About half of all men over age 75 have symptoms related to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or an enlarged prostate gland.
Although common for older men, symptoms of BPH can certainly be unpleasant. Fortunately, plenty of men have found relief through natural remedies.
Here are eight natural remedies for enlarged prostate found to be the most effective natural treatment methods.
Saw palmetto is among the most commonly used herbal treatments for an enlarged prostate. Its effectiveness may be due to its ability to inhibit androgen receptors, along with its anti-inflammatory properties.
Besides being the most popular natural treatment for BPH, saw palmetto is among the most studied. One study found it inhibits a1-adrenoceptors, indicating its therapeutic effect on urination problems. Specifically, saw palmetto improves urine flow and reduces frequency of nighttime urination.
Although generally safe, saw palmetto may cause nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, or constipation in some users. There is some concern it may also cause liver or pancreas problems. Fortunately, a dosage of 160 mg twice daily or 320 mg once daily has been studied and proven safe.
Stinging nettle gets a bad rap because of its potential to cause skin irritation. However, it doesn’t sting unless you touch it directly. Like saw palmetto, stinging nettle extract decreases inflammation and urine output. In addition, stinging nettle contains steroids that inhibit prostate activity, which may suppress prostate cell growth and metabolism.
In one placebo-controlled study, stinging nettle root extract was studied on 246 BPH patients. Urinary infections and other adverse events reduced for those taking stinging nettle.
Stinging nettle is considered safe when used for less than 6 months; though, it might cause stomach complaints or sweating. While 459 mg extract per day was used safely in the study mentioned above, more studies are required to determine the ideal dosage.
A plant sterol ester found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, beta-sitosterol treats urination problems due to BPH. In one study on 519 men, beta-sitosterol improved urinary symptom scores and flow measures, but did not reduce prostate size.
While safe to take, beta-sitosterol may cause nausea, indigestion, gas, diarrhea, or constipation. It could also cause erectile dysfunction or decrease sexual desire. A dosage of 60 to 130 mg beta-sitosterol divided into 2-3 doses daily has been safely used in studies.
Garlic isn’t just a popular flavoring herb; it also treats various conditions, including BPH. Surprisingly enough, garlic has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antioxidant effects.
In one study, 27 patients with BPH and 9 with prostate cancer took 1 mg/kg weight garlic extract each day for a month. Results were promising: prostate mass lowered, urinary frequency decreased, and rates of urine flow increased for BPH patients.
Garlic may cause bad breath, heartburn, gas, nausea, and diarrhea. Dosage may differ depending on your symptoms and response to treatment.
The chemicals in pumpkin seed increase urination and relieve bladder discomfort. In a year-long study on 47 BPH patients, 320 mg/day pumpkin seed oil improved maximal urinary flow rate within 6 months. In 3 months, quality of life scores of those taking pumpkin seed oil were also significantly improved.
Although safe in medicinal amounts, pumpkin may cause ejaculation problems in some men. A dosage of 480 mg pumpkin seed oil divided in 3 doses per day has been studied for BPH anddetermined safe. Pumpkin seed could also be combined with saw palmetto and other herbs for better results.
This tree bark extract contains chemicals that shrink the prostate and relieve associated urinary problems. Two capsules per day, each containing 50 mg pygeum africanum, were given to 263 patients for 60 days. A significant difference in urination was found between pygeum and placebo.
A dosage between 75-200 mg standardized lipophilic extract of pygeum relieves BPH symptoms. However, pygeum may cause nausea and abdominal pain.
Rye grass pollen extract, also known as cernilton, is well tolerated and modestly improves BPH symptoms. It does so by interfering with certain chemicals to reduce swelling. It may even slow prostate cancer cell growth.
In one six-month study, 69% of patients saw BPH improvement by taking rye grass. Rye grass decreased residual urine, and even decreased prostate diameter.
Despite causing stomach swelling, heartburn, and nausea in some users, rye grass is safe for most people. Research concludes 126 mg three times daily is both safe and effective.
The antioxidant compound lycopene is part of the reason why tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables have their color. But of course, it also reduces BPH symptoms.
In one study, 15 mg/day lycopene for 6 months prevented prostate enlargement and improved BPH symptoms. Fortunately, daily supplements containing 30 mg lycopene have been used safely for up to 8 weeks.