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Pygeum (African plum): Benefits, Uses and Possible Side Effects

The pygeum, also called the African plum, is a tree whose scientific name is Prunus africanum. The species comes from the African continent, but is distributed worldwide as a medicinal extract or supplement. In particular, it is a well-known remedy for urinary, sexual and prostate problems.

According to a publication published in Phytochemistry, the bark extracts of this tree concentrate bioactive compounds such as lauric acid, myristic acid, n-docosanol, ferulic acid and beta-sitosterol, among others. The presence of these explains a large part of their properties. What are the principal uses?

Benefits and Uses of Pygeum

Since ancient times, the pygeum or African plum has been part of natural medicine due to its interesting properties. In general, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects are attributed to it. In fact, a wide variety of studies support its benefits. Let’s see.

1. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

One of the best-known uses of the African plum has to do with prostate health. To be more exact, it is used as an adjuvant to combat benign prostatic hyperplasia or an enlarged prostate. This condition can cause alterations in urination habits, which is very uncomfortable for men.

Regarding this, a review reported in The American Journal of Medicine found that the pygeum is modestly effective remedy to soothe the symptoms of BPH. In particular, it helped reduce the following discomforts:

  • Constant urge to urinate,
  • Night urination (nocturia),
  • Urine leakage (incontinence),
  • Inflammation.

However, these properties were supported by more recent research, revealed through the Asian Journal of Andrology, which determined that extracts from this tree help slow the growth of prostate cells and inhibit inflammation.

2. Renal disease

Due to its ability to reduce urinary symptoms derived from an enlarged prostate, pygeum or African plum is also used as a complementary remedy for kidney diseases. Although there is no evidence that it can treat these conditions, it is believed that it could be useful.

In a review shared in the Journal of Nephropharmacology, the extract from this herb is mentioned as a supplement to improve kidney health. Its intake is associated with a decrease in pain, inflammation and frequent urination. Anyway, more studies are necessary to corroborate its efficacy in these cases.

3. Prostatitis

The anti-inflammatory properties of the African plum tree have been exploited in the treatment of prostatitis. Although it is not a first-line approach, its administration is associated with the reduction of inflammation and pain.

In a study shared by Urology Journal, various plants were examined for the prostate. Of these, it was determined that the Pygeum was useful against prostatitis, even compared to antibiotics.

4. Prostate cancer

Pygeum extracts have been studied for their antitumor potential. However, to date the investigations are ongoing and there are no conclusive results.

Thus, it should be clarified that this herbal remedy is not a first-line cancer treatment. Given the complexity of this disease, it is essential to access specialized medical monitoring.

With this in mind, let’s see what the studies say. A publication through Investigational New Drugs determined that pygeum acts on androgen receptors, responsible for regulating the growth of the prostate. This, in turn, is associated with a lower risk of cancer. Another study in Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology had similar results.

5. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant

Much of the benefits of pygeum or African plum are attributed to its anti-inflammatory properties. Beyond being useful against benign prostatic hyperplasia, it appears to act positively against other disorders associated with inflammation. In addition, due to its antioxidant action, it helps to inhibit the negative effects of oxidative stress.

6. Libido

In folk medicine, this herbal supplement has been used to stimulate libido. However, to date there is no evidence to support these effects. However, due to its ability to improve prostate health, it can contribute to a better quality of sex life for older men.

Possible Side effects of Pygeum (African plum)

Oral consumption of pygeum is considered safe for most healthy adults when used moderately and occasionally. Still, in some people it can cause the following side effects:

  • Sickness,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Digestive discomfort,
  • Constipation.

Its use is not recommended in pregnant or lactating women. Its safety in these populations is unknown.

Nor should it be used in children or people with a pre-diagnosed disease. In the latter case, it is necessary to consult a doctor before using the supplement.

Dosage and presentations of pygeum

The African plum is distributed as a supplement in the form of capsules or pills. They can be found in online stores, health food stores or herbalists. The suggested dose is usually 100 milligrams a day, in cycles of 6 to 8 weeks.

African plum shows promise against prostate diseases

For now, studies have determined that the African plum has anti-inflammatory compounds that act beneficially against diseases that affect the prostate. It is even believed that it can be useful for urinary problems.

Anyway, in the face of these health disorders it is necessary to consult a doctor. The professional can supervise a consumption of these supplements and, of course, suggest other approaches if necessary.

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