If you’re familiar with conventional treatments for prostate disorders and are interested in finding out more about gentler, safer, more natural remedies to heal your prostate condition, then you’ll want to read every last word of this article.
Research has shown that there are safe, non-drug, non-surgical natural remedies that work every bit as effectively as prescription drugs in healing common prostate conditions.
You may have already heard about the amazing healing power of saw palmetto and how it can help heal even the most enlarged prostate. You may even be taking it yourself. But, as you’re about to discover, there are two other very powerful, and highly effective healing herbs proven to heal an enlarged prostate (BPH) or prostatitis, as effectively as prescription drugs.
Healing Herb #1) Pygeum africanum
The first of these powerful healing herbs is Pygeum (Pygeum africanum) and it is used extensively in France and other European countries to treat prostate disorders. In several double-blind studies pygeum was shown to improve prostate symptoms significantly with no appreciable side effects. One such study also found that pygeum increased sexual ability.
Pygeum comes from the African prune tree, an evergreen that grows in central and southern Africa. Historically, natives found its powdered bark to be an effective treatment for urinary disorders. Europeans in Africa took note and pygeum came into use as a valuable treatment for BPH.
In France, over 80 percent of all doctors’ prescriptions for BPH include pygeum extract. The extract from pygeum contains phytosterols that have been shown to produce anti-inflammatory effects on the prostate. Studies show that pygeum also reduces prolactin levels and blocks the accumulation of cholesterol in the prostate. Other studies show that pygeum acts as a mild antibiotic, which is why it helps relieve the symptoms of prostatitis as well as BPH. Controlled research studies conducted in European countries have clearly demonstrated pygeum’s effectiveness in treating prostate disorders. An example is a double-blind study involving 263 patients that was carried out in eight centers in Germany, France and Austria (Barlet, 1990). A double-blind study is one in which neither the doctor nor the patient knows whether he is taking the medication or a placebo until the end of the trial. The therapeutic results were significant. They showed a remarkable 66 percent improvement in the group receiving pygeum and there were no significant side effects. An Italian study of men suffering from BPH or chronic prostatitis was done to evaluate the efficacy of pygeum on those conditions (Carani, 1991). Because of the high frequency of association of sexual disorders with those two pathologies, the study was also extended to include a study of sexual disturbances. The results showed that pygeum extract improved all the urinary parameters they investigated and there was also improvement in sexual function. No side effects were observed during the treatment.
Healing Herb #2) Stinging Nettle Root (Urtica dioica)
An herb that grows wild in the United States, stinging nettle has been shown to have a highly therapeutic effect on the prostate gland. Like pygeum, urtica dioica contains phytosterols that exert a powerful anti-inflammatory effect on prostate tissue. Scientists have found that Urtica dioica works synergistically with pygeum. In fact, doctors in Europe commonly prescribe a Urtica/Pygeum combination for patients who suffer from prostate disorders. In a recent study using a combination of pygeum and urtica dioica, of the 2,080 patients suffering from BPH, a vast majority of the patients showed marked improvement in their symptoms by the end of the study (Schneider, 1995). Another study conducted by the Department of Clinical Pharmacology of Tokyo College of Pharmacy in Japan (Hirano, 1994) investigated the effect of Urtica dioica on BPH tissue. The conclusion was that stinging nettle root inhibited certain activity in the prostate to suppress prostate cell metabolism and growth.
With such impressive results from treatments that have proven to be effective, are without dangerous side effects, and are preferred by European doctors, why is it that the medical establishment in the United States continues to put so much emphasis on drugs and surgery? Possibly part of it is our fascination with new technologies, part of it training. Undoubtedly, a large part of it is the immense profitability for drug companies who aggressively market their products to the medical establishment. Merck, manufacturers of Proscar, has predicted sales of the drug will soon reach $1 billion a year. And this despite its known health hazards!
Julian Whitaker, M.D., a well-known physician and critic of currently established medical practices, says our government “continuously and irresponsibly ignores the findings of these superior botanical supplements” and has “jumped into bed with the drug companies.” Michael Murray, N.D., a leading researcher in the field of natural medicine and co-author of the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, illustrates the fallacy of assuming that drugs are the only answer for treating prostate problems. In Health Counselor magazine he reports that numerous studies on the saw palmetto extract have shown it to be effective in nearly 90 percent of patients, usually in a period of four to six weeks. In contrast, Proscar is effective in reducing the symptoms in less than 37 percent after taking the drug for one year! Murray states, “Clearly, the saw palmetto extract is superior to Proscar. Although Proscar has received much attention, based on the clinical trials, it is much less effective than the extract of saw palmetto berries. Less than 37 percent of patients on Proscar will experience clinical improvement after taking the drug for one year and it must be taken for at least six months before any improvement can be expected.”
An additional drawback is that Proscar can result in decreased libido, ejaculatory disorders and impotence. Another alarming hazard of Proscar is that it can cause birth defects in male infants if a pregnant woman comes in contact with it. It is absorbed through the skin, so just handling the bottle could be dangerous. There have also been reports that even coming in contact with the semen of a man taking Proscar can cause these birth defects, but this has not been substantiated as yet. In contrast, phytonutrients are safe and effective treatments for prostate healthproblems. They are virtually free of harmful side effects, far less expensive than drugs (in terms of money, not to mention the price of terrible side effects), and they have the advantage of enhancing other life functions besides the specific condition for which they are being given.
Healing Herb #3) Saw Palmetto
If you’re like most men who suffer from prostate problems, chances are you’ve heard of Saw Palmetto, and may even take it.
But what you may not know is that Saw Palmetto extract does much more than simply relieve you of your symptoms. Scientists have determined that saw palmetto extract may actually reverse the hormonal mechanism that causes prostate disorders.
Brief History Of Saw Palmetto
Saw Palmetto is a dwarf palm that grows in the southeastern United States. Its berries were used by the American Indians to treat genitourinary tract difficulties and as a general tonic as well. In the 1960s, European research on saw palmetto led to it becoming the most popular phytomedicine in Europe for treatment of an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). In Germany, saw palmetto and other plant extracts are used to treat nearly 90 percent of BPH patients.
How Does Saw Palmetto Work?
To understand how saw palmetto works, it’s important to have a basic understanding of what causes the prostate gland to become enlarged in the first place. It’s widely believed that the primary culprit that causes prostate enlargement is a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This is a derivative of testosterone that causes the prostate tissue to grow abnormally large. An increase in the production of DHT begins to occur in men with age (usually after 45).
Research has revealed that the extract of the saw palmetto berry contains very powerful compounds. These compounds found hidden in saw palmetto berry extract consist of fatty acids, and phytosterols (plant sterols). These compounds combat prostate disorders in three unique ways:
1) They inhibit the production of DHT.
2) They inhibit the binding of DHT to androgen receptors in the prostate cells.
3) They block the effect of estrogen on prostate tissue (acts as an aromatase inhibitor).
In recent years, scientists have discovered a synergistic effect by combining the herbs Pygeum africanum, Nettle Root and Saw Palmetto. In fact many prostate formulas now have this combination of herbal ingredients, which have proven to be the most effective herbs in fighting prostate healthproblems.