Pygeum is an herbal extract that comes from the African cherry tree known as Prunus africanum. The plant and its extract have long been used for medicinal and healing properties, which have caused it to become a vulnerable species.
The commercial harvesting of the pygeum extract has made this beneficial plant endangered. The vast amount of research supporting its health benefits has made pygeum one of the most sought after alternative therapies for several health conditions.
The general anti-inflammatory benefits of pygeum make it a beneficial ally in the fight against disease. Inflammation is linked to the most serious medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer.
Pygeum also possesses powerful antioxidant properties, allowing it to protect cells and tissue from oxidative damage. The combined effects of reduced inflammation and free radical scavenging can protect vital organs in your body, including the kidneys and prostate.
The benefits of pygeum have been found to mostly benefit the urinary tract system. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common infections and can be caused by any number of bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Men and women both develop UTIs, and the risk increases with age as well as having a weakened immune system. Pygeum has been found to reduce inflammation associated with UTIs and relieve symptoms, although it will not prevent infection.
By supporting your immune system in reducing inflammation, it can prevent the spread of the infection to other parts of the urinary tract. Along with reducing inflammation, pygeum has antiestrogenic effects, which block the development of hyperplasia or enlargement of an organ, and stimulates an increase in prostatic secretions, which alleviate irritation along the urinary tract.
In addition to treating and relieving the symptoms of UTIs, studies also found that pygeum benefits other organs along the urinary tract.
Prostatitis is the chronic inflammation of the prostate gland, the small gland situated below the bladder. The prostate is responsible for producing much of the fluid that makes semen, and inflammation can enlarge the gland as well as spread to other organs if left untreated.
Pygeum is an effective treatment option for prostatitis, reducing inflammation and infection as effectively as leading antibiotics. Pygeum also reduces common symptoms of prostatitis, such as urination frequency, painful urinating, and nighttime urination.
Prostatitis that is untreated can cause the prostate to become enlarged, causing a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The increased size of the prostate is painful and problematic as it increases the pressure placed on the urethra. As a result, urinary flow is disrupted, leading to sudden urges to urinate, incontinence, painful urination, and blood in the urine. BPH is common in older adults and a common sexual health condition.
BPH is not the same as prostate cancer in that the cells are enlarged, but they are not cancerous. Prostate cancer can develop as a result of untreated BPH or any other inflammatory-related condition in the urinary tract. Studies have found that by reducing the risk of BPH, pygeum also reduces the risk of prostate cancer.
While BPH is not a risk factor for prostate cancer, the two conditions frequently occur together.
UTIs and other inflammatory conditions affecting the urinary tract can spread to the kidneys, causing kidney disease. Kidney disease that is not treated can lead to kidney failure.
Many of the symptoms of kidney disease are similar to prostate conditions, and pygeum can effectively reduce these. Pygeum has not yet been found to treat kidney disease directly, but it has been shown to reduce frequent and painful urination, pain, and inflammation associated with the condition.
Pygeum’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties allow it to improve health in other areas of the body as well.
Pygeum has been found to reduce fever and other fever-related symptoms. As a plant native to Africa, pygeum extract was also discovered to be effective against malaria. Pygeum is not a cure for malaria, but it significantly reduces fever, pain, and inflammatory-related symptoms associated with the disease.
It has also been found to reduce stomach aches and increase libido effectively.
Pygeum is taken in supplemental form, and the extract is available as a powder or capsules. Directions will vary according to the manufacturer, so you need to stick with the recommended dose provided by your doctor.
On average, the daily recommended dose for pygeum is 100 to 200 milligrams per day. Not all supplements are made of the same quality ingredients, so make sure you buy a highly recommended brand with clinically tested and proven ingredients.
Research has found pygeum to be safe for use when taken as prescribed. You must check with your doctor before starting a pygeum supplement to avoid potential interactions with other supplements or medications you are taking.
To date, no studies have found any adverse reactions between pygeum and any drugs. Possible side effects of taking pygeum can include:
♦ Gastric disturbances
♦ Stomach cramps
You need to seek immediate medical attention if after taking pygeum, you notice any of the following:
♦ No urine or trouble urinating
♦ Severe stomach cramps
♦ Tightness in the chest
♦ Bad cough
♦ Swelling in the face or throat
Pygeum has been used in Africa as a traditional treatment for inflammation and urinary tract conditions. As studies continue to discover the benefits of pygeum for treating prostate conditions, kidney disease, and other urinary conditions, this supplement is quickly becoming a favored alternative.
Although safe, it is important to follow your doctor’s advice when taking pygeum, and note that the benefits can often take several weeks before they appear.