The Health Benefits of Pygeum

The bark from an African plum tree may ease prostate problems

Pygeum tea, capsules, powder, softgels, and tincture

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Pygeum (Pygeum africanum) is a natural remedy extracted from the bark of the African plum tree. In traditional African medicine, pygeum has long been used to treat bladder-health issues and urinary disorders. It has become a vulnerable plant species in recent decades due to over-harvesting as the demand for its medicinal properties has spread across the globe.


In herbal medicine, pygeum is typically used in the treatment of the following conditions:

Pygeum is also purported to act as a natural aphrodisiac, enhance sexual performance, and protect against prostate cancer.

Health Benefits

Despite its many purported uses, the research on pygeum is limited and few human studies have been performed. Here's a look at the science.

Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy

Pygeum may moderately improve urinary symptoms associated with BPH, a condition marked by enlargement of the prostate gland. Several studies show that pygeum can significantly reduce urinary frequency (the number of times patients need to wake up at night to urinate) and pain with urination in men who suffer from mild to moderate BPH symptoms. However, pygeum does not appear to reverse the process of BPH.

Pygeum has not been found useful in the treatment or prevention of any other health condition. Although research conducted on animals and in test-tube studies suggests that pygeum may also help reduce the risk of prostate cancer, there is a general lack of scientific support for pygeum's effectiveness in prostate cancer prevention.

Possible Side Effects

Some users may experience stomach upset, including diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, and nausea. Additionally, pygeum should be avoided by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Pygeum softgels

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Dosage and Preparation 

Pygeum comes as a powder, capsule, gel cap, tincture, and tea.

There is no standard recommended daily allowance for pygeum. In research studies, 75 mg to 200 mg pygeum extract daily has been used to treat symptoms of BPH.

What to Look For 

It's important to keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety, and dietary supplements are largely unregulated. In some cases, a product may deliver doses that differ from the amount specified on the label. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals. In addition, the safety of supplements in those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. 

When selecting a brand of supplements, look for products that have been certified by Consumer Labs, the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, or NSF International. A seal of approval from one of these organizations does not guarantee the product's safety or effectiveness, but it does provide assurance that the product was properly manufactured, contains the ingredients listed on the label, and does not contain harmful levels of contaminants.

Other Questions 

Is pygeum extract an aphrodisiac?

In traditional medicine, pygeum is considered an aphrodisiac in men, but not women. There is no scientific evidence to support this, but alternative health providers suspect it may boost libido in men by relieving uncomfortable symptoms of BPH.

A Word From Verywell

If you're considering the use of pygeum in the treatment or prevention of any health condition, make sure to consult your physician before starting your supplement regimen. It's especially important to talk to your doctor if you have a medical condition or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements. Self-treating and avoiding or delaying standard care can have serious consequences.

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