Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Enlarged Prostate: Herbal Therapy

Enlarged Prostate: Herbal Therapy

Overview

Herbal supplements that may be used to relieve symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) include beta-sitosterol, cernilton , Pygeum africanum, and saw palmetto.

In general, the trials using these substances have been short, and self-reported improvement scores can be biased. Different preparations are available for each substance, and they are not always equivalent. So the results cannot be generalized to all preparations, and results may vary.

Talk with your doctor before starting any herbal therapy.

Beta-sitosterol extract

Beta-sitosterol is an extract made from Hypoxis rooperi, the South African star grass.

A review of studies done on beta-sitosterol showed that men who took it had fewer symptoms than men who took a placebo. Symptoms were measured using the American Urological Association (AUA) symptom index. Men who took beta-sitosterol also had a better urine flow rate then men who took a placebo.footnote 1

See more information on beta-sitosterol.

Cernilton

Cernilton is an extract made from Secale cereale, or rye grass pollen.

In two studies, more men who took rye grass pollen said they had improved symptoms, compared to men who took a placebo.footnote 2 But both studies were small and had no long-term follow-up. Also, it was not known in either study how the extract was made or how much the men used.

See more information on rye grass pollen extract.

Pygeum africanum

P. africanum extract is made from the bark of the African plum tree.

One review of 18 studies shows that P. africanum improved symptoms and nighttime urination compared to a placebo. It also increased urine flow and decreased the amount of urine retained in the bladder.footnote 3 But these studies did not follow up for very long. The type of extract and how much was used was also different in each study, so the results are hard to compare.

Saw palmetto

Saw palmetto is made from the ripe berries of the plant Serenoa repens, the dwarf palm. The dwarf palm is a native plant in America.

Most studies show that taking saw palmetto doesn't help symptoms of BPH any more than taking a placebo.footnote 4

A review of studies done on saw palmetto showed that men who took saw palmetto had some improvement in nighttime urination. But when only the best studies were included in the review, men who took saw palmetto had no difference in symptoms, urine flow, or nighttime urination compared with men who took a placebo.footnote 5

In another study, men who took even higher doses of saw palmetto had no difference in BPH symptoms, urine flow, or nighttime urination compared with men who took a placebo.footnote 6

See more information on saw palmetto.

References

References

Citations

  1. Wilt TJ, et al. (1999). Beta-sitosterols for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (3).
  2. McNicholas T, Kirby R (2011). Benign prostatic hyperplasia and male lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). BMJ Clinical Evidence. http://clinicalevidence.bmj.com/x/systematic-review/1801/overview.html. Accessed April 12, 2016.
  3. Wilt TJ, Ishani A (1998). Pygeum africanum for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1).
  4. Bent S, et al. (2006). Saw palmetto for benign prostatic hyperplasia. New England Journal of Medicine, 354(6): 557–566.
  5. Tacklind J, et al. (2012). Serenoa repens for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (12). DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001423. Accessed October 13, 2014.
  6. Barry MJ, et al. (2011). Effect of increasing doses of saw palmetto extract on lower urinary tract symptoms. JAMA, 306(12): 1344–1351.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Related Links

Enlarged Prostate: Should I Take Medicine? Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

<cipublic-spinner variant="large"><span>Loading…</span></cipublic-spinner>

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna

Audiences

Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

Cigna Company Information

About Cigna Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice [PDF] Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap

Disclaimer

Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities  that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details