- Family Boraginaceae
- Pygeum africanum
- None listed.
- It should be taken only under professional guidance.
Native to Africa, pygeum is extracted from an evergreen tree that grows to 120 feet and has oblong leaves, white flowers and red berries. It is still harvested from the wild, but increased demand has produced severe shortages which has led to the establishment of commercial farms.
In the past, pygeum was valued in Africa for its hard wood, often used in making wagons. But its bark was also recognized as being useful in treating urinary disorders.
In Asian countries, the fruit kernels of a related species, P. gardneri, are used to poison fish.
- endocrine agent
- urinary antiseptic
- phytosterols (beta-sitosterol)
- triterpenes (ursolic and oleanolic acids)
- long-chain alcohols (n-tetracosanol)
In France, the fat-soluble extract of pygeum bark has become the primary treatment for an enlarged prostate gland. In trial studies during the 1960s, the fact was established that the extract increases glandular secretions and reduced the levels of cholesterol within the organ. In most Western countries, surgery is the main option for enlarged prostates; but, in France, pygeum is prescribed with an 81% success rate.
Decoctions are used to reduce the severity of chronic prostate inflammation.
It is sometimes helpful in reversing male sterility when caused by insufficient prostate secretions.
In combination with other herbs, pygeum may be valuable in the treatment of prostatic cancer.