By Michelle Fletcher
Prostate disorders affect millions of men in the United States each year. Not just afflicting the elderly, over half of 49-50 year-old men have enlarged prostates, and a 1 in 4 chance of developing cancerous cells.
Located just below the bladder, the prostate is a walnut-sized gland that produces seminal fluid. Disorders of the prostate may include inflammation called prostatitis, enlargement of the gland, and cancer. Fortunately, much of this can be avoided through proper nutrition and supplementation. Fruit- and vegetable-rich diets aid in protecting the prostate from illness, supplying the essential nutrients needed to ensure healthy function for decades. A surprisingly high proportion of prostate disorder patients rely on complementary health practices not prescribed by physicians, according to a study by Gary D. Kao, M.D., Ph.D
For thousands of years, herbal remedies have aided in preventing and treating prostate disorders and illnesses. First and foremost is Saw Palmetto which is taken from the berries of a small palm tree growing in the southeastern coastal United States. A traditional Native American remedy, saw palmetto contains beta-sitosterol and other plant estrogens that aid in reducing prostate enlargement. The herb inhibits certain enzymes that initiate prostate growth. According to recent studies, it is widely used in many Asian, African and European countries and compositional analysis of the berry of S. repens exhibits sterols and free fatty acids as its major constituents.
Soy may also represent hope for those suffering from prostate disorders. According to a University of Michigan study, a variety of laboratory and epidemiologic research suggests soy may play a role in the prevention of prostate cancer. Soy has been found to decrease the growth of prostate cancer cells, and can also be used for preventative medicine.
An antioxidant found in tomatoes, called Lycopene may also help lower the risk of prostate cancer. The National Cancer Institute reports that men who consumed more lycopene suffered less prostate cancer, after an analysis of over 72 research studies. The antioxidant aids in both prostate cancer prevention and treatment.
Nettle is an energy stimulant, used to treat hay fever, digestive weakness, and joint support. During times of lost appetite and energy, this herb stimulates metabolic activity which may aid in ensuring prostate health. The herb may also help alleviate symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
In alternative medicine, Pygeum is often administered with Saw Palmetto. Obtained from a tree bark, it is an indigenous African remedy that aids in treating prostate enlargement.
Prepared from rye pollen, Cernilton is documented for treating BHP and prostatitis. German studies show that the herb produces an anti-edematous and anti-inflammatory effect on subjects.
Alternative medicine offers numerous non-invasive treatments for prostate illness prevention and therapy. Supplementing a healthy diet with these powerful herbs could help prevent serious prostate illness and cancer later in life.