What Is Pygeum?
It is a native of African Forest and is made from the bark of the prunus Africanum tree. This tree grows to a height of 45 meters approximately in height. The leaves of this tree are thick & oblong in shape along with that the size of the flowers is small and can be found as white in color. The fruit of this tree is like a berry in the color red and can sometimes look like a cherry when all ripe. For medicinal purposes, usually, the barks are used which are found to be red, brown or gray in color.
How is Pygeum used?
- Ethnobotanical and traditional uses
In Africa, the hardwood parts of Pygeum are valued. These hardwoods are usually used for making wagons. For treating urinary problems, the powdered state of the Pygeum bark is used.
- Urinary or prostate conditions-
For improving the symptoms of the benign prostatic hypertrophy, Pygeum has been in the usage for years. Along with improving the symptom of benign prostatic hypertrophy, it also helps in improving sexual function. PAE (Pygeum Africanum Extract) is now a primary treatment course for enlarged prostate in France. Furthermore, there are only surgeries available as a treatment for this in other western countries. The common drugs included in the usage for alleviating symptoms for benign prostate hypertrophy has anticholinergics, alpha blockers, muscle relaxants, tri-cyclic anti-depressant, calcium antagonists, beta- agonists, prostaglandin inhibitors, etc.
Along with everything else, it is also a therapeutics as an anti-inflammatory which can help in increasing prostatic secretions and also can help in decreasing certain hormones in the glandular areas that can help in reducing the swelling (hypertrophy).
In addition to all these actions, Pygeum can help in increasing the elasticity & also a modification of cells. The Phyto Estrogenic actions of PAE can reduce the prostate hypertrophy. A lot of trials were conducted and they showed the results which reported improved BPH symptoms.
You can easily find Pygeum as Tadenan and Pigenil. In a study in clinical trials which was conducted for benign prostatic hypertrophy, the daily dose should be around 25 to 200 mg. Furthermore; it can contain 135 to 145 of steroids triterpenes in per serving.
It is available in many different forms (remember: the maximum dose should be 200 mg per day and should not exceed). These forms are:
How safe is Pygeum?
No contraindications have been identified yet.
- Pregnancy and Nursing
Regarding the safety & efficiency during lactation as well as pregnancy, there is lack of information available online.
No interactions have been documented yet.
Side Effects of Pygeum
GI irritations were reported because of the use of Pygeum.
During the trials on human, a low amount of toxicity was demonstrated.
Pygeum is extracted from an evergreen tree which is native to the African Forest Areas. This tree is known as Prunus Africanum and can grow up to 150 feet in height. This tree has thick leaves which are oblong in shape, the flowers on this tree are small in size and white in color. The fruit of prunus Africanum resembles a cherry or red berry when all ripe. The bark of this tree can be red, brown, grey, etc and this part of prunus Africanum is used for the medicinal purposes. It has an odor of hydrocyanic acid.
History of Pygeum
In Africa, the hardwood part of this tree is valued a lot and is usually used for making wagons. Furthermore, for treating urinary problems by the African natives, the powder form of the bark is used.
Chemistry of Pygeum
The bark can be found in the colors; red, black or grey and have fat-soluble components and compounds such as 14 % of Triterpenes are present. Furthermore, it includes ursolic, catabolic, oleanolic acids, etc. In addition, the lipid fraction comprises fatty acids that are of 12 to 24 lengths in carbons. The ferulic acid esters bound to n-tetracosanol and n-docosanol. Is some patient medications, 3N docosanol is used. In Pygeum the 4 Phyto Sterols present includes beta-sitosterol, beta campesterol, and beta-sitosterol. You can also find Tannins in this tree prunus Africanum.
Pharmacology of Pygeum along with a few uses
The PAE (Pygeum Africanum Extract) is used in France as a primary course of treatment for enlarged prostate. In other western countries, surgery is the only option in contrast to PAE uses for improving the symptoms of it. The common drugs included in the usage for alleviating symptoms for benign prostate hypertrophy has anticholinergics, alpha blockers, muscle relaxants, tri-cyclic anti-depressant, calcium antagonists, beta- agonists, prostaglandin inhibitors, etc.
In the lipophilic extracts of this plant, you can find the highest rate of activity. Usually, the extracts found are standardized to comprise triterpenes in 14% and n docosanol in 0.5 %.
Moreover the above, Pygeum is also a therapeutics as an anti-inflammatory which can help in increasing prostatic secretions and also can help in decreasing certain hormones in the glandular areas that can help in reducing the swelling (hypertrophy).
In addition, Pygeum can also help in increasing the elasticity & also the modification of the cells. The Phyto Estrogenic actions of PAE can reduce the prostate hypertrophy. A lot of trials were conducted and they showed the results which reported improved BPH symptoms.
The components which are responsible for the endocrine system activity of Pygeum are Ferulic Acid Ester. Then docosanol helps in reducing LH, prolactin and testosterone levels which is essential as the accumulation of testosterone in the prostate along with the subsequent conversion to a more potent form can be a major reason for prostatic hyperplasia.
Phyto- Estrogenic action of PAE helps in reducing the prostatic hypertrophy volume while the fat-soluble components can help in reducing the content within the prostate and also can help in decreasing the collection of cholesterol metabolites.
Uses of Pygeum
Usually, Pygeum is used for improving the symptoms of benign hypertrophy and also helps in improving the sexual functions. Furthermore, the usual dose is around 100 mg per day for a 6 to 8 weeks cycle
Pygeum can be effective for the following:
- It can be effective in the case of benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH (Enlarged Prostate). Oral consumption of Pygeum can help in reducing symptoms of BPH which includes low urine flow. But consumption of Pygeum combined with Stinging nettled does not seem to improve the symptoms of BPH.
- Kidney Disease
- Sexual Performance Problems
There is lack of evidence to prove a few of the above conditions. Therefore, more evidence is required in order to rate the effectiveness of Pygeum for usage regarding these conditions.
The Animal Trial Data
When a study was conducted to see the effects of PAE in animals, the results were all positive. In animals, the positive results were for hypophyseal- genitor- adrenal axis & prostatic adenoma. In the pretreatments of the rabbit as subjects with Pygeum, it seemed to reduce the partial obstruction outlet in the dysfunction of bladders which were secondary to the BPH.
It was further reported that it also helps in the reduction of gland size. For rat prostatic fiber blast proliferation, PAE seemed to be a potent inhibitor. The PAE even showed some anti-inflammatory activities which can affect the size of the gland.
The Clinical Data for Pygeum
There are a lot of trials that can be found for Pygeum which are mainly in Europe. These trials can be seen to encourage but still requires a lot more research in the United States. A lot of trials result showed that it can help in improving the symptoms of BPH along with the reduction of the size of the gland. A lot more other parameters also occurred but are not so sure.
Symptomatic Relief from BPH was documented in the human trials by using PAE. Furthermore, the extract was successful in treating the urinary symptomatology when it was used after being combined with mepartricin in the subjects which had varied stages of the prostatic adenoma. When a study of around 74 patients was conducted along with PAE and extracts of testosterone, it was observed that it alleviates the symptoms of the obstructive bladder which was caused by BPH.
In a placebo of 60 patients, it was reported that it using PAE showed improvement in the nocturnal frequency, difficulty in urination and fullness of bladder which are caused due to BPH. It was also seen that when Pygeum capsules were given twice a day for 60 days, then out of 263 patients from 8 different locations; 66 percentile had improvement in nocturnal disorders. Furthermore, high doses of PAE were observed in 18 patients for around 60 days and were reported to improve both sexual functions and urinary symptoms. When PAE was combined with Utica diocia, the half doses were found safe along with being effective as full doses.
In a demonstration, it was demonstrated that the inflammatory cells (Macrophages) can produce chemotactic mediators which can worsen the development of BPH. In addition, in a recent study, it was reported that the mechanism is that the lipoxygenase metabolic production is antagonized by Pygeum which can help in decreasing the inflammation.
Pygeum can also help in reversing the sterility that is caused by the insufficient prostatic secretions by increasing the level of prostate secretion. This was shown in both the humans and the rats. It was also documented to improve the fluid composition of the semen. In a similar manner, it can solve these types of underlying problems and hence can help in improving the sexual functions.
Not highly but in a moderate manner, Pygeum can help in improving symptoms related to BPH which is a condition due to enlargement of the prostate gland. A lot of studies seem to show that Pygeum can help in reducing the frequency of Urine (The number of times the patients need to wake up to urinate at night) along with that the pain during urination in men who have been suffering from BPH symptoms (maybe mild or high). But still, Pygeum doesn’t seem to appear in reversing the BPH process.
As said above, Pygeum has not been found useful or effective in treatment or prevention of a lot of health conditions. Furthermore, the studies which were conducted on animals & subjects in the test tubes do suggest that it may help in reducing the risk and harm of prostate cancer though there is lack of scientific evidence to support the pygeum’s effectiveness in the prevention of prostate cancer.
Alexa Bauer has a Master’s degree in nutrition from the University of Maryland and works as a full-time researcher at Swol Headquarters. Alexa Bauer spends her spare time blogging about cardiovascular health and nutrition. She’s specialized in weight loss.