Also known as- Pygeum africanum, Prunus africana, and African Plum.
Pygeum is an evergreen tree in the rose family growing up to 150 feet (50 m) tall, found across Africa at elevations of 3,000 feet (1,000 m) or higher. South African tribes used pygeum bark to great "old man's disease," better known in mainstream medicine as benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement).
Pygeum yields phytosterols (e.g., beta-sitosterol) that exert anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting production of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins in the prostate. Pygeum also contains pentacyclic triterpenes (ursolic and oleanic acids) that prevent swelling (edema), and ferulic acid nesters (n-docosanol and tetracosanol) that reduce prolactin levels and block the accumulation of cholesterol in the prostate.
Bark. Chopped bark may be slightly more effective for treating prostate infections. Bark powder may be slightly more effective for treating prostate enlargement.
Tinctures. Pygeum can be used with saw palmetto, stinging nettle root, and/or bee pollen to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia, and made into hair loss prevention shampoos with saw palmetto and stinging nettle root. Typically younger men (under 30) with prostate infections need about twice as a large a dose as older men (over 50) with prostate enlargement. Sometimes found in encapsulation, although rare. May be taken as a tea, but most will find it distasteful.
At least 53 clinical studies confirm the usefulness of pygeum in treating prostate problems. In one study involving 263 men with age-related prostate enlargement, taking at least 100 milligrams of pygeum extract (equivalent to 1-2 teaspoons of tincture) for 60 days:
Taken at recommended dosages, pygeum is non-toxic. In rare instances, there may be stomach upset, headache, nausea, or visual disturbances when the first dose is taken, but this effect usually goes away and does not recur with the second dose.