What are the Best Herbs for Prostate Support?
Most men will deal with some type of prostate problem during their lifetime, and the risk of something going wrong drastically increases after age 50.
Unfortunately, there's no 100% certain treatment or remedy that can ensure your prostate stays healthy. However, there are a number of herbs and other natural substances (food, vitamins, etc.) that support prostate function and give you a better chance of avoiding future problems or easing existing ones.
The sooner you start paying attention to prostate health, the better, so here's a look at what the prostate does and the best herbs for prostate support.
What is the Prostate?
The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system that wraps around the urethra (the tube that transports urine out of your bladder).
It's roughly the size and shape of a walnut and is responsible for secreting a clear fluid that helps transport and protect sperm during ejaculation. The prostate is also involved in transforming testosterone into the active form known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Starting out, the prostate gland is relatively small, but it doubles in size during the teenage years. After age 25, the prostate starts growing again and usually continues to grow indefinitely.
What Can Go Wrong with Your Prostate
The most common prostate problem is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It's a non-cancerous disease that occurs when the prostate becomes enlarged enough to press against the urethra.
When the prostate starts pushing on your urethra, urine flow can become restricted or completely obstructed. Other common symptoms of BPH include:
- Frequent need to urinate
- Difficulty urinating
- Urinary hesitancy
- Inability to urinate
- Pain during urination
Prostate cancer is another possible issue and is the second leading cause of cancer death for men in the U.S. Statistics show that about 1 in every 8 men in the U.S. will develop prostate cancer during their lifetime. (1)
Yet another common prostate problem is prostatitis, which is inflammation and/or infection of the prostate gland that often causes pain or swelling.
While most prostate problems (particularly BPH and cancer) affect older men more frequently, prostatitis is more common in young or middle-aged men.
What is Saw Palmetto?
Saw palmetto, which is a type of palm tree, has been used to support prostate health and address certain hormone-related issues for hundreds of years. An extract is typically made from the berries of the tree and can be taken in capsules or liquid form.
Studies have shown that saw palmetto may help treat or prevent BPH with particular effectiveness for reducing urinary symptoms. Some early research also indicates that it could inhibit prostate cancer cell growth. (2)(3)
You can try it yourself as part of this Prostate Health extract.
What is Nettle?
Stinging nettle is a highly nutritious herb that is one of the top choices to support the female reproductive system. In this case, it also supports the male body, specifically by helping with symptoms of BPH.
Nettle is most likely effective because it has anti-inflammatory properties and a mild diuretic effect that supports urinary tract health. (6)
Though not as well studied for prostate health as saw palmetto, one study did find that consuming 600 mg of nettle daily over an 8-week period significantly (and safely) reduced symptoms of BPH versus a placebo. (7)
What is Pipsissewa?
Pipsissewa is a plant native to Canada, the U.S., and other temperate regions in the Northern Hemisphere. It's most commonly used to support kidney and urinary health, particularly because it acts as a diuretic to flush out toxins and excess fluid.
Because it has traditionally been used to address urinary symptoms, including inflammation, pipsissewa is often included in formulas for prostate support and more specifically for BPH. (8)
Essentially, pipsissewa is not necessarily one of the best herbs for prostate support on its own, but can be incredibly effective when combined with other herbs (like saw palmetto).
What is Cleavers Herb?
Cleavers is one of those herbs that often gets called a "weed" but is highly beneficial for human health. It appears in spring and early summer and has traditionally featured in spring tonics because of its detoxifying effects.
Like nettle and pipsissewa, cleavers is considered a diuretic, which makes it beneficial for issues like cystitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostatitis, and even urinary tracts infections (UTIs).
Again, think of cleavers not as a top herb for your prostate on its own but as a supporting herb that boosts urinary health and enhances the effects of other prostate-protecting herbs.
Green tea is packed full of antioxidants and nutrients that support your overall health, promote detoxification, and reduce inflammation. It's especially notable for containing an antioxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that has anti-cancer potential.
This is significant because one of the cancers EGCG has been shown to inhibit is prostate cancer. In fact, researchers discovered an association between increased green tea consumption and a decreased risk for prostate cancer in one study. (9)
Pygeum is an herb that has been used for the treatment of urinary problems for hundreds of years and comes from the bark of the African plum tree.
Several small studies have found that pygeum can help with the symptoms of BPH and improve bladder emptying and urine flow. It also has anti-inflammatory activity that may help with prostatitis. (10)(11)
Unfortunately, pygeum has been overharvested due to its popularity in Europe and Africa. Because of this, it's better to opt for an herb like saw palmetto if possible.
What are the best Supplement for Prostate Health?
Along with the best herbs for prostate support, some diet changes or the addition of specific nutrients can really improve your chances for maintaining prostate health.
Here's a quick look at the top options.
Lycopene is an antioxidant found in tomatoes and other red, pink, or orange fruits and vegetables. Research has made a connection between higher lycopene intake and a lower risk of prostate cancer. (12)
While you can find lycopene in supplement form, it's best to get it naturally from fresh fruits and veggies, particularly tomatoes. Cook tomatoes before eating them to maximize their lycopene content.
Fruits and Vegetables
Though tomatoes may be at the top of the list because of their lycopene content, simply eating more fruits and vegetables in general is good for your prostate (and the rest of your body).
In fact, a study conducted in China over a four-year period found that a diet high in fruit and veg, particularly dark and leafy vegetables, led to fewer symptoms and occurrences of BPH. (13)
Pumpkin Seed Oil
Pumpkin seed oil may seem like an unlikely support for prostate health but recent research has shown that it has a lot of potential.
One very recent study found that pumpkin seed oil significantly reduced symptoms of BPH over a period of three months. It wasn't quite as effective as Tamsulosin, a common drug used for BPH, but it did have the benefit of zero side effects. (14)
Other research has discovered that a combination of pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto oil were more effective for BPH symptoms than a placebo and had benefits over either oil on its own. (15)
Vitamins & Minerals
There are a few specific vitamins and minerals that are associated with better prostate health. It may be worth checking into a quality supplement if you think you may not be getting enough of the following:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
How to Support Your Prostate Naturally?
There are several ways you can support your prostate naturally, particularly by eating a healthy diet and taking care of your body as a whole.
To get an extra boost, try taking some of the best herbs for prostate support in an herbal formula like this Prostate Health extract. By taking them in combination, you'll be able to get a range of benefits from each different herb.
At the end of the day, there's no guarantee you'll never face a prostate problem, but you can do your best to keep your prostate healthy for as long as possible.
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice and should not be substituted for medical advice. Please consult your health care provider, herbalist, midwife, or naturopathic physician before taking herbs, supplements, etc. Here's the link to our full disclaimer.