Relieve the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, naturally

The history of using plant extracts to treat BPH dates back to descriptions written on an Egyptian papyrus 15 centuries before Christ. The American Indians have been using saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) to treat urinary-tract problems for centuries. And in Europe, it has been held in high regard for years as a treatment for prostate trouble.

Several studies about saw palmetto have been published in the last few years, and more research is cropping up all the time. All of them tout the 5-alpha-reductase-inhibiting properties of the free fatty acids in saw palmetto.

Research has shown that saw palmetto can actually inhibit as much as 90 percent of the transformation of testosterone into DHT, that powerful hormone thought to be responsible for the prostate enlargement.

In fact, saw palmetto extract seems to produce results comparable to those achieved by finasteride but without the dangerous emasculating side effects. A 1996 study published in the medical journal Prostate compared the effects of saw palmetto with those of finasteride (Proscar) and found that the two had nearly equal effects on symptoms and urine flow. In another comparison of finasteride and saw palmetto, finasteride produced a miserly 16 percent increase in flow in only three months.

All the benefits, none of the side effects

In a trial reported in an issue of Current Therapeutic Research, 505 patients with mild to moderate symptoms of BPH were treated with an oral preparation of saw palmetto, taking 160 milligrams twice daily. Using no less than five means of comparison (the International Prostate Symptom Score, a quality-of-life score, urinary-flow rates, residual urinary volume, and patient prostate size), the researchers showed that saw palmetto produced significant improvement after only 45 days of treatment.

After 90 days, 88 percent of the patients considered the therapy successful. Side effects were reported in only 5 percent of the patients in the three-month study.

Saw palmetto definitely works-shrinking prostates and naturally relieving the symptoms of BPH, with little or no serious side effects or adverse reactions, and certainly none of the horrible, and usually permanent, side effects of prostate surgery!

Saw palmetto is just the beginning

Saw palmetto isn't the only natural, plant-derived chemical that has proven effective in reducing the troublesome symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Other extracts are commonly taken from the pygeum Africanum (African plum) and radix Urtica (stinging nettle) plants. The positive effects of these extracts are attributed to their phytosterols, steroid-like properties with a mild hormonal effect. Of the phytosterols, sitosterol is believed to be the most potent.

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the British medical journal Lancet, patients treated with beta-sitosterol showed significant improvements in their symptoms and flow.

Another study used a combination of saw palmetto extract and Urtica (nettle) root on more than over 2,000 patients. At a daily dosage of 230 milligrams of Urtica root for 12 weeks, there was a 29 percent increase in average urinary flow, a 44.7 percent reduction in residual urine, and a 50.4 percent reduction in nocturia (which is scientific jargon for "the need to get up in the middle of the night to urinate"). There was also a noted 53.6 percent reduction in "post-voiding dribbling" (gotta love that science-speak).

Even that old standby ginseng gets into the prostate act. It's an "adaptogen" (capable of many different functions). It adapts to the situation as needed. You're probably already familiar with the energizing and immune-boosting properties of ginseng. Well, ginseng has also demonstrated an ability to safely increase your testosterone levels while shrinking your prostate!