Pygeum is an evergreen tree native to African forest regions. It can grow to approximately 45 m in height. Pygeum fruit is a red berry, resembling a cherry when ripe.
The bark is used as medicine. The major active components of the bark are fat-soluble sterols (phytosterols) and fatty acids.
Phytosterols can inhibit the production of DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a hormone that increase the risk of BPH and prostate cancer.
Pygeum also reduces the number of receptor sites where DHT can attach to cells. Pygeum inhibits the production of prostaglandin in the prostate, which reduces inflammation and swelling.
Additionally, pygeum helps to stabilize cholesterol levels in the prostate. One prostate disorder in particular is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate.
Pygeum is used as an aphrodisiac and also to enhance sexual performance. Taking daily doses of pygeum helps to remedy erectile dysfunction and painful ejaculation that result from prostate disorders.
When taken correctly, pygeum is considered one of the safest herbs used for male health, and often is combined with saw palmetto for maximum results.
The most common effect (reported by up to 3% of patients in clinical trials) is gastrointestinal upset. Toxicity studies in animals have shown neither short-term effects at dosages of up to 6 g/ kg/day nor long-term effects at up to 600 mg/kg/day for 11 months.
Men should consult their healthcare professionals for treatment and dosage recommendation, but the suggested dosage usually ranges from 75 mg to 200 mg capsules of standardized pygeum extract taken daily.
Possible side effects can include abdominal discomfort and loss of appetite. Pygeum is available in health food and drug stores in capsule form and as prostate supplements.
The active ingredients include fat-soluble sterols (phytosterols) and fatty acids. It is advisable to contact a health care provider before use because everyone reacts differently to medicinal herbs.