Pygeum Africanum Bark - Side Effects and Therapeutic Uses

Botanical Name of Pygeum: Pygeum Africanum,

Other Common Names: Pigeum, African plum, African prune, alumty, iluo, kirah, natal tree, pigeum africanum

Habitat: Pygeum is found across the continent of Africa, especially the Southern portion. It generally grows at altitudes of 3000 feet or higher. It is becoming endangered due to the demand for its bark.

Plant Description: The Pygeum tree is a large evergreen, often growing to 150 feet tall. It is a member of the Rosacea family. The trees bear large red or brownish fruits resembling plums, after flowering in the summer. The fruit ripens in June, July, and August in Northern Africa, and later in Southern countries. The fruit is also used for food by natives, as well as by birds and animals. The density of the wood of the African plum tree makes it useful for buildings and tools, as well as a long-burning fuel.

Plant Parts Used: The bark of the pygeum contains an oil with many active ingredients.

Pygeum Africanum Bark - Therapeutic Uses and Claims

* Pygeum bark gained popularity in Europe in the 1700s but had been used long before that by South African tribes. Later the extract of the bark became a popular form for taking this supplement. The many active ingredients have been used for many health purposes as listed below.
* Pygeum africanum has been shown to be beneficial in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH.) It is especially helpful in increases urinary function, often limited due to enlarged prostate. Combining this supplement with saw palmetto and stinging nettle increase the effectiveness of each herb.
* Pygeum has also shown promise in preventing, combatting and reducing the symptoms of prostate cancer and chronic prostatis
* In animal studies, pygeum showed an increase in the volume and viability of sperm in the semen. This indicates a possible use of this herb for treating male infertility.
* Traditionally, the bark of the tree was gathered and powdered and made into a tea which was taken for genito-urinary complaints.
* Some of the less researched, traditional uses of pygeum include use as an aphrodisiac, fever, impotence, kidney disease, malaria, hair loss, partial bladder outlet obstruction (BOO), sexual performance, urinary tract infections, inflammation, malaria, prostatic adenoma, prostatitis, and psychosis.

Dosage and Administration

The powdered bark is made into capsules or a liquid extract. The common intake of pygeum is 50 to 200 mg. It can be taken in a single or divided dose. Taking one 100 mg dose has been found just as effective as taking two 50mg doses at different times.

Side Effects and Possible Interactions of Pygeum Africanum Bark

Side effects of pygeum use may include stomach discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, dizziness, or visual disturbances. Pregnant women should not take pygeum due to the lack of scientific evidence about its safety for developing fetuses. Pygeum has not been proven safe for use by children. Pygeum may cause an increase of the benefits to the prostate from prescription drugs or other herbal supplements aimed at reducing it. For this reason care should be taken when adding pygeum to any regimen for BPH or other prostate condition.

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About The Author, Subodh Jain