Herbal supplements that may be used to relieve symptoms of
benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) include saw
palmetto, beta-sitosterol, Pygeum africanum, and
In general, the trials using these substances have been
short, and self-improvement scores can be biased. Different
preparations are available for each substance, and they are not always
equivalent. So the results cannot be generalized to all preparations, and results
Talk with your doctor before starting any herbal
palmetto is made from the ripe berries of the plant Serenoa repens, the dwarf palm. The dwarf palm is a native plant in
Studies conflict on whether saw palmetto improves men's
symptoms. In one study, men taking saw palmetto were no better than those who
one review of trials on different saw palmetto preparations report that more
men rated their symptoms improved while using saw palmetto compared with a
placebo.2 The reviews also report that:2
See more information on
Beta-sitosterol is an extract made from
Hypoxis rooperi, the South African star grass.
One review of trials using beta-sitosterol reports that beta-sitosterol
American Urological Association (AUA) symptom index
more than a placebo did.2
P. africanum extract is
made from the bark of the African plum tree.
One review of 18
studies shows that P. africanum improved symptoms
compared to a placebo. It also increased urine flow and decreased the amount of
urine retained in the bladder.2 But these studies did
not follow up for very long. The type of extract and how much was used was also
different in each study, so the results are hard to compare.
Cernilton is an extract made from
Secale cereale, or rye grass pollen.
studies, more men who took rye grass pollen said they had improved symptoms,
compared to men who took a placebo.2 But both studies
were small and had no long-term follow-up. Also, it was not known in either
study how the extract was made or how much the men used.
See more information on rye grass pollen extract.