African Potato, Bantu Tulip, Hypoxis, Hypoxis hemerocallidea, Hypoxis Plant, Hypoxis rooperi, Papa Silvestre Africana, Pomme de Terre Sauvage d'Afrique, South African Star Grass, Sterretjie.<br/><br/>


Overview Information

African wild potato is a plant. People use it to make medicine.

The African wild potato is used for urinary tract disorders including bladder infections (cystitis), prostate problems including benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer; other cancers; and lung disease. It is also used for tuberculosis, arthritis, and a skin condition called psoriasis, as well as for delaying AIDS symptoms in people who are HIV-positive.

Some people apply African wild potato directly to the skin to promote wound healing.

How does it work?

African wild potato contains chemicals that might decrease inflammation.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Possibly Effective for

  • Trouble urinating because of an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH). African wild potato contains a chemical called beta-sitosterol, which seems to improve symptoms of BPH. In research, some specific African wild potato extracts (Harzol, Azuprostat) taken by mouth alone, or in combination with other beta-sitosterol sources, reduced urinary symptoms of BPH and improved quality of life.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Lung cancer. Early research suggests that hypoxoside, an African wild potato extract, might help people with lung cancerlive longer.
  • Bladder infections.
  • Cancer.
  • Lung disease.
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
  • Tuberculosis (TB).
  • Arthritis.
  • A skin condition called psoriasis.
  • Wound healing.
  • Improving the immune system.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of African wild potato for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

Some African wild potato products are POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth. Side effects include nausea, indigestion, gas, diarrhea, or constipation, and possibly sexual side effects such as trouble getting an erection or less interest in sex. However, other African wild potato products have been associated with decreased production of blood cells and irregular heartbeat.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking African wild potato if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Diabetes: African wild potato might lower blood sugar. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use African wild potato.

Kidney disease: African wild potato might decrease kidney function. This might make symptoms worse in people with kidney disease.

A rare inherited fat storage disease called sitosterolemia: People with sitosterolemia tend to develop early heart disease and also tend to accumulate cholesterol deposits under the skin. The beta-sitosterol in African wild potato can make this condition worse. If you have sitosterolemia, don’t use African wild potato.

Surgery: African wild potato might lower blood sugar levels. There is some concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using African wild potato at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.



We currently have no information for AFRICAN WILD POTATO Interactions.



The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): African wild potato containing 60 to 130 mg of beta-sitosterol divided into 2-3 doses daily.

View References


  • Albrecht CF, Kruger PB, Smit BJ, et al. The pharmacokinetic behaviour of hypoxoside taken orally by patients with lung cancer in a phase I trial. S Afr Med J 1995;85(9):861-865. View abstract.
  • Barsom S. [Conservative therapy of prostatic adenomas with sitosterin from Hypoxis roperi. Results of a clinical study]. ZFA (Stuttgart ) 1978;54(20):1067-1069. View abstract.
  • Brauer H, Schomann C. [Tolerance of beta-sitosterin from Hypoxis rooperi in patients with limited liver function. Results of a controlled double-blind study]. Fortschr Med 1978;96(15):833-834. View abstract.
  • Dreikorn K, Schonhofer PS. [Status of phytotherapeutic drugs in treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia]. Urologe A 1995;34(2):119-129. View abstract.
  • Fagelman E, Lowe FC. Herbal medications in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Urol Clin North Am 2002;29(1):23-9, vii. View abstract.
  • Gaidamashvili M, van Staden J. Interaction of lectin-like proteins of South African medicinal plants with Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis. J Ethnopharmacol 2002;80(2-3):131-135. View abstract.
  • Kruger PB, Albrecht CF, Liebenberg RW, et al. Studies on hypoxoside and rooperol analogues from Hypoxis rooperi and Hypoxis latifolia and their biotransformation in man by using high-performance liquid chromatography with in-line sorption enrichment and diode-array detection. J Chromatogr B Biomed Appl 1994;662(1):71-78. View abstract.
  • Lowe FC, Fagelman E. Phytotherapy in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Curr Opin Urol 2002;12(1):15-18. View abstract.
  • Lowe FC. Phytotherapy in the management of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Urology 2001;58(6 Suppl 1):71-76. View abstract.
  • Musabayane CT, Xozwa K, Ojewole JA. Effects of Hypoxis hemerocallidea (Fisch. & C.A. Mey.) [Hypoxidaceae] corm (African Potato) aqueous extract on renal electrolyte and fluid handling in the rat. Ren Fail 2005;27(6):763-770. View abstract.
  • Ojewole JA. Antiinflammatory properties of Hypoxis hemerocallidea corm (African potato) extracts in rats. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol 2002;24(10):685-687. View abstract.
  • Ojewole JA. Antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory and antidiabetic properties of Hypoxis hemerocallidea Fisch. & C.A. Mey. (Hypoxidaceae) corm ['African Potato'] aqueous extract in mice and rats. J Ethnopharmacol 2006;103(1):126-134. View abstract.
  • Risa J, Risa A, Adsersen A, et al. Screening of plants used in southern Africa for epilepsy and convulsions in the GABAA-benzodiazepine receptor assay. J Ethnopharmacol 2004;93(2-3):177-182. View abstract.
  • Vahlensieck W, Jr. [With alpha blockers, finasteride and nettle root against benign prostatic hyperplasia. Which patients are helped by conservative therapy?]. MMW Fortschr Med 2002;144(16):33-36. View abstract.
  • Wilt TJ, Ishani A, Rutks I, et al. Phytotherapy for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Public Health Nutr 2000;3(4A):459-472. View abstract.
  • Berges RR, Kassen A, Senge T. Treatment of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia with beta-sitosterol: an 18-month follow-up. BJU Int 2000;85:842-6. View abstract.
  • Berges RR, Windeler J, Trampisch HJ, et al. Randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of beta-sitosterol in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Beta-sitosterol Study Group. Lancet 1995;345:1529-32. View abstract.
  • Berges RR, Windeler J, Trampisch HJ, et al. Randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of beta-sitosterol in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Lancet 1995;345:1529-32. View abstract.
  • Ker J. Ventricular tachycardia as an adverse effect of the African potato (Hypoxis sp.). Cardiovasc J S Afr 2005;16:55. View abstract.
  • Klippel KF, Hiltl DM, Schipp B. A multicentric, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of beta-sitosterol (phytosterol) for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Br J Urol 1997;80:427-32. View abstract.
  • Law M. Plant sterol and stanol margarines and health. BMJ 2000;320:861-4. View abstract.
  • Mahomed IM, Ojewole JA. Hypoglycemic effect of Hypoxis hemerocallidea corm (African potato) aqueous extract in rats. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol 2003;25:617-23. View abstract.
  • Mills E, Foster BC, van Heeswijk R, et al. Impact of African herbal medicines on antiretroviral metabolism. AIDS. 2005;19(1):95-7. View abstract.
  • Nguyen LB, Shefer S, Salen G, et al. Competitive inhibition of hepatic sterol 27-hydroxylase by sitosterol: decreased activity in sitosterolemia. Proc Assoc Am Physicians 1998;110:32-9. View abstract.
  • Nicoletti M, Galeffi C, Messana I, et al. Hypoxidaceae. Medicinal uses and the norlignan constituents. J Ethnopharmacol 1992;36:95-101. View abstract.
  • Oster P, Schlierf G, Heuck CC, et al. [Sitosterol in familial hyperlipoproteinemia type II. A randomized, double-blind, cross-over study]. Dtsch Med Wochenschr 1976;101:1308-11. View abstract.
  • Patel SB, Honda A, Salen G. Sitosterolemia: exclusion of genes involved in reduced cholesterol biosynthesis. J Lipid Res 1998;39:1055-61. View abstract.
  • Salen G, Shefer S, Nguyen L, et al. Sisterolemia. J Lipid Res 1992;33:945-55. View abstract.
  • Salen G, Shore V, Tint GS, et al. Increased sitosterol absorption, decreased removal, and expanded body pools compensate for reduced cholesterol synthesis in sitosterolemia with xanthomatosis. J Lipid Res 1989;30:1319-30. View abstract.
  • Smit BJ, Albrecht CF, Liebenberg RW, et al A phase I trial of hypoxoside as an oral prodrug for cancer therapy--absence of toxicity. S Afr Med J 1995;85:865-70. View abstract.
  • Stalenhoef AF, Hectors M, Demacker PN. Effect of plant sterol-enriched margarine on plasma lipids and sterols in subjects heterozygous for phytosterolaemia. J Intern Med 2001;249:163-6.. View abstract.
  • Stalenhoef AF. Images in clinical medicine. Phytosterolemia and xanthomatosis. N Engl J Med 2003;349:51.. View abstract.
  • Steenkamp V, Gouws MC, Gulumian M, et al. Studies on antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of herbal remedies used in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostatitis. J Ethnopharmacol 2006;103:71-5. View abstract.
  • Weststrate JA, Meijer GW. Plant sterol-enriched margarines and reduction of plasma total- and LDL-cholesterol concentrations in normocholesterolaemic and mildly hypercholesterolaemic subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr 1998;52:334-43. View abstract.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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