Pygeum is also known as African Pygeum. It is a large evergreen
tree that grows in the high plateaus of southern Africa.
The pygeum bark is traditionally powdered and drunk as a tea for genito-urinary supports.
Double-blind clinical trials have shown efficacy for many parameters of prostatic health.
Results included support of normal prostate size, and clearance of bladder neck urethra
The pygeum bark contains three groups of active constituents: phytosterols (including
beta-sitosterol), pentacyclic triterpenoids (including ursolic and oleaic acids) and
ferulic esters of long-chain fatty alcohols (including ferulic esters of docosanol and
More than half of all men over sixty have enlarged prostates, known as benign
prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Advanced cases can cause bladder infections, kidney
damage, or sexual disability. Standard treatments include expensive surgical procedures
that can result in bleeding, bladder damage, and impotence, and drugs that cause
dizziness, fatigue, fainting, and impotence. The European medical community uses Pygeum
africanum, a safe, natural remedy for BPH that is largely unknown in the United
States. The treatment is effective in more than half of all patients. The tribes of Natal
have long used pygeum's brown bark as a cure for bladder pains and urinary difficulty.
Studies indicate that pygeum reduces the symptoms of BPH, postponing the need for more
powerful drugs or surgery. However, most American urologists are unaware pygeum even
exists. Others assert that the reports of pygeum's success are not supported by
well-controlled scientific studies. However, when one of them, Charles E. Shapiro of the
University of Southern California, was asked to review some of the European studies, he
acknowledged that pygeum appears to work effectively, without side effects. The Agency for
Health Care Policy and Research is seeking to issue new BPH treatment guidelines because
of the rising cost and mixed results of established treatments. Transurethral dilation of
the prostate has fallen out of favor as a surgical treatment, to be replaced by
transurethral resection of the prostate. This procedure may result in incontinence and
possibly increased risk of heart disease. In contrast, there are no known serious side
effects of pygeum, and it is inexpensive.