Alternative medicine

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Studies on alternative therapy for an enlarged prostate have had mixed results. Sometimes these treatments appear to help, while other times, they don't. Saw palmetto extract, which is made from the ripe berries of the saw palmetto shrub, were believed to help reduce the symptoms of an enlarged prostate. But, research has found that the herbal treatment is no more effective than a placebo.

Because there's no strong evidence that any herbal treatment can relieve urinary symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate, the American Urological Association doesn't recommend any herbal treatments. In addition, certain herbal products may increase your risk of bleeding or interfere with other medications you're taking.

Some of the herbal treatments that have been suggested as helpful for reducing enlarged prostate symptoms include:

  • Saw palmetto extract, made from the ripe berries of the saw palmetto shrub
  • Beta-sitosterol extracts, made from several plants, such as certain grasses and trees
  • Pygeum, an oil made from the bark of an African prune tree
  • Ryegrass extract, made from ryegrass pollen
  • Stinging nettle extract, made from the root of the stinging nettle plant

If you take any herbal remedies, be sure to tell your doctor. These may help treat some of your symptoms but are generally less effective than are prescription medications.

Dec. 06, 2011