Pygeum africanum bark extract has been used for thousands of years to treat symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy, or BPH. BPH is a condition where the prostate gland is enlarged and sufferers experience symptoms of frequent and painful urination. Medline Plus recommends consulting a health care provider before treating yourself with pygeum or any other herbal remedy. Today, pygeum is commonly used in Europe to reduce symptoms of BPH with few unwanted side effects.
Pygeum africanum bark extract contains several naturally-occurring chemicals that contribute to its therapeutic action. These plant chemicals are a class of triterpenes that include oleanolic, ursolic, ferulic and crataegolic acids, reports The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Other substances found in pygeum extract are phytosterols and tannins.
Pygeum africanum bark extract is derived from the African plum tree of the Rosaceae family, reports Medline Plus. African plum trees are tall evergreens that originate in parts of central and southern Africa. Pygeum africanum bark extract is standardized and sold as a supplement in a capsule or tablet form.