Saw palmetto is an herbal remedy that comes from a type of palm tree. It’s been used in traditional medicine for centuries to relieve urinary symptoms, including those caused by an enlarged prostate. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a few small-scale studies have suggested that saw palmetto might be effective for relieving BPH symptoms.
However, the NIH reports that when larger studies were conducted, they didn’t find saw palmetto any more effective than an inactive pill (placebo). Saw palmetto is safe, though, and it doesn’t cause any serious side effects.
Pygeum comes from the bark of the African plum tree and has been used in traditional medicine to treat urinary problems since ancient times. It’s often used to treat BPH symptoms, especially in Europe. Because studies on pygeum haven’t been well designed, it’s hard to know for sure whether it’s effective. The American Academy of Family Physicians does not recommend its use.
Still, a small study reported in Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that when prepared with other herbal remedies, it helps reduce the number of trips to the bathroom — both during the day and at night. Pygeum is safe, but it can cause stomach upset in some people who take it.
Rye Grass Pollen Extract
Rye grass pollen extracts are made from three types of grass pollen — rye, timothy, and corn. A review of studies published in BJU International found that men who were taking rye grass pollen extracts reported an improvement in their symptoms compared to those who were taking a placebo.
This supplement seems to be especially helpful for preventing the need to get up during the night and use the bathroom. It can also help men urinate more completely, so there is less urine left in the bladder afterwards.