Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)

Saw Palmetto: Medical Uses Saw palmetto is used for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), stages I and II. Historical Uses Saw palmetto berries were used by Native Americans for food and for medicinal effects. Traditional use has been as a tonic for men. Growth Saw palmetto is a short palm tree with sharp leaves that flourishes in the southern United States. Berries appear at the end of the summer months, and they turn a purplish black color. Saw palmetto is difficult to cultivate. Part Used • Fruit (berries) Major Chemical Compounds • Free fatty acids • Sitosterols Saw Palmetto: Clinical Uses Saw palmetto is used for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), stages I and II. Mechanism of Action Saw palmetto inhibits the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (as does finasteride [Proscar], a drug prescribed for treating BPH). It also speeds the breakdown and elimination of other hormones that are responsible for prostate enlargement. It reduces inflammation and fluid accumulation by a nonhormonal mechanism that does not affect serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, thereby limiting the risk that treatment could mask the development of prostate cancer. Saw palmetto also has androgenic Read more […]

White Deadnettle: Modern Use

Modern texts, if the herb appears in them at all, mainly limit themselves to white deadnettle, but vary quite widely in their range of applications. Chevallier cites Gerard on lifting the spirits but restricts his internal uses mainly to women’s complaints. It is, he says, astringent and demulcent, used as a uterine tonic, to stop intermenstrual bleeding and menorrhagia; traditionally for vaginal discharge; sometimes taken to relieve painful periods. It can be taken against diarrhoea and externally used for varicose veins and haemorrhages. Wood cites Hill, Weiss and a 19th century UK herbalist who records the familiar traditional uses of helping the spleen, whites, flooding, nose bleeds, spitting blood, haemorrhages, green wounds, bruises and burns. The source of some of his specific indications ― cough, bronchitis, pleurisy, inflamed prostate, anaemia -is unclear, given his text. Menzies-Trull covers a broad range of uses, although there is no specific discussion of them. Bartram too gives a broad sweep, designating the flowering tops haemostatic, astringent, diuretic, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, vulnerary, antispasmodic and menstrual regulator, with uses including heavy and painful menstrual bleeding, cystitis, Read more […]

Diseases of the Urogenital System

Herbs For Diseases Of The Urogenital System Prescription For Nephritis Strategy Treat conventionally until the patient is stable in acute conditions. Treat the underlying etiology if known  (infectious, immune complexes, etc.). Consider ACE inhibitors and conventional renal support, appropriate diet therapy, and thromboxane and PAF inhibitors. Use alcohol or glycetract tinctures for best results; alternatively, use teas. Astragalus: Immune enhancing, cardiotonic, diuretic, hypotensive; 1 part. Dong guai: Blood tonic, circulatory stimulant, vasodilator; 1 part. Siberian ginseng: Immune modulating, adaptogen; 1 part. Hawthorn: Hypotensive, vasodilator, antioxidant, cardiotonic; 1 part. Ginkgo: Inhibits platelet activating factor, antioxidant, circulatory stimulant; 1 part. For tinctures, give 1 ml per 10 pounds twice daily in food. For teas, give one-fourth cup per 10 pounds twice daily in food. Consider using Cordyceps as well: Dried herb, 25 to 100 mg / kg divided daily if extracted and dried; triple or quadruple dose for unprocessed herb; tincture, 1:2 to 1:3: 0.5 to 2 mL per 10 kg (20 pounds) divided daily and diluted or combined with other herbs. Chinese herbal formulas including Rehmannia Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Horsetail

Equisetum arvense L. (Equisetaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Equisetum. The related species Equisetum hyemale L. has also been used, but note that standardised pharmacopoeial preparations of horsetail should contain no more than 5% of other Equisetum species. Pharmacopoeias Equisetum Stem (Ph Eur 6.04); Horsetail (British Pharmacopoeia 2009). Constituents Horsetail contains high concentrations of silicic acid, up to 8%, and is sometimes used as an organic source of silicon. It also contains flavonoids such as apigenin, kaempferol, luteolin and quercetin and their derivatives, and may be standardised to the total flavonoid content expressed as isoquercitroside. Other polyphenolic compounds such as caffeic acid derivatives, and trace amounts of the alkaloid nicotine, and sterols including cholesterol, isofucosterol and campesterol, are also present. Horsetail also contains thiaminase (an enzyme that breaks down thiamine), and this is inactivated in some supplements. Use and indications Horsetail is used mainly as an astringent, haemostatic and anti-inflammatory agent, and for urinary tract complaints such as cystitis, prostatitis, urethritis and enuresis. There is little pharmacological, and no clinical, Read more […]

Quercetin: Practice Points – Patient Counselling. FAQ

Quercetin is a flavonol belonging to a group of polyphenolic substances known as flavonoids or bioflavonoids and is found in many fruits, vegetables and some herbal medicines. • According to experimental studies, it has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, mast cell stabilisation, neuroprotective, gastroprotective, hepatoprotectiveand possibly cardioprotective actions. • In practice, it is used for respiratory allergies such as hayfever, as an adjunct in asthma management, preventing diabetic complications such as cataracts and symptom relief in prostatitis; however, large controlled studies are not available to determine its effectiveness. • Numerous drug interactions are theoretically possible, mainly due to P-glycoprotein and CYP inhibition. • Quercetin is generally well tolerated. Adverse effects may include nausea, dyspnoea, headache and mild tingling of the extremities Answers to Patients’ Frequently Asked Questions What will this supplement do for me? Quercetin has several pharmacological effects and may provide some symptom relief in allergic conditions and prostatitis, and be beneficial in diabetes and cardiovascular disease; however, further research is required to clarify Read more […]

Quercetin: Clinical Use. Dosage

ALLERGIES Quercetin is used in the treatment of acute and chronic allergic symptoms, such as hayfever and chronic rhinitis. The anti-inflammatory activity of quercetin and its ability to stabilise mast cells, neutrophils and basophils and inhibit histamine release provides a rationale for its use in these indications. In a study of 123 patients sensitised to house dust mite and displaying nasal symptoms of mild to severe perennial allergic rhinitis, nasal scrapings were taken and histamine release measured as a percentage of the total content in the specimen. Antigen exposure resulted in an increase in mast cells of the epithelial layer of the nasal mucosa resulting in nasal hypersensitivity. Quercetin inhibited histamine release by 46-96% in a dose-dependent manner. Large-scale human trials are required to fully elucidate the potential for quercetin to inhibit allergic symptoms caused by the release of histamine. ASTHMA Quercetin has also been used as an adjunct in the management of asthma, often in combination with vitamin C because of its anti-allergic activity and ability to inhibit leukotriene synthesis. Controlled studies are still required to determine its effectiveness. PREVENTING DIABETIC COMPLICATIONS As Read more […]

Pygeum: Clinical Use. Dosage

The most commonly studied product is Tadenan (Laboratoires DEBAT, Garches, France), which is a lipophilic extract standardised to contain 12-13% total sterols. BENIGN PROSTATIC HYPERTROPHY A Cochrane systematic review analysed the results of 18 clinical trials that involved a total of 1562 participants. Seventeen studies were double-blinded and the mean treatment duration was 61 ± 21 days (range 30-122 days). Most studies used a standardised extract of P. africanum in doses ranging from 75 to 200 mg/day. Twelve of the 13 placebo-controlled studies reported a beneficial effect on at least one parameter (overall symptoms, nocturia, peak urine flow, or residual volume), whereas one study found no significant effects. The overall summary effect size indicated a large and statistically significant improvement with P. africanum. More specifically, active treatment increased peak urine flow by 23%, reduced residual urine volume by 24% and physicians were twice as likely to report their patients were experiencing an overall improvement in symptoms when pygeum was being used. The authors report that these findings are similar to other widely used treatment options and that treatment was well tolerated. It is believed Read more […]

Pygeum: Background. Actions

Common Name Pygeum Other Names African plum tree, African prune tree, alumty, iluo, kirah, natal tree, Pigenil, Pronitol, Provol, Tadenan Botanical Name / Family Prunus africana (Hook, f.) KalRm (family Rosaceae) Plant Part Used Bark Clinical note— Popular to the point of extinction? For the past 35 years, pygeum has been used in Europe for the treatment of BPH and other disorders. The bark is entirely wild-collected, mainly from Cameroon, Madagascar, Equatorial Guinea and Kenya, and exported principally to Europe for production into commercial medicinal extracts (Stewart 2003). Since 1995, it has been considered an endangered species so attempts at cultivation are underway to protect the plant from extinction. Prior to 1966 when it was discovered to have significant medicinal effects, Prunus Africana was a relatively common, but never abundant species. The reasons for its demise include economic, social, and ecological factors. Currently, wild-crafting is no longer commercially viable in Cameroon and harvest has ceased in both Uganda and Kenya. Chemical Components Phytosterols (beta-sitosterol, beta-sitostenone), pentacyclic triterpenes (oleanolic and ursolic acids), and ferulic esters (n-docosanol and Read more […]

Saw palmetto: Practice Points – Patient Counselling. FAQ

• Substantial scientific evidence has shown that saw palmetto is an effective treatment for stages 1 and 2 of BPH in cases where the diagnosis of cancer is negative. It is as effective as finasteride and alpha-adrenoreceptor antagonist drugs such as tamsulosin and alfuzosin, although prazosin may be slightly more effective. • Typically, symptom reduction is experienced within 1-2 months’ treatment, which is well tolerated, and associated with fewer side effects than finasteride and tamsulosin. • The herb does not affect PSA levels therefore PSA test results will be unaffected. • If symptoms worsen, blood is detected in the urine or acute urinary retention occurs, seek professional advice. Answers to Patients’ Frequently Asked Questions What will this herb do for me? Saw palmetto has been investigated in numerous scientific studies and shown to reduce symptoms of enlarged prostate with few side-effects. There is also some early research suggesting it may be useful in some forms of hair loss and prostatitis. When will it start to work? Symptom relief for enlarged prostate is generally experienced within 4-8 weeks. Are there any safety issues? Saw palmetto is well tolerated; however, Read more […]

Saw palmetto: Clinical Use. Dosage

The most studied saw palmetto preparation is a commercial product known as Permixon (Pierre Fabre Medicament, Castres, France), which is a liposterolic extract consisting of 80% free (e.g. 94 g/100 g extract) and 7% esterified fatty acids, as well as small amounts of sterols (beta-sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, cycloartenol), and a minimum percentage of polyprenic compounds, arabinose, glucose, galactose, uronic acid, and flavonoids. BENIGN PROSTATIC HYPERTROPHY Saw palmetto extracts are extremely popular in Europe where herbal preparations represent approximately one-third of total sales of all therapeutic agents sold for the treatment of BPH. Substantial evidence suggests that saw palmetto is an effective treatment for stages 1 and 2 of BPH. A 2002 Cochrane review assessing the results from 21 randomised trials involving 3139 men concluded that saw palmetto improves urinary scores, symptoms and urinary flow measures compared with placebo, with effects on symptoms scores and peak urine flow similar to the pharmaceutical drug finasteride. Additionally, its use is associated with fewer adverse effects compared with finasteride and typically, symptomatic relief is reported more quickly. In 2004, an updated Read more […]