Botanical names:
Pygeum africanum

Parts Used & Where Grown

Pygeum is an evergreen tree found in the higher elevations of central and southern Africa. The bark is used medicinally. Wild pygeum is environmentally threatened and efforts are being made to grow pygeum on plantations and control harvesting in the wild.

What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
2 Stars
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
50 to 100 mg of an herbal extract standardized to contain 13% total sterols twice per day
Safe and effective for men with mild to moderate BPH, pygeum contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory activity and help rid the prostate of any cholesterol deposits.

In many parts of Europe, herbal supplements are considered standard medical treatment for BPH. Although herbs for BPH are available without prescription, men wishing to take them should be monitored by a physician.

Pygeum, an extract from the bark of the African tree, has been approved in Germany, France, and Italy as a remedy for BPH. Controlled studies published over the past 25 years have shown that pygeum is safe and effective for men with BPH of mild or moderate severity. These studies have used 50 to 100 mg of pygeum extract (standardized to contain 13% total sterols) twice per day. This herb contains three compounds that may help the prostate: pentacyclic triterpenoids, which have a diuretic action; phytosterols, which have anti-inflammatory activity; and ferulic esters, which help rid the prostate of any cholesterol deposits that accompany BPH.

1 Star
Refer to label instructions
In a preliminary trial, men with chronic prostatitis who were given pygeum extract saw improvement of symptoms and laboratory evaluation of the prostate and urinary tract.

In a small preliminary trial, men with chronic prostatitis or BPH were given 200 mg per day of pygeum extract for 60 days, resulting in some improvement of symptoms and laboratory evaluation of the prostate and urinary tract. The extract used in this study was standardized to contain 14% beta-sitosterol and 0.5% n-docosanol. Other preliminary trials have also reported improvement of prostatitis symptoms with pygeum.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

The powdered bark was used as a tea for relief of urinary disorders in African herbal medicine. European scientists were so impressed with reports of pygeum’s actions, they began laboratory investigations into the active constituents in the bark. This led to the development of the modern lipophilic (fat-soluble) extract used today.

How It Works

Botanical names:
Pygeum africanum

How It Works

Chemical analysis and pharmacological studies indicate the lipophilic extract of pygeum bark has three categories of active constituents: 1) Phytosterols, including beta-sitosterol, have anti-inflammatory effects by interfering with the formation of hormone-like substances in the body (prostaglandins) that tend to accumulate in the prostate of men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH); 2) pentacyclic terpenes have an anti-edema, or decongesting, effect; 3) ferulic esters indirectly control testosterone activity in the prostate, which may reduce the risk of BPH.1 While these effects have been shown in test tube studies, human studies are still needed to confirm these effects in the body. Pygeum alone has been shown in some double-blind trials to help men with BPH by improving urinary flow and other symptoms of BPH.2 , 3 It has also been used successfully in combination with nettle root to treat BPH.4 Long-term BPH studies (six months or greater) on pygeum are lacking, however.

How to Use It

The accepted form of pygeum used in Europe for treatment of BPH is a lipophilic extract standardized to 13% total sterols (typically calculated as beta-sitosterol).5 Men with mild to moderate BPH sometimes take 50–100 mg two times per day. A double-blind trial found that 100 mg once daily was as effective as 50 mg twice per day.6 Pygeum should be monitored over at least a six-month period to determine efficacy. Men with BPH who are using pygeum should be supervised by a doctor.


Botanical names:
Pygeum africanum

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Botanical names:
Pygeum africanum

Side Effects

Side effects from the lipophilic extract of pygeum are rare. In clinical trials, there were reports of mild gastrointestinal upset in some men.


1. Murray MT. The Healing Power of Herbs. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1995, 286-93.

2. Barlet A, Albrecht J, Aubert A, et al. Efficacy of Pygeum africanum extract in the treatment of micturational disorders due to benign prostatic hyperplasia. Evaluation of objective and subjective parameters. A multicenter, randomized, double-blind trial. Wein Klin Wochenschr 1990;102:667-73.

3. Andro MC, Riffaud JP. Pygeum africanum extract for the treatment of patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia: a review of 25 years of published experience. Curr Ther Res 1995;56:796-817.

4. Krzeski T, Kazón M, Borkowski A, et al. Combined extracts of Urtica dioica and Pygeum africanum in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: Double-blind comparison of two doses. Clin Ther 1993;15:1011-20.

5. Murray MT. The Healing Power of Herbs. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1995, 286-93.

6. Chatelain C, Autet W, Brackman F. Comparison of once and twice daily dosage forms of Pygeum africanum extract in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia: a randomized, double-blind study, with long-term open label extension. Urology 1999;54:473-8.