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October 2014 Herbal Newsletter 
A Focus on Prostate Health
Articles by Susun Weed
A Growing Problem with Prostates
Enlargement of the prostate gland, BPH (benign prostate hypertrophy), is a common problem for Western men. Fifty percent of 50 year-old American (and European) men have an enlarged prostate. Treatment of BPH costs over $2 billion annually in the US and results in more than 300,000 surgical procedures.
There are many excellent remedies for BPH, including bee pollen, pumpkin seeds, nettle roots, and saw palmetto.
Bee pollen (especially from rye grass) is a traditional European remedy. A daily dose is half a teaspoonful of local bee pollen or two 252 mg tablets of extract. In double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, 69% of those who took flower pollen extract got relief from BPH symptoms.
Pumpkin seeds contain essential fatty acids which reduce prostate swelling, as well as cucurbitacins which prevent testosterone from changing to DHT (dihydroxytestosterone). High levels of DHT are associated with BPH and hair loss. The effective dose is two heaping tablespoons daily.
Nettle roots have a “significant antiproliferative effect” on prostate cells. Standardized extracts are available. Or drink 1-2 cups of infusion.
Saw palmetto berry tincture is said to invigorate desire, rejuvenate ability, improve sexual performance, reduce prostate swelling, and improve urinary functioning. Saw palmetto has been tested repeatedly against the most commonly prescribed BPH drugs (such as Proscar); it comes out ahead time and again. Saw palmetto tastes funny, but it works like a charm. 
Saw Palmetto Struts Its Stuff
Extract of saw palmetto is one of the most widely prescribed prostate medications in Europe. Millions of German and French, and more than two million American men currently take saw palmetto berry in some form.
Saw palmetto berries are rich in phytosterols, fatty acids, lipase and tannins. But, “like so many other herbal medicines, saw palmetto is more than the sum of its chemical parts,” Dr. James Duke reminds us in The Green Pharmacy. Saw palmetto “not only works on more levels than the synthetic [drugs], it works much quicker and for a greater number of people.”
Proscar has a 50% response rate after six months. Saw palmetto’s is 90% after three months. Only 1% of those taking saw palmetto experience erection difficulties, compared to 5% of those taking finasteride.
Studies show saw palmetto:
  • Blockades androgen receptors, to interfere with DHT’s ability to stimulate the growth and division of prostate cells.
  • Inhibits 5-alpha-reductase, to reduce the conversion of testosterone into DHT.
  • Disrupts the arachidonic cascade, to countering inflammation and relieve LUTS.
  • Competes for estrogen receptors, to prevent prostate cancer.
  • Decreases lower urinary tract infection symptoms; reduces the volume of residual urine, urinary frequency, nocturia, dysuria and prostate size. A meta-study including over 3000 men, found those who used saw palmetto for six months improved the force of their urination by fifty percent, compared to those on a placebo. More than one-third reported complete elimination of urinary symptoms.
A dose of saw palmetto tincture or standardized extract (85-95 percent fatty acids) is 2-4 dropperfuls, taken twice a day. Dosing usually begins at a high levels and can be reduced as symptoms remiss. A 320 mg dose of saw palmetto berry extract is three times stronger than the standard dose of finasteride. The dose of infusion, using 1 ounce of dried berries in 4 cups of water, is 2-4 cups a day.
Set the Table for Prostate Health
What you eat has a tremendous impact on the health of your prostate. Diets rich in green and yellow produce, zinc, isoflavones, essential fatty acids, vitamin C, beta-carotene and lutein confer the lowest risk of BPH. Particularly effective foods include orange juice, peas, peaches, and winter squash.
Men who eat green foods daily – such as spinach, kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, peas and nourishing herbal infusions – have a 17 percent lower risk of BPH than men who eat a serving a week. Men who eat 3/4 of a cup of yellow foods daily – such as carrots, peaches, yams, cantaloupe, yellow squash, papaya and apricots – have a 13 percent lower risk of BPH than men who eat just one serving a week.
Zinc reduces prostate swelling by countering prolactin production. Best food sources include raw oysters (30mg per ounce), beef and lambshank (2.5mg per ounce), pumpkin seeds (8 mg per half-cup), lentils, peas, beans, garlic, whole grains and organic dairy.
Isoflavones block the action of 5-alpha-reductase and reduce prostate swelling. Minimally processed soy products, such as tamari, miso, tofu, edamame and soy nuts, are one way to get isoflavones. So are most beans (legumes), especially lima beans, black beans, green beans and lentils. Aim for 2-4 servings of beans a week. Or, drink a quart of red clover infusion several times a week.
Men who eat the most omega-3 fatty acids – found in flax seeds (but not in flax oil), purslane, salmon and small fish, like sardines, herring, and anchovies – have less prostate enlargement, a stronger urine flow and less retention of urine.
In one small study, two-thirds of those taking essential fatty acids had complete elimination of residual urine in the bladder and a reduction in nocturia.
In this issue:
Is Saw Palmetto an Aphrodesiac
Saw palmetto berries stimulate circulation to the genitals, improve thyroid functioning, reduce fluid retention, improve immune system functioning and strengthen the kidneys. King’s American Dispensatory, 1898, recommends saw palmetto for men with low libido and impotence.
Saw palmetto is considered an aphrodisiac for women, too. They use saw palmetto to alleviate cystitis and interstitial cystitis; and ease irritations of the uterus and ovaries, including ovarian enlargement, PCOS, fibroids and CPP.
Cautions: Since saw palmetto changes hormone levels, it is not considered safe to take during pregnancy. It may interfere with hormonal birth control is used regularly. 
Like Proscar, saw palmetto can trigger breast growth. Will it, like Proscar, cause birth defects? Herbalists don’t think so, but no one really knows for sure.
Some critics claim that taking saw palmetto “artificially” lowers PSA. Dr. Duke isn’t worried. “To one degree or another,” he says, “all plants contain PSA-reducing sterols. For instance, most beans contain genistein, an alpa-reductase inhibitor. Where is the advisory against eating these foods?”
Make Your Own Medicine
To make your own saw palmetto tincture, use four oz of fresh or dried berries. Put the berries in a jar – a pint for fresh berries, a quart jar for dried berries – and fill the jar with 100 proof vodka. Cap tightly. Ready for use in six weeks. Men who’ve had no success with saw palmetto in capsules, find the tincture amazingly effective.
Get to Know Your Local Herbalist

Karen Henderson, MS, MPH, CMT is the Owner and Operator of The Wright Touch, LLC Holistic Wellness Practice and Herb Farm in Caroline County, Virginia. She received her Herbal training from Maryland University of Integrated Health (MUIH), Laurel, Maryland and Sacred Plant Traditions, Charlottesville, Virginia. Karen is also a Licensed Massage Therapist and Certified Health Coach. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please visit,
or contact Karen at
Prostate Fun Facts
The prostate is the same tissue as the uterus. All of us are female initially. Those with XX chromosomes remain women. Those with XY chromosomes morph into men. The fetalprostate is formed when the tissues of the fetal uterus settle in under the bladder and grow around the urethra like a donut.
The prostate grows throughout childhood. After reaching its mature size at puberty, it stops growing. From puberty until mid-life, the prostate makes no new cells, not even ordinary replacement cells for ones that have become injured or mutated.
Beta-sitosterol supplelments, 30-120 mg per day, are used in Europe to treat BPH.
Tumeric root, 2 capsules, 3 times a day, is another remedy for men with BPH.
To eliminate prostate pain, eliminate coffee, cayenne, black pepper, and alcohol.
Men who walk at least two hours a week have a 25 percent lower risk of BPH.
Obese men are 3-4 times more likely to have an enlarged prostate.
“I am loathe to prescribe saw palmetto unless absolutely necessary. It seems to have a distinctly erosive feminizing effect on the male body.” Herbalist Ryan Drum
Gotta Go! Can't Go!
When the prostate enlarges, it presses on the tube that carries urine out of the body. This pressure results in lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) that can be bothersome, annoying, or impossible to live with.
Men with BPH may need to pee nine or ten times a night; they may feel the need almost constantly, but be unable to get a flow going; they may, worst for their health, be unable to completely empty their bladder. The herbs in this newsletter can help.
Your prostate is swollen, if you have any of these symptoms:
  • A frequent need to urination at night (nocturia)
  • Intense, urgent, constant desire to urinate
  • Unable to urinate without straining
  • Difficulty initiating urination, with delays of up to a minute
  • A weak, inconstant, start-and-stop flow of urine
  • Dribbling and leaking after urination
The Wright Touch LLC  •  11247 Michaels Road  •  Woodford, VA 22580
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