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
The Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH) Symptom Score Index can help your doctor understand how severe enlarged prostate symptoms are.
If your total score is less than seven, your symptoms are considered mild. Higher scores indicate more severe symptoms. Your doctor can discuss your scores with you -- and what they indicate about your need for treatment.
Use the following point scale to answer each of the questions. Total the score from all the questions.
0 = Not at all
3 = About...
Talk with your doctor before starting any herbal
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.1
Cernilton is an extract made from
Secale cereale, or rye grass pollen.
studies, more men who took rye grass pollen said they had improved symptoms,
compared to men who took a placebo.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.
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.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.
palmetto is made from the ripe berries of the plant Serenoa repens, the dwarf palm. The dwarf palm is a native plant in
Most studies show that taking saw palmetto doesn't help symptoms of BPH any more than taking a placebo.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.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.6
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this