The Benefits of Pygeum

Pygeum (Pygeum africanum) is a natural remedy extracted from the bark of the African plum tree. In traditional African medicine, pygeum has long been used to treat bladder-health issues and urinary disorders.

Uses for Pygeum

In herbal medicine, pygeum is typically used in treatment of the following conditions:

  • stomach upset
  • urinary tract disorders

Pygeum is also purported to act as a natural aphrodisiac, enhance sexual performance, and protect against prostate cancer.

Benefits of Pygeum

Pygeum may moderately improve urinary symptoms associated with BPH, a condition marked by enlargement of the prostate gland. Several studies show that pygeum can significantly reduce urinary frequency (the number of times patients need to wake up at night to urinate) and pain with urination in men who suffer from mild-to-moderate BPH symptoms. However, pygeum does not appear to reverse the process of BPH.

Pygeum has not been found to be useful in the treatment or prevention of any other health condition. Although research conducted on animals and in test-tube studies suggests that pygeum may also help reduce the risk of prostate cancer, there is a general lack of scientific support for pygeum's effectiveness in prostate cancer prevention.

Caveats

Some users may experience stomach problems (such as diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, and nausea). Additionally, pygeum should be avoided by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

It's important to keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated.

In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals. Also, the safety of supplements in those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. 

Learn more about supplement safety.

Using Pygeum for Health

If you're considering the use of pygeum in the treatment or prevention of any health condition, make sure to consult your physician before starting your supplement regimen. It's especially important to talk to your doctor if you have a medical condition or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements. Self-treating and avoiding or delaying standard care can have serious consequences.

Pygeum is available as a dietary supplement and is also sometimes taken in tea form.

It should be noted that the African plum tree has become endangered due to demand for pygeum extract.

Sources:

Ishani A, MacDonald R, Nelson D, Rutks I, Wilt TJ. "Pygeum africanum for the treatment of patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia: a systematic review and quantitative meta-analysis." Am J Med. 2000 1;109(8):654-64.

National Institutes of Health. "Pygeum: MedlinePlus Supplements". August 2009.

Shenouda NS, Sakla MS, Newton LG, Besch-Williford C, Greenberg NM, MacDonald RS, Lubahn DB. "Phytosterol Pygeum africanum regulates prostate cancer in vitro and in vivo." Endocrine. 2007 31(1):72-81.

Wilt T, Ishani A, Mac Donald R, Rutks I, Stark G. "Pygeum africanum for benign prostatic hyperplasia." Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(1):CD001044.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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