Herb - Pygeum | Pygeum africanum

Pygeum

Pygeum africanum Rosaceae


Found across the entire continent of African , pygelln is a tall evergreen that thrives at altitudes of 100m or more. The trunk can grow as wide as 1m in diameter and the leaves are thick and leathery.


Parts used

  • Bark
  • Pygeum bark yields an extract that can be turned into tablets.
  • It is also used to make infusions.

Constituents

The active constituents of pygeum bark include phytosterols such as betasitosterol that have an antiInflammatory effect on the prostate. The pentacyclic triterpenes have decongesting properties, and substances called linear alcohols that reduce prolactin levels and block the accumulation of certain steroids in the prostate.


Medicinal uses

In the 18th century, African tribespeople showed European explorers how to treat 'old man's disease' with a tea made from powdered pygeum bark. Since then, numerous experiments have been conducted using pygeum bark extract, all of which confirm it as an effective remedy for prostate problems.


Today, pygeum is the most widely used medicine in France for treating benign prostatic enlargement - a condition that affects up to half of all men between 40 and 60, and whose symptoms can include difficulty urinating.


Recent pharmacological studies have shown that pygeum can be used to treat water retention and inflammatory swellings, increase the elasticity of the bladder, stimulate secretions from the prostate gland and modify its cells.


Studies performed in 1985 showed that pygeum's phytosterols exerted anti-inflammatory effects and reduced swelling: in particular, the constituents betasitosterol and pentacyclic triterpenoid acids are thought to be the active agents.
In 1998 clinical trials conducted at three Central European laboratories demonstrated that the plant helps in cases of excessive urination at night and reduces other symptoms resulting from an enlarged prostate.


The advantage of pygeum over other treatments for prostate problems is that it does not stimulate production of the female hormone oestrogen - which interferes with male sexual function. Taken as a preventive measure, pygeum inhibits the formation of cysts and protects the testicles and seminal sacs.


Cultivation

More suited to equatorial climates. pygeum is not a tree that could be easily cultivated in Britain.


CAUTIONS

  • Do not give to children.
  • Do not take if pregnant.
  • Do not take if suffering from high blood pressure.
  • Some individuals have reported nausea. constipation and diarrhoea.
  • Do not self-prescribe for prostate problems - seek professional advice.

PREPARATION AND DOSAGE

Pygeum preparations should only be taken as prescribed by a medical herbalist.



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