Pygeum Extract: Does it Work for Hair Loss?

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Pygeum Extract: Does it Work for Hair Loss?
Pygeum bark herb used in alternative herbal medicine to stimulate sexual desire, to treat enlarged benign prostrate, to heal kidney disease, reduces inflammation and has many other health benefits, in a mortar with pestle. Pygeum africanum.

Pygeum is a plant that you have probably not heard about. There is some recent debate as to if pygeum can work for helping your hair growth. However, if you keep reading, I think that you will see that this plant is worth trying out in your hair routine.

What Is Pygeum?

Pygeum is a plant, the scientific name of which is pygeum africanum. Sometimes it is called pygeum bark, as this is the part of the plant that is used. A few other names for this tree include African plum tree, African prune tree, and Prunus Africana.

This plant is a type of evergreen tree that is native to Africa. Specifically, the pygeum tree grows in sub-Saharan areas, which are the upper elevations. Though the pygeum tree can grow as tall as 150ft, it rarely reaches that height.

Because the bark is used in Africa to treat so many things, it is actually an endangered tree. It is in the conservation status in the wild, but tree farms are now being grown, both to help with its status and to grow the amount of pygeum needed to supply the market for it.

At first, pygeum was only used in Africa; it was only in the 1700s that it began to make its way to other countries. Even at that point, pygeum still didn’t take root, metaphorically speaking, until more recently.

Benefits Of Pygeum

Pygeum is known for its benefits in two different areas. One of these is prostate health, and the other one is hair loss. As for how pygeum helps with these two areas, simply put, it works as a natural DHT blocker.

As far as prostate problems go, there is one condition in particular that pygeum is most often used to help with. Benign prostatic hyperplasia is sometimes referred to as an enlarged prostate. This, like hair loss, can be caused by dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

The pygeum has chemicals in it that can aid the shrinking of our prostate down to its normal size. This decreased swelling, in turn, can help with other problems. For example, it helps with poor urine flow as well as assisting you to go a full night without you needing to go to the bathroom.

Other things that this bark can do include helping to reduce your risk of getting prostate cancer. In short, pygeum is great for your overall health in that area in every way. There have even been a few studies with pygeum that prove that this plant works for treating prostate problems of various types.

More than that, pygeum is used to treat all manner of other things in African medicine. Just a few of these are: fever, malaria, stomachache, kidney disease, inflammation, urinary problems, and even infertility and a lack of sexual desire.

However, pygeum has many other benefits to it besides its DHT-blocking properties. For starters, it is rich in fatty acids. It is also anti-inflammatory, and pygeum even has some antioxidant properties to it. Both of these last two properties are widely known for being great for your health.

For Hair

Speaking of hair, because of the way that pygeum helps with hair growth, it is often compared to saw palmetto. Like that other plant, it works as a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor. This prevents the DHT from forming in the first place, long before it starts to affect your hair.

The fatty acids that pygeum has are almost just as good for your hair as the other parts of it. These fats help keep your hair moisturized just the right amount. The assistance taking down inflammation can also be a huge help for your hair growth all on its own.

Inflammation of some kind is almost always present when you are losing your hair. When you combine the anti-inflammation with the antioxidants, you get a plant that is perfect for helping your hair grow.

However, though there is plenty of reasons why pygeum is good for your hair, there is little evidence in the form of studies. Studies on pygeum have been done to see how it affects prostate problems. None have been done, though, on how this plant affects hair.

Disadvantages Of Using Pygeum

Though this plant has plenty of benefits, as you can see, there are also a few cautions. In fact, most sellers and websites will recommend that you talk to your doctor before taking pygeum. Though this is fairly common for more concentrated herbs, it still can cause some concern.

This is not to mention that not everyone likes going to talk to their doctor, especially not to talk to them about a plant that they have likely never even heard of. However, since pygeum does work by prohibiting the making of DHT, that is something your doctor might be concerned about.

You absolutely must tell your doctor about using pygeum before you have any type of prostate examination. Taking pygeum can affect the results of these tests slightly, which can be problematic for obvious reasons.

Though most people can tolerate internal consumption of DHT blockers, it can have side effects. The most common of these side effects are abdominal pain and nausea. Other potential pygeum side effects include diarrhea, constipation, skin irritations, hives, headaches, and more.

In severe cases, pygeum can even cause tightness in the chest. In this case, stop consuming pygeum immediately and set up an appointment with your doctor. As with anything else, pygeum should only be taken in moderation. Taking more of this plant than is recommended is far more likely to cause one or more of these side effects.

How To Use Pygeum

The simplest and most prevalent way to use pygeum for your hair is in the form of a capsule that you swallow. These, obviously, are in single doses. Most of these pills and soft gels require you to take either one or two a day, which is easy to do.

Besides that, pygeum also comes in a powder form. You can put pygeum powder in and on anything you like. However, a smoothie is possibly a good way to have it to hide the taste. In African medicine, pygeum bark is often used in tea, and you can certainly add a little of this powder to your tea or coffee.

It is recommended that you don’t take more than 200 mg of pygeum at one time. Between 50 to 400 mg is perfect for most, depending on your size and if you are likely to have a reaction to it.

If you prefer using pygeum more directly for your hair, get yourself some of the pygeum powder. You can put this powder into hair masks so that the pygeum is directly on your hair. Putting some pygeum powder, mixed with coconut or jojoba oil, into your hair with a warm towel over it also works great.

You can even use pygeum powder both ways if you want to, both internally and externally. And these are just the main ways this plant can be used to help with your hair.

What To Look For When Buying Pygeum

When buying some pygeum, there are certain things that you should look for. First, pygeum is sometimes sold in a pill with a few other ingredients. The best one of these is considered to be pygeum and nettle, though some claim that pygeum and saw palmetto are better.

If you are wondering how pygeum extract is different from pygeum, well, that is just advertising. All pygeum is extracted from the bark, so there really is no difference here besides one more word on the label. Some companies will aim to charge you more for that one word, though, so don’t fall for it.

However, if it says a certain percentage along with the fact that it is an extract, pay attention to the numbers. This percentage indicates the dilution of the pygeum, or lack thereof. Since some pygeum supplements do have filler ingredients, the percentage you see is certainly something to consider.

Considering the fact that pygeum is an endangered tree, you also should verify the source. Try to ensure that the pygeum you buy was either grown on a farm or harvested responsibly.

Final Thoughts

All in all, pygeum can sometimes be more effective than saw palmetto. However, fewer studies mean that you are not as guaranteed about that fact. Since both plants work in much the same way, if one does not help your hair growth, then it is doubtful that the other will. 

Still, no two human bodies work the same way. So, it is entirely possible that pygeum will help you even if saw palmetto did not. So, even though very few studies on pygeum have been done, the fact that it prohibits the formation of DHT is proof enough that it should help your hair loss.

Considering the fact that pygeum is a natural DHT-blocker, it is much better for you than the medications and prescriptions that you can get and just as effective. Just as good, it is easy to get as well.

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Christopher is the founder of Hair Loss Geeks, which launched back in 2011. At the time there wasn't any credible information on the internet about hair loss. As someone suffering from hair loss himself, Christopher began his extensive research journey. After launching the site, he later graduated from Boston University in 2012 with his PhD in Biochemistry. What started off as a hobby project quickly became a bigger focus as it grew. Christopher hopes everyone can learn from both his experience and research.

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