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Pygeum (Prunus africanum, Pygeum africanum)

treats Benign prostatic hypertrophy/BPH symptoms

Generic Name: Pygeum

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

African cherry, African P. africanum extract, African plum tree, African prune tree, African stinkwood, alumty, bitter almond, bitteramandel, ciruelo africano (Spanish), ferulic acid esters of fatty acids, gwabuzito (Uganda), gwane (African), gyabazito (Uganda), Harzol®, iluo, kiburraburra (Swahili), kirah, kotofihy (Madagascar), lluo, mgambo (Swahili), mkomahoya (Swahili) mkonohoyo, mseneo, muchambati, muchati, mueri, muiri, mutimailu, Natal tree, ntasesa (Uganda), ol-koijuk (Tanzania), olkonjuku (Tanzania), phytoesterols, Pigenil®, Pigeum africanum, Pronitol®, Prostatonin®, Provol®, prunier d'afrique, Pygeum africana, red stinkwood, rooistinkhout (Afrikaans), Rosaceae (family), Tadenan®, tenduet (Kenya), umDumizula (South Africa), triterpenes, umkakase (Xhosa), V1326, vla, wotangue (Bakweri).

Background

The Pygeum africanum (African plum) tree is a tall evergreen of the family Rosaceae found in central and southern Africa. Its bark has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Traditional African healers have used the bark to treat bladder and urination disorders, particularly symptoms associated with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), which is an enlarged prostate. Historically, the bark was powdered and used to make a tea, which was taken by mouth for these conditions.

The African plum tree has become endangered due to the demand for its bark to process Pygeum africanum extract.

The majority of trials conducted since the 1970s report improvements in BPH symptoms, including frequency of nighttime urination, urine flow rate, and left over urine volume, with the administration of Pygeum africanum bark extract. This research has led some credibility to the common use of this agent in Europe for BPH. The herb is less commonly used in the United States where prescription drugs or the herb saw palmetto is more commonly used.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Benign prostatic hypertrophy/BPH symptoms: Pygeum (P.africanumbark extract) has been observed to moderately improve urinary symptoms associated with enlargement of the prostate gland or prostate inflammation. Numerous human studies report that pygeum significantly reduces urinary hesitancy, urinary frequency, the number of times patients need to wake up at night to urinate, and pain with urination in men who experience mild-to-moderate symptoms. However, pygeum does not appear to reduce the size of the prostate gland or reverse the process of BPH. It is unclear how pygeum compares to the effectiveness or safety of other medical therapies, such as prescription drugs (eg. alpha-adrenergic blockers or 5-alpha reductase inhibitors), surgical approaches, or other herbs/supplements such as saw palmetto. There is ongoing study in this area. Patients with urinary symptoms or BPH should speak with their healthcare professional about the various available treatment options.
Grade: B

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

For treating benign prostatic hypertrophy, 75 to 200 milligram capsules of standardized pygeum extract taken daily by mouth either as a single dose or divided into two equal doses have been studied. One clinical human trial has shown that Pygeum africanum and stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), when used in combination, were efficient in treating benign prostatic hypertrophy and its symptoms.

Children (younger than 18 years)

There are not enough scientific data to recommend pygeum for use in children and there are potential side effects.

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