The Plum in Africa

By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi

Amongst the many trees with medical values common to the African continent is the African plum tree botanically called Pygeum africanum and known as local pear or 'ube' .  Extract from the bark contains active ingredients including beta-sitosterol, triterpenes, ferullic acids and other plants estrogens. Beta-sitosterol reduces absorption of cholesterol and may possess anticarcinogenic properties. Triterpenes block the enzymes responsible for destruction of connective tissues, leading to improvement in symptoms of an enlarged prostate.

The bark of Pygeum africanum is effective in promoting prostate health. It is therapeutic as well as anti-inflammatory with ability to reduce swelling. It improves urinary symptoms associated with benign prostate hyperplasia; reducing hesitation and frequency in urination. It also relieves painful urination and reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer.

Pygeum africanum improves male fertility. It contains chemicals that shrink enlarged prostate relieving pains from poor urine flow. It increases bladder elasticity and has great effects on prostate secretion. It also improves hair growth due to its ability to reduce levels of dihydrotestosterone.

Other parts of the tree are not always in use but effective in the treatment of malaria, psychosis, fever and stomache problems. Side effects of this herb may include gastrointestinal disturbances.

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