The pygeum tree (pronounced pie-jee-um) is a tall evergreen native to central and southern Africa. Its bark has been used since ancient times to treat problems with urination.
What Is Pygeum Used for Today?
Today, pygeum is primarily used as a treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
What Is the Scientific Evidence for Pygeum?
At least 17 double blind
The best of these studies was conducted at 8 sites in Europe and included 263 men between 50 and 85 years of age.
We don't really know how pygeum works. Unlike the standard drug finasteride, it does not appear to work by affecting the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone.
The usual dosage of pygeum is 50 mg twice per day (occasionally 100 mg twice daily) of an extract standardized to contain 14% triterpenes and 0.5% n-docosanol. A dose of 100 mg once daily appears to be as effective as the most common dosage of 50 mg twice daily. 13
Pygeum appears to be essentially nontoxic, both in the short and long term. 16
2. Carani C, Salvioli V, Scuteri A, et al. Urological and sexual evaluation of treatment of benign prostatic disease using Pygeum africanum at high doses [in Italian]. Arch Ital Urol Nefrol. 1991;63:341–345.
7. Bassi P, Artibani W, De Luca V, et al. Standardized extract of Pygeum africanum in the treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy. Controlled clinical study versus placebo [in Italian]. Minerva Urol Nefrol. 1987;39:45–50.
8. Barlet A, Albrecht J, Aubert A, et al. Efficacy of Pygeum africanum extract in the medical therapy of urination disorders due to benign prostatic hyperplasia: evaluation of objective and subjective parameters. A placebo-controlled double-blind multicenter study [translated from German]. Wien Klin Wochenschr. 1990;102:667–673.
9. Rhodes L, Primka RL, Berman C, et al. Comparison of finasteride (Proscar), a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, and various commercial plant extracts in in vitro and in vivo 5-alpha reductase inhibition. Prostate. 1993;22:43–51.
13. Chatelain C, Autet W, Brackman F. 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;54:473–478.
14. Hartmann RW, Mark M, Soldati F. Inhibition of 5 alpha-reductase and aromatase by PHL-00801 (Prostatonin), a combination of PY 102 (Pygeum africanum) and UR 102 (Urtica dioica) extracts. Phytomedicine. 1996;3:121–128.
15. Krzeski T, Kazon M, Borkowski A, et al. Combined extracts of Urtica dioica and Pygeum africanum in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: double-blind comparison of two doses. Clin Ther. 1993;15:1011–1020.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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