Pygeum Africanum extract benefit for prostate gland, side effects, research studies, herbal remedy by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
March 26, 2014

Pygeum africanum is a large evergreen tree found in central and southern Africa. The extracts from the bark contain several compounds thought to be helpful in prostate health and have been used for more than 40 years in France, Germany, and Austria for patients suffering with prostate enlargement. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a nonmalignant enlargement of the prostate that occurs in most men over 60, can lead to urinary frequency and nocturia (waking up at night to go to the bathroom). Frequent interruption of sleep leads to daytime tiredness. The pharmacologic use of plants and herbs for the treatment of BPH has been growing steadily and a well-known herb used for this purpose is saw palmetto. The extract of the African prune tree, pygeum africanum, is one of several herbal agents used by many men who have BPH.

What's in Pygeum africanum bark?
The extracts include beta-sitosterol, other plant estrogens, triterpenes, and certain compounds known as ferulic acids.

buy Pygeum herb, Nature's Way
Nature's Way Pygeum africanum extract is a specialized formula designed to promote prostate health. This unique combination contains a leading European Pygeum extract combined with synergistic nutrients in a base of Pumpkin seed oil.

Supplement Facts:
Pygeum africanum dried extract
Vitamin B6
Zinc (as Zinc citrate)
Selenium
Copper (as Copper citrate)
Lecithin

 

Pygeum dosage
The recommended dose is 50 to 150 mg daily.
One study shows that the dosing frequency is not crucial. Pygeum africanum extract at 50 mg twice daily and 100 mg once daily proved equally effective and safe. It appears that it remains effective with long term use.

Buy Pygeum africanum bark extract or Prostate Power Rx
Prostate Power Rx with Saw Palmetto, Pygeum, Stinging Nettle, Quercetin, is carefully formulated with important herbs and nutrients to provide optimal prostate health:

Saw palmetto extract standardized to contain 45% fatty acids - serenoa repens fruit
Stinging Nettle 4:1 extract (urtica diocia root)
Quercetin (one study shows the combination of quercetin and finasteride works very well)
Rosemary 4:1 extract (Rosemarinus officinales leaf)
Beta Sitosterol extract
Pygeum Africanum 4:1 bark extract
Daidzein (standardized to contain 40% isoflavones)
  
(treatment with the isoflavones daidzein and genistein, the estrogen-like compounds found in soy, block prostate growth in rats)
Genistein (standardized to contain 40% isoflavones)
Lycopene


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Availability online and in vitamin stores
Pygeum is sold by herbal suppliers either as powder of as an extract. As an extract, it is available in various potencies including 15 percent sitosterols.

Anti-cancer potential
Asian J Androl. 2012. Biological effect of human serum collected before and after oral intake of Pygeum africanum on various benign prostate cell cultures. Nuffield Department of Surgical Science, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. Because there are conflicting results on the efficacy of this plant, we aimed to investigate its effect on prostate cell growth in vitro using human serum collected before and after Pygeum africanum intake. We used primary and organotypic cultures of human prostatic stromal myofibroblast cell line WPMY and prostatic epithelial cell line PNT2. We also used fresh benign prostatic tissue. The serum of a treated man induced decreases in the proliferation of primary cells, organotypic cells and WPMY cells but not PNT2 cells. We also analysed the effect of treated serum on the gene expression profile of WPMY cells. The transcriptome analysis revealed an upregulation of genes involved in multiple tumour suppression pathways and a downregulation of genes involved in inflammation and oxidative-stress pathways. The oral intake of Pygeum africanum resulted in serum levels of active substances that were sufficient to inhibit the proliferation of cultured myofibroblasts prostatic cells. This inhibition was associated with changes in the transcriptome.

Antimitogenic effect of Pygeum africanum extracts on human prostatic cancer cell lines and explants from benign prostatic hyperplasia
Arch Esp Urol. 2003.
Prostate cancer cell lines and benign prostatic hyperplasia derived epithelial cells were cultured and treated with Pygeum africanum extracts. The incubation with Pygeum africanum extracts, with or without addition of amino acids, significantly and in a dose-dependent manner inhibits the proliferation of prostate cancer derived cells. Pygeum africanum extracts counteracted the mitogenic action of EGF and blockrd the transition from G1 to S in the cell cycle. They are also exerted a potent antimitogenic action on the epithelial cells derived from benign prostatic hyperplasia explants. The ethanolic Pygeum africanum extracts have an antimitogenic effect on prostate cancer cells and benign prostatic hyperplasia epithelial cells. Such effect is associated with the inhibition of the mitogenic action of pygeum, and it is accompanied by a decrease of cells entering the S Phase of the cell cycle.

BPH help, prostate enlargement
To investigate whether extracts of pygeum are more effective than placebo in the treatment of BPH, statisticians at the Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes in Minneapolis, Minnesota searched all published studies from 1966 to 2000. A total of 18 randomized controlled trials involving 1562 men were analyzed. Compared to men receiving placebo, men using pygeum were more than twice as likely to report an improvement in symptoms. Nocturia was reduced 20 percent. Adverse effects due to pygeum were mild and comparable to placebo. The statisticians conclude that it may be a useful treatment option for men with lower urinary symptoms due to BPH.
   Comments: Men with benign prostate enlargement who have not benefited by saw palmetto alone may consider discussing with their health care professional regarding the addition of pygeum.

Complement Ther Med. 2013. A phase II randomised double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial investigating the efficacy and safety of ProstateEZE Max: a herbal medicine preparation for the management of symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy. The aim of the clinical trial was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of ProstateEZE Max, an orally dosed herbal preparation containing Cucurbita pepo, Epilobium parviflorum, lycopene, Pygeum africanum and Serenoa repens in the management of symptoms of medically diagnosed benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH). The herbal preparation (ProstateEZE Max) was shown to be well tolerated and have a significant positive effect on physical symptoms of BPH when taken over 3 months, a clinically significant outcome in otherwise healthy men.

Pygeum africanum for benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Wilt T, Ishani A, Mac Donald R, Rutks I, Stark G. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2002.
Reviewer's Conclusion: A standardized preparation of Pygeum africanum may be a useful treatment option for men with lower urinary symptoms consistent with benign prostatic hyperplasia. However, the reviewed studies were small in size, were of short duration, used varied doses and preparations and rarely reported outcomes using standardized validated measures of efficacy. Additional placebo-controlled trials are needed as well as studies that compare Pygeum africanum to active controls that have been convincingly demonstrated to have beneficial effects on lower urinary tract symptoms related to BPH. These trials should be of sufficient size and duration to detect important differences in clinically relevant endpoints and use standardized urologic symptom scale scores.

How does it work?
Results suggest that PA is antiproliferative and apoptotic on proliferative prostate fibroblasts and myofibroblasts but not on smooth muscle cells. Mechanisms of action include TGFB1 downregulation and inhibition of FGF2 specific signaling.

Asian J Androl. 2012. Biological effect of human serum collected before and after oral intake of Pygeum africanum on various benign prostate cell cultures. We aimed to investigate its effect on prostate cell growth in vitro using human serum collected before and after Pygeum africanum intake. We used primary and organotypic cultures of human prostatic stromal myofibroblast cell line WPMY and prostatic epithelial cell line PNT2. We also used fresh benign prostatic tissue. The serum of a treated man induced decreases in the proliferation of primary cells, organotypic cells and WPMY cells but not PNT2 cells. We also analysed the effect of treated serum on the gene expression profile of WPMY cells. The transcriptome analysis revealed an upregulation of genes involved in multiple tumour suppression pathways and a downregulation of genes involved in inflammation and oxidative-stress pathways. The oral intake resulted in serum levels of active substances that were sufficient to inhibit the proliferation of cultured myofibroblasts prostatic cells. This inhibition was associated with changes in the transcriptome.

Pygeum Review and Research
Low-dose Pygeum protects the rabbit bladder from bilateral ischemia/ reperfusion-induced contractile dysfunction.
Phytomedicine. 2005.
Recent studies indicate that focal ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) can cause the contractile dysfunctions induced in animal models of partial bladder outlet obstruction. Pygeum africanum pretreatment can prevent the rabbit bladder from developing the contractile and biochemical dysfunctions induced by partial outlet obstruction, possibly by protecting the bladder from ischemic injury. The current study was designed to determine whether pre-treating rabbits with a clinically relevant dose of Pygeum could prevent the bladder from developing the contractile dysfunctions that are induced by bilateral ischemia followed by reperfusion. New Zealand White rabbits were separated into two groups. One group was pre-treated by oral gavage for 3 weeks with Pygeum (3.0 mg/kg body wt./ day). The second group was treated with vehicle (peanut oil). Five rabbits from each group were subjected to either bilateral ischemia for 1 or 3 h and than reperfused for either 1 h or 1 week. Five rabbits from each group were subjected to sham surgery and run with each of the experimental groups. The results of the current study show that Pygeum pretreatment protected the bladder from the contractile dysfunctions induced by bilateral ischemia followed by reperfusion. These data are consistent with the assertion that Pygeum therapy in both rabbits and humans acts by protecting the bladder smooth muscle against cellular damage caused by ischemia and reperfusion.

Pygeum africanum for the treatment of patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia: a systematic review and quantitative meta-analysis.
Am J Med. 2000.
To conduct a systematic review and quantitative meta-analysis of the therapeutic efficacy and tolerability of Pygeum africanum in men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. Studies were identified through the search of Medline (1966 to 2000), Embase, Phytodok, the Cochrane Library, bibliographies of identified trials and review articles, and contact with relevant authors and drug companies. Randomized trials were included if participants had symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia, the intervention was a preparation of Pygeum africanum alone or in combination with other phytotherapeutic agents, a control group received placebo or other pharmacologic therapies for benign prostatic hyperplasia, and treatment duration was at least 30 days. Compared with placebo in 6 studies, pygeum provided a moderately large improvement in the combined outcome of urologic symptoms and flow measures. Summary estimates of individual outcomes were also improved by Pygeum africanum. Men were more than twice as likely to report an improvement in overall symptoms. Nocturia was reduced by 19% and residual urine volume by 24%; peak urine flow was increased by 23%. Adverse effects were mild and similar to placebo. The overall dropout rate was 12% and was similar for Pygeum africanum, placebo, and other controls. The literature on Pygeum africanum for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia is limited by the short duration of studies and the variability in study design, the use of phytotherapeutic preparations, and the types of reported outcomes. However, the evidence suggests that Pygeum africanum modestly, but significantly, improves urologic symptoms and flow measures.

Comparison of once and twice daily dosage forms of Pygeum africanum extract in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia: a randomized, double-blind study, with long-term open label extension.
Urology. 1999.
To compare the efficacy and safety of Pygeum africanum extract, 50 mg twice daily and 100 mg once daily. Patients with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) entered a 2-month randomized, parallel-group, double-blind, comparative phase (group A, 50 mg pygeum twice daily; group B, 100 mg pygeum once daily), followed by a 10-month, open phase (100 mg once daily). Pygeum africanum extract at 50 mg twice daily and 100 mg once daily proved equally effective and safe at 2 months. Further improvements in efficacy with a satisfactory safety profile were documented after 12 months.

In animal models pygeum modulates bladder contractility, has anti-inflammatory activity, decreases leukotriene and 5-lipoxygenase metabolites, inhibits fibroblast production, affects adrenal nadrogens, and restores secretory activity of prostate epithelium. Pygeum modestly improves urologic symptoms and flow measures in BPH.

Emails
I saw your recommendation for Pygeum extract with pumpkin seed oil and other ingredients. I would like to know if there will be any side effect which is harmful for heart diseased patients and medicines like warfarin. If Standard pygeum with pumpkin seed oil etc is free from any side effect then I would definitely be interested to buy it. Saw palmetto berry has adverse effect for patients taking warfarin that I know.
    As of 214, I have not seen any studies regarding the combination of pygeum and warfarin Coumadin medication. nor have I seen studies that confirm the use of saw palmetto interferes with the use of Coumadin.

Just purchased saw palmetto standardized capsules direct from grower in Florida, 95% to 98% extract strength, am also interested in pygeum africanum, cannot find anything specifically contraindicative on web as to taking both products together for prostate issues ... any help here? ... I understand it is good to take each for a few weeks separately to gauge potential side effects ... any input as to efficacy of taking both together? ... double the pop, so to speak?
   Although these two herbs are often combined together in prostate formulas, we cannot make specific suggestions to any individual that it would be safe for them.