What do we know about phytotherapy of benign prostatic hyperplasia?

Life Sci. 2015 Apr 1;126:42-56. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2015.01.023. Epub 2015 Feb 20.


Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is one of the most common urological diseases in aging men. Because of its long latency, BPH is a good target for prevention. The aim of the study has been to review the various options of treatment, currently available, in the field of phytotherapy. Watchful waiting, pharmacological therapy, and surgery are also helpful, depending on the severity of the disease. Although drug therapy (alpha1-blockers, 5alpha-reductase inhibitors) and surgery (prostatectomy, transurethral resection, etc.) seem to be most effective for patients with moderate-severe BPH, herbal medicines (i.e., Serenoa repens, Pygeum africanum, Urtica dioica) are also commonly used in patients with mild-moderate symptoms. On the basis of preclinical studies several mechanisms of action have been postulated, including 5alpha-reductase inhibition, alpha-adrenergic antagonism, dihydrotestosterone and estrogen receptor inhibition. Randomized clinical trials indicate significant efficacy in improving urinary symptoms and mild adverse effects for some phytotherapeutic agents, while further clinical evidence is needed for others (e.g., Epilobium spp., Secale cereale, Roystonea regia). Healthcare professionals should be constantly informed about BPH phytotherapy, taking into account the risk/benefit profile of the use of medicinal plants in the management of BPH.

Keywords: Benign prostatic hyperplasia; Clinical efficacy; Finasteride (PubChem CID: 57363); Kaempferol (PubChem CID: 5280863); Lycopene (PubChem CID: 446925); Palmitic acid (PubChem CID: 985); Phytotherapy; Review; Rooperol (PubChem CID: 6438989); Safety profile; Saw palmetto; Selenium (PubChem CID: 6326970); Stigmasterol (PubChem CID: 5280794); Tamsulosin (PubChem CID: 129211); n-Docosanol (PubChem CID: 12620); β-Sitosterol (PubChem CID: 222284).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Preparations / chemistry
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / pathology
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Plant Preparations