2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Pygeum Africanum

What Is It?

In traditional African medicine, a tea made from the powdered bark of a tall evergreen tree (Pygeum africanum)is sipped to control urinary disorders in men. Today, pygeum is a popular herbal supplement in several parts of the world for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), an enlargement of the prostate gland that can cause urination problems. This harmless condition affects most men over age 50, commonly causing urinary problems.

Pygeum has been approved for treating mild to moderate BPH in Europe since the early 1970s. The bark appears to work by reducing inflammation, promoting urination, and ridding the prostate of cholesterol deposits that can occur with BPH. Symptoms of prostate problems may ease as a result. Pygeum’s use in treating impotence and male infertility has also been explored.

In Western countries pygeum is typically taken in tablet or tincture form. Look for an extract of the plant standardized to contain 13% (total) sterols. Pygeum is commonly sold in combination with other herbs believed to benefit the prostate, such as saw palmetto and nettle.

General Interaction

There are no known drug or nutrient interactions associated with pygeum.

Cautions

• Prostate conditions are often benign but should be examined by a doctor to rule out other complications, so don’t start self-treating yourself with pygeum or any other herbal medication without first consulting a professional. Signs of a prostate condition include trouble urinating and awakening numerous times at night to urinate.

• In rare cases, stomach upset and nausea can occur when taking pygeum.

Ailments-Dosage

Impotence 50-100 mg twice a day between meals or 1/2 tsp. liquid extract twice a day
Prostate Problems 50-100 mg twice a day or 30-45 drops liquid extract twice a day)

Doctor Recommendations
David Edelberg, M.D.

If saw palmetto is the king of herbal prostate therapies, pygeum, an extract from the bark of the stately African evergreen tree (Pygeum africanum), is the queen. Like saw palmetto, it’s immensely popular in Europe for bringing annoying symptoms such as urinary urgency and nighttime awakenings under control. It’s impossible to estimate how many African men sip traditional pygeum tea to ease urinary discomforts, but the numbers are probably impressive. Some sources now refer to Pygeum africanum as Prunus africana, or African plum tree. There is some concern that increased global demand will deplete the supplies of this tree bark. Sustainable harvesting methods need to be developed.

HOW IT HELPS PROSTATE PROBLEMS

Just how pygeum works its magic is not entirely clear. It probably reduces inflammation in the prostate gland, promoting urination and clearing out any cholesterol deposits in the area. All studies indicate that this herb works differently than saw palmetto, so the cumulative effect of using both may be to your advantage. Clinical trials have found that men tolerate pygeum treatment well and that it’s most effective in cases of mild to moderate prostate enlargement.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

According to studies, you’ll need at least 100 mg of standardized pygeum africanum extract a day; some trials used as much as 200 mg a day. Although pygeum is far from cheap, it’s certainly less pricey than prescription prostate drugs.

Forms

Although Pygeum is typically sipped in tea form across Africa, but in Western countries it’s commonly taken in the following forms: Capsules or tablets should contain a standardized lipophilic extract of the bark. Divide the daily dose, taking the first in the morning and the second at night. Combination products that include pygeum along with other prostate-healthy herbs, particularly saw palmetto, are relatively easy to find. My only reservation about such combinations is that the quantity of each herb might be skimpy. Remember that your goal is to match the dose used in the promising studies.

Standardization

Always buy pygeum products in extract form. Look for a bark (lipophilic) extract standardized to contain 14% triterpenes and 0.5% n-docosanol.

OTHER SUGGESTIONS

Take pygeum in cycles of six to eight weeks, giving your body a break of several weeks in between. Important Note Most prostate conditions are benign, but you should always get a urinary problem checked out by a doctor to rule out other complications. Do this before self-treating yourself with pygeum. Keep in mind that it’s important to keep taking any prostate medications your doctor has prescribed.


Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

Upcoming Workshops


**Winter Solstice Celebration: An evening of Acupuncture and Shamanic Healing
Tuesday, December 17, 5:45–7:30pm
Hosted by Katie Oberlin, HTCP and Mari Stecker, LAc

Course Fee: $75.00

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to enter the stillpoint of the Winter Solstice, reflect on the lessons of 2019, and set intentions for the new year. This will be an evening of individual and group healing, ceremony, and celebration. More →

Recent Health Tips

  • Infertility Issues? Start With The Guy

    I’ve lost track of the number of couples we treat at WholeHealth Chicago who are involved in one of the hormone injection/surgical procedure stops on the conveyor belt of infertility centers. Currently, it’s estimated that 15 to 20 percent of couples are struggling with infertility, half of them due to male factors. The infertility docs are nice enough and certainly well-meaning, but I note a Read More

  • Issues with Endocrinologists: Thyroid Approaches and Big Pharma

    My beefs with endocrinologists pretty much center on how they manage thyroid gland concerns, though they rarely win prizes for managing adrenal issues either. I don’t know any endocrinologists personally and rarely refer my patients to them. Occasionally, a patient with newly diagnosed hypothyroidism (low thyroid) will want to confirm the diagnosis with an endocrinologist. I suggest she prepare for a scolding if she’s taking Read More

  • Six Beefs With Rheumatologists

    If you find yourself in the waiting room of a rheumatologist, you’re likely there because your joints hurt and have been hurting, often for years. You’ve been getting by on aspirin or Advil for the pain, but with things worsening your primary care doctor suggests you should see a joint specialist, a rheumatologist. And because there’s a shortage of physicians in this specialty, your appointment Read More

Join our Discount Program!

Member benefits include 10% off all your purchases. Low, one-time membership fee of $25 ($35 for family).

MORE INFORMATION