Herb: PYGEUM BARK (Pygeum africanum)
Parts used: the bark (22)
Harvesting: Pygeum forests occur primarily in Cameroon and Madagascar. The trees are slow growing; those now being harvested for their bark are twenty to thirty years old or older. Although the bark can be harvested without destroying the trees, not enough trees exist today to provide for expected future needs. (1)
Actions: specific in prostate and genito-urinary conditions (22)
Conditions and Uses:
Pygeum–an extract of the bark of the African tree Pygeum africanum has been shown to be effective in treating a number of prostate disorders. Although slightly less effective than saw palmetto in relieving symptomes of BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia),
pygeum extract has proved more effective in treating prostatis (inflammation of the prostate) and may improve sexual performance in men with prostate disease, according to a 1991 Italian study. Because of their similar and complementary actions, pygeum and saw palmetto are often used in combination. (1)
Pygeum is a large evergreen that grows in the high plateaus of southern Africa. Traditionally the bark of the tree has been used as a tea for genito-urinary complaints. Numerous clinical studies have recently shown the usefulness of Pygeum bark in the treatment of most prostate and urinary conditions. This includes a reduction in prostate size as well as the clearance of bladder neck urethral obstruction. Also used for incontinence, urine retention, polyuria or frequest urination, dysuria and cancer of the prostate. (22)
(Pygeum) may stimulate testosterone production for the trestment of infertility….
The testes and seminal vesicles also need to be in top health to produce and house sperm. One herb that protects them from damage is pygeum, which is discussed (pg 195)
as a testosterone stimulator….
(For prostate enlargement)–Another medicinal plant that’s effective for treatment of this condition is pygeum. In France, this herb is found in over 75% of all doctors’ prescriptions for enlarged prostate. Doctors there report that the herb reduces symptoms in at least half the men who try it, and it does so in less than six weeks. Pygeum, which has been under scientific investigation since the 1960s, has been used to treat thousands of men. Researchers say that it seems as effective as the pharmaceutical drugs commonly suggested for enlarged prostate. They even recommend it as a suitable replacement for such drugs.
Usually, pygeum causes swelling and uncontrollable urination to disappear fairly soon, and there are almost never side effects. Only a rare case of upset digestion has been reported. In one study on pygeum involving dozens of men who took the herb for two months, the herb improved all their symptoms, including difficult urination, uncontrollable urination at night and problems with residual urine. It also decreased the size of the prostate.
Pygeum helps all but the most serious cases. Many researchers who have conducted studies of this herb suggest that pygeum is most effective when used at the first signs of prostate problems. Even the men who do opt for surgery find that they have fewer related problems and that their circulation improves when they take pygeum afterward. It appears that this herb decreases prolactin production and also reduces the detrimental effects of testosterone. Pygeum is currently available only as a tincture or in pill form, and is often combined with saw palmetto….
Studies conducted by the American Urological Association have shown that it is common for cholesterol to build up in enlarged prostates, often to a level 80% higher than normal. So a second front in the war against prostate inflammation begins with the fight against cholesterol. GLA (gamma linoleic acid) and pygeum specifically reduce the accumulation of cholesterol in the prostate. See chapter 4 for ways to use these and other cholesterol-fighting herbs. (29)
Combinations: Because of their similar and complementary actions, pygeum and saw palmetto are often used in combination. (1) Pygeum is currently available only as a tincture or in pill form, and is often combined with saw palmetto…in another study, men given both pygeum and nettle root had their prostate problems eliminated. (29)
Dosage: 10-30 drops (of the tincture) 2–3 times daily for several months. (22) two 100- or 200- milligram capsules a day. (29)
(1) Joniris Herbals Research Data (“Herbs For Health,” March 1996, pgs. 26-28
(22) Herbs and Herbal Formulas (booklet) by Mark Hershiser, pg. 15
(29) Herbs for Health and Healing by Kathi Keville, pgs. 195-196, 200-202