Herbs listed below may be helpful with male health issues such as prostatic hyperplasia and sperm count.
Recipes for Men
The listings of research below represent a compilation of scientific articles found on the topic, with a very brief overview description of each article/study. This compilation of research articles does not necessarily imply that there are adequate results to demonstrate safe and/or effective human use of any herb listed.
- In a double blind study, a Saw palmetto herbal blend that included pumpkin seed was safe and effective for men with moderately symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. From: Marks, L. S., Partin, A. W., Epstein, J. I., Tyler, V. E., Simon, I., Macairan, M. L., … & Santos, P. B. C. (2000). Effects of a saw palmetto herbal blend in men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. The Journal of urology, 163(5), 1451-1456.
- The phytosterol curbicin, as found in pumpkins seeds and the dwarf palm plant, improved symptoms of prostatic hyperplasia in a double blind study. From: CARBIN, B. E., Larsson, B., & Lindahl, O. (1990). Treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia with phytosterols. BJU International, 66(6), 639-641.
- An herbal product containing pumpkin seed oil, saw palmetto, nettle root, lemon bioflavonoid, and vitamin A reduced symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia in a large double blind study. From: Friederich, M., Theurer, C., & Schiebel-Schlosser, G. (2000). Prosta Fink Forte®-Kapseln in der Behandlung der benignen Prostatahyperplasie. Eine multizentrische Anwendungsbeobachtung an 2245 Patienten. Forschende Komplementärmedizin/Research in Complementary Medicine, 7(4), 200-204.
- In a double blind study, Korean men showed reduced symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia with the use of pumpkin seed and saw palmetto oil. From: Hong, H., Kim, C. S., & Maeng, S. (2009). Effects of pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto oil in Korean men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. Nutrition research and practice, 3 (4), 323-327.
- This case study comparing green tea drinkers to non-green tea drinkers demonstrated that drinking green tea regularly reduced the likelihood of prostate cancer. From: Jian, L., Xie, L. P., Lee, A. H., & Binns, C. W. (2004). Protective effect of green tea against prostate cancer: a case‐control study in southeast China. International journal of cancer, 108(1), 130-135.
- Extract of Vitex agnus-castus inhibited prostate epithelial cell growth and induced apoptosis; being a potential treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia and human prostate cancer. From: Weisskopf, M., Schaffner, W., Jundt, G., Sulser, T., Wyler, S., & Tullberg-Reinert, H. (2005). A Vitex agnus-castus extract inhibits cell growth and induces apoptosis in prostate epithelial cell lines. Planta medica, 71(10), 910-916.
- Red clover isoflavones reduced non-malignant prostatic growth in mice by acting as anti-androgenic agents. From: Jarred, R. A., McPherson, S. J., Jones, M. E., Simpson, E. R., & Risbridger, G. P. (2003). Anti‐androgenic action by red clover‐derived dietary isoflavones reduces non‐malignant prostate enlargement in aromatase knockout (arko) mice. The Prostate, 56(1), 54-64.
- In a one year study with 1,431 men ages 50-80 with urinary tract symptoms suggestive of benign prostatic hyperplasia, taking a pumpkin seed extract, symptoms were significantly reduced compared to the placebo without side effects. From: Vahlensieck, W., Theurer, C., Pfitzer, E., Patz, B., Banik, N., & Engelmann, U. (2015). 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. Urologia internationalis, 94(3), 286-295.
- Pumpkin seed oil inhibited testosterone-induced hyperplasia of the prostate in rats. From: Gossell-Williams, M., Davis, A., & O’connor, N. (2006). Inhibition of testosterone-induced hyperplasia of the prostate of sprague-dawley rats by pumpkin seed oil. Journal of Medicinal Food, 9(2), 284-286.
- In a review of research, including 4 clinical studies, Cucurbita was effective in reducing urinary tract symptoms related to benign prostatic hyperplasia; more research is warranted. From: Damiano, R., Cai, T., Fornara, P., Franzese, C. A., Leonardi, R., & Mirone, V. (2016). The role of Cucurbita pepo in the management of patients affected by lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia: A narrative review. Archivio Italiano di Urologia e Andrologia, 88(2), 136-143.
- This article provided a review of research on the use of pumpkin seed oil for benign prostatic hyperplasia. From: Đorđević, I., Milutinović, M., Kostić, M., Đorđević, B., Dimitrijević, M., Stošić, N., … & Kitić, D. (2016). Phytotherapeutic approach to benign prostatic hyperplasia treatment by pumpkin seed (Cucurbita pepo L., Cucurbitaceae). Acta Medica Medianae, 55(3), 76-84.
- In a study of 45 male volunteers with urinary disfunction related to an overactive bladder, taking a pumpkin seed oil extract for 12 weeks helped reduced symptoms. From: Nishimura, M., Ohkawara, T., Sato, H., Takeda, H., & Nishihira, J. (2014). Pumpkin seed oil extracted from Cucurbita maxima improves urinary disorder in human overactive bladder. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine, 4(1), 72-74.
- Withania somnifera reduced oxidative stress and improved sperm count and motility in 75 men with fertility issues. From: Ahmad, M. K., Mahdi, A. A., Shukla, K. K., Islam, N., Rajender, S., Madhukar, D., … & Ahmad, S. (2010). Withania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males. Fertility and sterility, 94(3), 989-996.
- In a study of 80 male patients, taking a fenugreek supplement significantly increased sperm counts and pregnancy rate. From: Al-khalisy, M. H. (2015). Treatment of Men Infertility using Low doses of Fenugreek Oil Extract. Group, 29.
- Forty-six male patients with oligospermia taking ashwagandha for three times a day for 90 days showed a 167% increase in sperm count, 53% increase in semen volume , and 57% increase in sperm motility. From: Ambiye, V. R., Langade, D., Dongre, S., Aptikar, P., Kulkarni, M., & Dongre, A. (2013). Clinical evaluation of the spermatogenic activity of the root extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in oligospermic males: a pilot study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013.
- Foods high in zinc, such as pumpkin seeds, may help improve male fertility. A study of male semen and plasma samples found a possible coorelation between sperm count and zinc levels. From: Colagar, A. H., Marzony, E. T., & Chaichi, M. J. (2009). Zinc levels in seminal plasma are associated with sperm quality in fertile and infertile men. Nutrition Research, 29(2), 82-88.
- A 100 daily mg ingestion of black pepper reduced fertility in mice. From: Mishra, R. K., & Singh, S. K. (2009). Antispermatogenic and antifertility effects of fruits of Piper nigrum L. in mice.
- Physical performance improved without side effects in 60 male subjects who took a fenugreek supplement over 8 weeks. From: Wankhede, S., Mohan, V., & Thakurdesai, P. (2016). Beneficial effects of fenugreek glycoside supplementation in male subjects during resistance training: A randomized controlled pilot study. Journal of Sport and Health Science, 5(2), 176-182.
- In a 16 week study with 43 overweight men ages 40-70, taking an ashwagandha supplement increased testosterone levels compared to the placebo. There were not significant differences in cortisol or estradiol levels. From: Lopresti, A. L., Drummond, P. D., & Smith, S. J. (2019). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study examining the hormonal and vitality effects of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in aging, overweight males. American journal of men’s health, 13(2), 1557988319835985.
- A review of the uses of Panax ginseng is provided. Systematic reviews have shown it reduces a cold and helps with erectile disfunction. Nonsystematic reviews suggest it may help reduce cancer, cancer fatigue, and viral myocarditis. From: Ernst, E. (2010). Panax ginseng: an overview of the clinical evidence. Journal of Ginseng Research, 34(4), 259-263.
Compiled by: Kathy Sadowski