A few prostate herbs are commonly used for prostate health and they are Saw Palmetto Berry (Serenoa Repens),
Pygeum (Prunus africanum, Pygeum africanum), Nettle (Urtica dioica) and Pumpkin [Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita
maxima]. In this section, we shall discuss their origin, historial use and research findings one-by-one.

Prostate herbs - Saw Palmetto Berry (Serenoa Repens)
Saw Palmetto or Sabal is a native of the southease United States. The berries of the plant are used medicinally.
Historically, saw palmetto tea was commonly used for various urinary tract ailments in men. Some believed the berry
increased sperm production and sex drive in men.

Its liposterolic (fat-soluble) extract provides concentrated amounts of free fatty acid and sterols. One study with a saw
palmetto extract suggests that it reduces the amount of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) binding in the part of the prostate
surrounding the urethra[1]. In vitro studies also suggest that saw palmetto weakly inhibits the action of
5-alpha-reductase, the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone to DHT[2]. Saw palmetto also inhibits the
actions of growth factors and inflammatory substances that may contribute to benign prostatic hyperplasia. Contrary
to some opinions, saw palmetto does not have an estrogen-like effect in men's bodies.

Over the last decade, clinical trials have shown that 320 mg a day of the liposterolic extract of saw palmetto berries is
a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia. A recent review of studies, published
in the Journal of the American Medical Association, concluded that saw palmetto extract was as effective as finasteride
(Proscar) in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia [3].

A three-year study in Germany found that taking 160 mg of saw palmetto extract twice a day reduced nightime
urination in 73% of patients and improved urinary flow rates significantly[4]. in a double-blind study, 160 mg of saw
palmetto extract taken twice daily was found to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia as effectively as finasteride
(Proscar) without side effects, such as loss of libido[5]. Saw palmetto extract has also been used together with a nettle
root extract to successfully treat BPH[6].

Prostate herbs - Pygeum (Prunus africanum, Pygeum africanum)
Pygeum is an evergreen tree found in Africa. Its bark is often used medicinally. Pygeum has been used in connection
with benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostatitis. Its bark was traditionally used as a tea for relief of urinary disorders
in African herbal medicine. Later on, European scientists investigated its active constituents and developed the
modern lipophilic (fat-soluble) extract used today.

Pygeum's active ingredients include phytosterols, pentacyclic terpenes and ferulic esters. Its phystosterols including
beta-sitosterol have anti-inflammatory effects by interfering with the formation of prostaglandins that tend to
accumulate in the prostate with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Its pentacyclic terpenes have an anti-edema
effect while its ferulic esters indirectly control testosterone activity in the prostate, which may reduce the risk of benign
prostatic hyperplasia H[2,3]. Pygeum alone has been shown in some bio-studies to help men with BHA by improving
urinary flow and other symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia. While, it also combined with nettle root to treat
benign prostatic hyperplasia.

The accepted form of pygeum used in Europe to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia is a lipophilic extract standardized
to 13% total sterols [5]. Men with mild to moderate benign prostatic hyperplasia sometimes take 50-100 mg twice a

Nettle (Urtica dioica)
Nettle, a leafy plant, grows in most temperate regions. The Latin root of Urtica is uro which means "I burn". This
implies small stings caused by the little hairs on the leaves of this plant burn when contact is made with the skin. Its
root and leaves are used in herbal medicine.

People have made a good use of nettle. Its tough fibers from the stem have been used to make cloth and its leaves
were eaten as vegetables. Traditionally, it has been used in treating coughs, tuberculosis, arthritis and in stimulating
hair growth.

It contains lectins and certain types of complex sugars. People believe that these are its active ingredients. In vitro
studies demonstrate that its leaf has anti-inflammatory actions, in which preventing prostaglandin formation[1]. Nettle's
root helps BPH by affecting hormones and proteins that carry sex hormones in the body[2]. It was also found that its
freeze-dried leaves reduced sneezing and itching in people with hay fever[3].

During the allergy season, two to three 300 mg nettle leaf capsules or tablets can be taken three times a day. For
benign prostatic hyperplasia, 120 mg of a concentrated root extract has been taken twice a day traditionally [4].

Pumpkin [Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima]
Pumpkins are native to North and Central America. Native Americans used pumpkin flesh/seeds for food, seeds to
treat intestinal infections and various kidney problems and flowers to soothe minor injuries.

Its active ingredients include essential fatty acids, amino acids, phytosterols (including beta-sitosterol), minerals and

Pumpkin seed oil is always combined with saw palmetto to reduce symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia [1,2]. It
alone has also been used to reduce benign prostatic hyperplasia's symptoms[3,4]. Curcurbitin in pumpkin seeds has
shown anti-parasitic activity in vi-vitro[5]. Chinese scientists used pumpkin seeds to treat acute schistosomiasis and
tapeworm infestations[6-8]. L-tryptophan in pumpkin seeds are suggested to help remedy depression[9]. In Thailand,
people use pumpkin seeds to prevent kidney stone[10-11]. Pumpkin seeds appear to slow down the stone formation
in the urine.

Pumpkin seed oil extracts standardized for fatty acid content have been used in benign prostatic hyperplasia studies.
Men suffered from benign prostatic hyperplasia usually take 160 mg three times a day with meal [12].
Prostate herbs, prostate herbal remedies and prostate health supplements
benign prostatic hyperplasia 2011
Saw Plametto 1. Di Silverio et al. Effects of long-term treatment with Serenoa repens on the concentrations and regional distribution of
androgens and epidermal growth factor in benign prostatic hyperplasia. Prostate 1998;37:77-83. 2. Strauch et al. Comparison of
finasteride and Serenoa repens in the inhibition of 5-alpha reductase in healthy male volunteers. Eur Urol 1994;26:247-52. 3. Wilt et al.
Saw palmetto extracts for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. JAMA 1998;280:160-9. 4. Bach et al. Long-term drug treatment of
benign prostatic hyperplasia-results of a prospective 3-year multicenter study using Sabal extract IDS 89. Phytomedicine
1996;3:105-11. 5. Carraro et al. Comparison of phytotherapy with finasteride in the treatment of benign prostate hyperplasia: A
randomized international study of 1,098 patients. Prostate 1996;29:231-40. 6. Metzker et al. Efficacy of a combined Sabal-Urtica
preparation in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Urologe [B] 1996;36:292-300.  Pygeum 1. Murray MT. The Healing
Power of Herbs, Rocklin, CA; Prima Publishing, 1995, 286-93]. 2. Barlet et al. Efficacy of Pygeum africanum extract in the treatment of
micturational disorders due to benign prostatic hyperplasia. Evaluation of objective and subjective parameters. A multicenter,
randomized, double-blind trial. Wein Klin Wochenschr 1990;102:667-73. 2. 3. Andro et al. Pygeum africanum extract for the treatment of
patients with BHA: A review of 25 years of published experience. Curr Ther Res 1995;56:796. 4. Krzeski T et al, Combined extracts of
Urtica dioica and Pygeum africanum in the treatment of BPH: Double-blind comparision of two dose. Clin Ther 1993; 15:1011-20. 5.
Murray MT. The Healing Power of Herbs. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1995, 286-93. Nettle [1] Obertreis et al. Antiphlogistic effects of
Urtica dioica folia extract in comparison to caffeic malic acid. Arzneimittelforschung 1996;46:52-6. [2] Hirano et al. Effect of stinging
nettle root extracts and their steroidal components on the Na+, K+-ATPase of the benign prostatic hyperplasia. Planta Med
1994;60:30-3. [3] Mittman et al. Randomized, double-blind study of freeze-dried Urtica dioica in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Planta
Med 1990;56:44-7. [4] Brown et al. BPH and Prostate Cancer Prevention. Seattle; NPRC, 1997, 9-10. Pumpkin Seed Oil [1] Carbin et al.
Treatment by Curbicin in BPH. Swed J Biol Med 1989;2:7-9. [2] Carbin et al. Treatment of BPH with phytosterols. Br J Urol
1990;66:639-41. [3] Schiebel-Schlosser et al. Phytotherapy of BPH with pumpkin seeds-a multicenter clinical trial. Zeits Phytother
1998;19:71-6. [4] Zhang et al. Effect of the extracts of pumpkin seeds on the urodynamics of rabbits: an experimental study. J Tongji
Med Univ 1994;14:235-8. [5] Rybaitavski et al. On the discovery of cucurbitin-a component of pumpkin seed with anthelmintic action.
Med Parazitol(Mosk) 1966;35:487-8. [6] Chou et al. Pumpkin seed in the treatment of acute schistosomiasis. Chin Med J
1960:80:115-20. [7] Chun et al. Treatment of Taenia saginata infection. Chung Hua Min Kuo Wei Sheng Wu Hsueh Tsa Chih
1976;9:31-5. [8] Plotnikov et al. Clinical trial of cucurbin in cestodiasis. Med Parazitol (Mosk) 1972;41:407-11. [9] Eagles et al. Treatment
of depression with pumpkin seeds. Br. J Psychiatry 1990;157:937-8. [10] Suphakam et al. The effect of pumpkin seeds on
oxalcrystalluria and urinary compositions of children in hyperendemic area. Am J Clin Nutr 1987;45:115-21. [11] Suphiphat et al. The
effect of pumpkin seeds snack on inhibitors and promoters of urolithiasis in Thai adolescents. J Med Assoc Thai 1993;76:487-93. [12]
Carbin et al. Treatment of BPH with phytosterols. Br J Urol 1990;66:639-41.
Relevant articles:
Frequent Urination / Urgent urination HERBS FOR SUPPORTING PROSTATE HEALTH
Benign Prostate Hyperplasia Treatment. Lycopene Benefits   Tomato Benefits   Watermelon Health Benefits  
Pomegranate Benefits  Pumpkin Seed Oil Benefits

Good Health
David, September 14, 2011
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