Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlarged prostate. The prostate is a small gland just under the bladder. It surrounds the tube that lets urine leave the bladder. A growing puts pressure on the tube. It can make it hard for urine to pass out of the bladder. It may also be hard to fully empty the bladder.

BPH can lead to problems with urination and frequent bathroom trips. It may need to be treated if it causes problems or is severe. Medicine can help to shrink the prostate. Surgical procedures are also available. Tissue can be removed to help the urine pathway open. Natural treatment may help ease some symptoms.

Natural Therapies

Possibly Effective

These herbs may be able to help urine flow:

May Be Effective

May Not Be Effective

These therapies do not appear to help urine flow:

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse such as:

  • Urtica dioica may cause problems in men with diabetes and kidney problems. Talk to your doctor before taking urtica dioica.
  • Saw palmetto can affect blood clotting. It can be especially harmful in those who already take blood thinners. Talk to your doctor about any medicine you may be taking.



A1. Johnstone PA, Bloom TL, et al. A prospective, randomized pilot trial of acupuncture of the kidney-bladder distinct meridian for lower urinary tract symptoms. J Urol. 2003 Mar;169(3):1037-1039.

A2. Zhang W, Ma L, et al. Acupuncture for benign prostatic hyperplasia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2017 Apr 4;12(4):e0174586.

Herbs and Supplements

B1. Berges RR, Kassen A, Senge T. Treatment of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia with beta-sitosterol: an 18-month follow-up. BJU Int. 2000;85:842-846.

B2. Wilt T, Ishani A, et al. Beta-sitosterols for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(2):CD001043.

B3. Wilt T, Ishani A, MacDonald R, et al. Pygeum africanum for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;1:CD001044.

B4. Safarinejad MR. Urtica dioica for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. J Herb Pharmacother. 2005;5(4):1–11.

B5. Bent S, Kane C, Shinohara K, et al. Saw Palmetto for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. N Engl J Med. 2006;354:557-66.

B6. Safarinejad MR. Urtica dioica for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. J Herb Pharmacother. 2006;5:1-11.

B7. Tacklind J, MacDonald R, Rutks I, Wilt TJ. Serenoa repens for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2009; CD001423.

B8. Barry MJ, Meleth S, Lee JY, et al. Effect of increasing doses of saw palmetto extract on lower urinary tract symptoms: a randomized trial. JAMA. 2011;306(12):1344–1351.

Pumpkin Seed

C1. Coulson S, Rao A, Beck SL, Steels E, Gramotnev H, Vitetta L. A phase II randomised double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial investigating the efficacy and safety of ProstateEZE Max: a herbal medicine preparation for the management of symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy. Complement Ther Med. 2013 Jun;21(3):172-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2013.01.007. Epub 2013 Feb 23. PubMed PMID: 23642948.

C2. Shirvan MK, Mahboob MR, Masuminia M, Mohammadi S. Pumpkin seed oil (prostafit) or prazosin? Which one is better in the treatment of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. J Pak Med Assoc. 2014 Jun;64(6):683-5. PubMed PMID: 25252490.

C3. Vahlensieck W, Theurer C, et al. Effects of pumpkin seed in men with lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia in the one-year, randomized, placebo-controlled GRANU study. Urol Int. 2015;94(3):286-295.

Last reviewed February 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Richard Glickman-Simon, MD
Last Updated: 2/22/2019

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