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What is Pygeum?


Pygeum is also known as african pygeum. It is a large evergreen tree that grows in the high plateaus of southern Africa. This herb is often used in men's herbal blends. The pygeum bark is traditionally powdered and drunk as a tea for genito-urinary complaints. Double-blind clinical trials have shown efficacy for many parameters of prostatic hypertrophy, including failure to urinate, nocturnal urination, frequent urination, residual urine, abdominal heaviness, voiding volume, prostate volume and peak flow.

More than half of all men over sixty have enlarged prostates, known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Advanced cases can cause bladder infections, kidney damage, or sexual disability Standard treatments include expensive surgical procedures that can result in bleeding, bladder damage, and impotence, and drugs that cause dizziness, fatigue, fainting, and impotence.

The European medical community uses Pygeum africanum, a safe, natural remedy for BPH that is largely unknown in the United States. The treatment is effective in more than half of all patients. The tribes of Natal have long used pygeum's brown bark as a cure for bladder pains and urinary difficulty. Studies indicate that pygeum reduces the symptoms of BPH, postponing the need for more powerful drugs or surgery.

However, most American urologists are unaware pygeum even exists. Others assert that the reports of pygeum's success are not supported by well-controlled scientific studies. However, when one of them, Charles E. Shapiro of the University of Southern California, was asked to review some of the European studies, he acknowledged that pygeum appears to work as effectively as Proscar or Hytrin, the drugs most commonly prescribed for American men, without the side effects.

The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research is seeking to issue new BPH treatment guidelines because of the rising cost and mixed results of established treatments. Transurethral dilation of the prostate has fallen out of favor as a surgical treatment, to be replaced by transurethral resection of the prostate. This procedure may result in incontinence and possibly increased risk of heart disease. In contrast, there are no known serious side effects of pygeum, and it is inexpensive.

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