African prune bark is used for the symptomatic treatment of urinary disorders associated with early stages of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) - which is an enlarged prostate.

What is Pygeum africanum?

African prune bark, also known as Pygeum africanum, is bark from a tall forest evergreen tree that grows in the mountains of tropical Africa where annual rainfalls exceed 1200 mm. The bark is red, brown or grey and has been used medicinally for thousands of years.1 

The history of Pygeum africanum

Since the early 19th century, tribes in Africa have used ground African prune bark to flavour water, tea or milk. Zulus in Africa found beneficial effects of the bark on urinary symptoms and African sorcerers used the bark for stomach pains and urinary disorders.1 

Today, due to worldwide increase in demand for Pygeum africanum extract for its treatment of symptoms association with BPH, there are strict regulations on its harvest and trade. Only adult trees with a diameter of at least 30 cm undergo partial bark harvest that does not compromise the tree’s survival.1 

The specific standardised extract used by Flordis

The specific standardised Pygeum africanum extract used by Flordis is known as PY102. The major compounds of this extract are 3-beta-sitosterol, sitosterol and its derivatives, fatty acids and its derivatives, oleanolic acids and ursolic acid.1 
It’s important that the evidence supports the specific plant extract - and not only the ingredient. The Pygeum africanum extract used by Flordis, PY102, in combination with the Urtica dioica extract UR102, has been very well researched and has demonstrated good results in clinical trials.3-6,10

Specific standardised extracts of African prune bark are used in Prostatonin® which helps to relieve symptoms of BPH.​

As Flordis uses a fixed Pygeum africanum and Urtica dioica extract combination for the symptomatic treatments of BPH, this particular extract combination as a whole is considered the pharmacologically active compound.

How it works

The mechanism of action of Pygeum is still being studied however extracts of Pygeum africanum has been studied in in vitro and in vivo studies as well as in clinical studies.8

The following modes of action, related to the BPH, have been identified for Pygeum africanum: hormonal metabolism (inhibition of the 5-alpha reductase, Inhibition of the aromatase), anti-inflammatory (inhibition of the production of leukotrienes and other metabolites of the 5-LOX, and inhibition of pro-inflammatory cytokines), anti-proliferative action on fibroblasts, action on the functionality of prostate (modulation of its contractility).

Specific mode of action of the combination between Pygeum africanum UR102 and Urtica dioica UR102 have been also conducted in two studies:

An in vitro pre-clinical study has also shown the combined effect of Pygeum africanum PY102 and Urtica dioica UR102 had a significantly anti-proliferation activity of prostatic cells than Pygeum africanum alone in human cultured prostatic fibroblasts with BPH. The study also found an increased anti-inflammatory action with both extracts together compared to Pygeum africanum and Urtica dioica alone.7

The multiple mechanism of action of Pygeum africanum PY102 and Urtica dioica UR102 extracts have also been found to have a synergistic action that inhibit the enzymes 5-alpha-reductase and aromatase.9

 

Key studies on Pygeum africanum

A Cochrane systematic review of randomised controlled studies assessed 18 studies (17 were double –blind) involving more than 1500 men over an average of 64 days found a standardised preparation of Pygeum africanum may be a useful treatment option for men with lower urinary symptoms consistent with BPH compared to placebo (no treatment).2

Pygeum africanum in combination with Urtica dioica (Prostatonin) has been therapeutically indicated for the symptomatic treatment of dysuria, pollakiuria, nocturia and urine retention in BPH in five clinical studies.3-6,10

 

 

References

1. Data on file.  2. Wilt T Ishani A MacDonald R et al. Pygeum africanum for benign prostatic hyperplasia Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2003;1.  3. Camponovo & Maranta Benign prostate adenoma: the value of phytotherapeutics in the treatment Inf Arzt 1990;12:1121-8.  4. Krzeski et al. Combined extracts of urtica dioica and pygeum africanum in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: double-blind comparison of two doses Clin Ther 1993;15(6):1011-1020. 5. Montanari et al.  Benign prostatic hyperplasia. Differential therapy with phytopharmacological agents – a randomised study of 63 patients Inf Arzt 1991;6a:593-8.  6. Omnisanjo O et al. Effect of the plant extracts pygeum africanum and urtica dioica on lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia in Nigerian men. The Internet Journal of Urology. 2012 Volume 9, number 2.  7. Dugnani S Lucini V Vignutelli A et al. Anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory effects of pygeum africanum and urtica dioica compared to finasteride on human cultured prostatic fibroblasts. International Conference on Advances in Plant Science November 14-28 2012; Chiang Mai, Thailand.  8. Pruni africanae cortex: Pygeum bark ESCOP Scientific Foundation for Herbal Medicinal Products. Monographs, Supplement 2nd ed. Stuttgart, Thieme Verlag 2009;206-212.  9. Hartmann RW. Mark M. Soldati F. Inhibition of 5-alpha-reductase and aromatase by PHL-00801 (Prostatonin), a combination of PY102 (Pygeum africanum) and UR102 (urtica dioica) extracts Phytomedicine 1996;3(20):121-8.  10. Dieguez V, Szemat R. Estudio clínico comparative del uso de Terazosina y extracto de Urtica dioica Y Pygeum africanum en pacientes con hiperplasia prostática benigna. 8 Meses de tratamiento. Rev Ven Urol 2003;49(1), 23-31