Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), more commonly known as an enlarged prostate, affects millions of American men. It’s estimated that approximately 50 percent of men between 51-60 have BPH, and as men get older, the numbers rise, with an estimated 90 percent of men older than 80 living with BPH.
Because of the location of the prostate gland, when it becomes enlarged, it can interfere with a man’s ability to urinate properly. It constricts the urethra and puts pressure on the bladder, leading to complications like urgency, leakage, the inability to urinate, and a weak urine stream (known as “dribbling”).
Over time, BPH can lead to incontinence, damage to the bladder and kidneys, urinary tract infections, and bladder stones. It’s these complications and symptoms that send men looking for treatment. If the prostate didn’t press upon the urethra and bladder, BPH wouldn’t require treatment at all.
You may be able to manage symptoms of BPH with home remedies and natural treatments, such as green tea. Keep reading to learn more about the connection between green tea and BPH, plus other teas that may help manage your symptoms.
Green tea has been deemed a “superfood.” Loaded with nutritional value, it’s constantly being studied for its potential health benefits. Some of the health benefits include:
- cardiovascular protection
- protection against certain types of cancer
- cholesterol management
- lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease
- lower chance of getting Parkinson’s disease
It may also have positive effects on your prostate gland. Its association with prostate health, however, is largely due to research that connects it to protection against prostate cancer, not prostate enlargement. Despite BPH often being talked about in conjunction with prostate cancer, the Prostate Cancer Foundation says that the two are unrelated, and BPH doesn’t increase (or decrease) a man’s risk of prostate cancer. So, does green tea have potential benefits for people living with BPH?
One study did link improved lower urological health with general tea consumption. Men involved in the small study had known or suspected BPH. The study found that men who supplemented with a 500-mg green and black tea blend showed improved urine flow, decreased inflammation, and improvements in quality of life in as little as 6 weeks.
Despite the lack of overwhelming evidence, adding green tea to your diet could have prostate health benefits. It also has known chemoprotective properties in the case of prostate cancer, so green tea is a good choice regardless.
If green tea isn’t your cup of tea, there are other options. Reducing your caffeine intake is recommended if you have BPH, since it can cause you to urinate more. You may want to choose teas that are naturally caffeine free, or find a caffeine-free version.
Watermelon seed tea
Watermelon seed tea is said to detox the system, improve bladder problems, and cleanse the kidneys. A small study on rats saw an improvement in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels and BPH symptoms after introducing watermelon seed extract. Watermelon seeds may have a similar benefit for men.
Follow these steps to make watermelon seed tea:
- Grind or crush 4 tbsp. of fresh watermelon seeds.
- Boil the seeds in 64 oz. of water for 10 minutes.
- Allow to cool and refrigerate.
- Drink the tea within a few days.
Matcha tea is the highest grade of green tea and comes in powdered form. Keep in mind that it contains a lot of caffeine. Choose a high-quality powder to make tea. You can also use culinary-grade tea for food. The tea is available online or at Japanese grocery stores.
Here are some basic directions for making matcha tea:
- Put 2 tsp. of matcha powder into a deep bowl.
- Sift it into a bowl using a small sifter.
- Pour 1/2 cup of hot water into the bowl and whisk until the tea is frothy.
- Pour the rest of the hot water into the bowl and stir.
- Traditionally, the tea is served with a tiny sweet.
Nettle root tea
Stinging nettle root tea may be a natural remedy to treat prostate disorders. A 2015 study on adult male rats found that nettle root extract was able to prevent some of the effects of BPH when taken for six weeks.
You can find nettle root tea loose or in teabags, or you can use the fresh plant if it’s available. You may also take it in tincture or capsule form.
Side effects may include rash, fluid retention, and an upset stomach. Do not take nettle root tea if you have diabetes, low blood pressure, or kidney problems.
You should also avoid taking nettle root with:
- diabetes medications
- blood pressure medications
- warfarin (Coumadin)
Pygeum is a tree whose bark is thought to improve urinary function and is sometimes used as an alternative treatment for BPH. You use the bark of the tree, which is also available in powdered form, to make an infusion.
Steep the bark in a cup of water for at least 10 minutes. The powder can be steeped for about five minutes. Drink the tea 3-4 times per day. You may also buy pygeum in capsule form.
The tea may cause abdominal discomfort.
Hibiscus tea contains no caffeine and may boost overall health. It’s been found to have positive effects on blood pressure and lipid levels, and may have anticancer properties as well. It may also have a positive effect on your prostate, though studies on the prostate have looked at prostate cancer, not BPH.
Its tart and tangy flavor makes it easy to drink. You can use dried or fresh hibiscus flowers to make the tea. Serve it hot or chilled with honey and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
Hibiscus can affect blood sugar levels and blood pressure, and it can interact with acetaminophen (Tylenol). Do not take within two weeks of a scheduled surgery.
When an enlarged prostate starts to impact a man’s quality of life, he’ll likely turn to his physician for relief. There are numerous drugs on the market to treat BPH. The Prostate Cancer Foundation suggests that most men over the age of 60 are either on or considering a medication for BPH.
Surgery is also an option. Surgery for BPH is intended to remove the enlarged tissue pressing against the urethra. This surgery is possible with the use of a laser, entrance through the penis, or with an external incision.
Far less invasive are lifestyle changes that may assist in managing an enlarged prostate. Things like avoiding alcohol and coffee, avoiding certain medications that can worsen symptoms, and practicing Kegel exercises may relieve the symptoms of BPH.
If you don’t want to drink cup after cup of green tea, there are other ways to include it in your diet. The possibilities are endless once you start to think outside the cup.
- Use green tea as the liquid for a fruit smoothie.
- Add matcha powder to salad dressing, cookie dough, or frosting, or stir it into yogurt and top with fruit.
- Add brewed green tea leaves to a stir-fry dish.
- Mix matcha powder with sea salt and other seasonings to sprinkle over savory dishes.
- Use green tea as your liquid base for oatmeal.