Herbal Help for BPH: Part 2

Now that you are more aware of the cause of benign prostatic hyperplasia, or also known as BPH, let us delve into the potential remedies to tackle this delicate condition.

A recent study conducted in Athens, Greece, showed that increased consumption of dietary fats, especially in the form of butter and margarine, increases the risk of BPH. On the other hand, increased consumption of fruits appears to lower the risk. The study also suggested for men to consume at least 30 to 50 milligrams of zinc every day for their prostates.

In addition, it is also worth noting that the incidence of BPH is much lower in Asian countries where a typical diet mainly consists of a lot of soy and other legumes, which are rich in a group of chemicals called isoflavones. Isoflavones are potentially beneficial to the prostate in two ways — firstly, they slow the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone or DHT, and secondly, they block the negative effects of oestrogen on the gland.

If you are not fond of soy products, special extracts of red clover have been formulated to contain the entire family of isoflavones in a balanced ratio that is even more concentrated than what is found in legumes. Research on the use of these extract for men with BPH is currently ongoing across the various parts of the globe and preliminary results have shed a positive light on red clover, revelling as a simple and effective natural therapy. It is relatively convenient to find for yourself red clover extracts or supplements in global health stores — they usually come in 40mg tablets and a typical dosage would be a single tablet to be consumed daily.

In addition to eating a healthy, low-fat diet that includes tofu, soy milk and red clover extract, there also several natural herbs that have been scientifically proven to prevent and treat BPH which you can consider incorporating into your daily diet.


Stinging Nettle

Scientifically termed as urtical dioica, the stinging nettle leaves are well-known to herbalists, who use them to brew tea for soothing an inflamed urinary tract. The tea is also used to lower blood pressure by its diuretic effect (increasing the flow of urine from the bladder). An extract of the root appears to be more specific for the prostate. Research shows that it can effectively relieve the symptoms of urinary urgency and discomfort caused when an enlarged prostate impinges on the urethra. Stinging nettle not only helps with BPH, but it is also chock-full of vitamins A, B, C, D and K —all the elements you need to achieve even-toned skin.

While the nettle root has some of the same active ingredients as saw palmetto, it appears to act more like an anti-inflammatory than a hormone-blocking agent. It is usually used in a combination formula to enhance the action of saw palmetto and other herbs rather than a single agent.

To effectively treat BPH, consume between 300 and 600 milligrams of stinging nettle root daily. Stinging nettle is sometimes given as an alcohol-based tincture in a dosage of one teaspoon daily. Although the side effects are few and far between, they include diarrhoea and the occasional stomach upset.


Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto, or scientifically known as Serenoa repens, is one remarkable herb that has finally started to get the respect that it deserves in a conventional medical setting. A native plant of the West Indies saw palmetto as a traditional food and folk medicine, and its berries have been used for centuries by the Native Americans. Most of the modern research on saw palmetto has been performed by medical doctors in Germany, France and Italy. At present, there are already numerous published studies that confirm its effectiveness in shrinking the prostate and improving urinary flow. In fact, saw palmetto has been compared to finasteride or Proscar — one of the most popular prescription drugs for BPH — and was found to be work as well as the drug without the side effects. Up to 10% of men that have been prescribed with finasteride complain of loss of sexual drive or impotence.

Furthermore, saw palmetto contains numerous active substances that appear to act in a synergistic fashion. The herb blocks the 5 alpha-reductase enzymes, and thereby, reducing the production of DHT. It also interferes with the binding of DHT and oestrogen to receptors on prostate cells. In other words, contains a substance called beta-sitosterol, which possesses potent immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory effects.

It is recommended that you consume 160 milligrams of saw palmetto twice daily and ensure that you use a standardised, fat-soluble extract that is guaranteed to contain 85 to 95 per cent of fatty acids and sterols so that you may reap the best effects. It is also important to note that saw palmetto can take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months for you to experience its full effect, so patience is definitely required. Fortunately, it can be consumed for indefinite periods of time and side effects, such as the occasional stomach upset, are uncommon.