieves symptoms of BPH are not fully understood. It is believed that its anti-inflammatory properties work by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which are chemicals that cause inflammation in the prostate gland.

Pygeum also contains antioxidants that protect the prostate gland from oxidative stress, which can lead to cell damage and contribute to the development of BPH.

Additionally, pygeum has been found to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells in laboratory studies.

Is Pygeum Effective for BPH?

Over the years, numerous studies have been conducted to evaluate pygeum’s effectiveness in managing the symptoms of BPH.

One double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 263 men with BPH found that those who took a pygeum supplement experienced significant improvements in urinary symptoms like frequency, nighttime urination, and residual urine volume.

Another study found that pygeum was as effective as finasteride, a commonly prescribed BPH medication, for improving urinary flow and reducing the size of the prostate gland.

Another systematic review of 18 clinical trials showed that pygeum was effective in alleviating lower urinary tract symptoms and improved quality of life for men with BPH.

Other studies have shown that pygeum works as well as conventional medications for BPH, such as alpha-blockers and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, but with fewer side effects.

In a meta-analysis of 18 randomized controlled trials that involved a total of 1,562 participants, researchers found that pygeum:

  • significantly improved peak urinary flow rate,
  • reduced residual urine volume, and
  • decreased nocturia (nighttime urination)

What Are the Side Effects of Pygeum?

Pygeum is generally considered safe and well-tolerated. However, some people may experience mild gastrointestinal side effects like nausea, diarrhea, or constipation.

Pygeum may also interact with certain medications, so it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking pygeum if you’re on any prescription medications.

Pygeum for BPH – A Natural Solution

While BPH is a common condition that affects many men as they age, there are natural remedies such as pygeum that can provide relief. Its anti-inflammatory properties and high levels of phytosterols make it a promising treatment for men suffering from urinary issues due to an enlarged prostate.

While more research is needed to fully understand how it works, many clinical trials have shown that pygeum is an effective and safe option for managing the symptoms of BPH.

If you’re experiencing urinary issues related to BPH, pygeum may offer a natural way to manage your symptoms. It may very well be worth considering. And as always with any supplement, it is advisable to consult with your healthcare provider before trying it.

(NOTE: This article was originally published here on December 7, 2004. This information was updated as of August 22, 2023.)

You might also be interested in another recent article, Herbs for Men.

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