When an enlarged prostate is accompanied by actual infection, botanicals with anti-microbial properties are indicated. In these cases, both Echinacea (E. angustifolia or E. purpurea) and Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) may also be considered as part of a program. Studies show that Echinacea and Goldenseal possess anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, and each has considerable traditional use in America for treating and preventing infections, although there are no studies directly associating them to the prostate.
The Benefits of Nutrition
In terms of nutritional medicine, practitioners have been using Zinc for decades to support a healthy prostate. This beneficial mineral is deficient in many American diets, and is needed for proper immune function as well as prostate health. Zinc has been shown to reduce the size of the prostate and reduce symptoms of BPH by inhibiting the activity of 5-alpha reductase (7,8). Zinc may be taken in a dosage of from 20 to 60 mg per day, and it combines well with the botanical remedies mentioned above. In addition, nutritionists find that Vitamin E, in doses ranging from 50 iu to 400 iu per day, is often effective for BPH. Furthermore, that dosage range reduces cardio-vascular risk and provides antioxidant protection for the body (9).
Homeopathy and BPH
Homeopathy is also a useful tool for treating the prostate. The remedy Sabal serrulata (which is actually Saw Palmetto in homeopathic dilution!) is often effective in treating prostatitis. According to Boericke's Materia Medica, it is useful for irritation of the genito-urinary system, including enlargement of the prostate and its resulting urinary symptoms (10). If Sabal fails, you may consider other remedies, including the Staphysagria, Thuja, Merc, or Causticum. Lower potencies-- 3X, 6X, or 12X-- taken three to four times daily usually provide good results. Obviously, it is best to consult a Materia Medica or your health care practitioner to find the appropriate remedy for your case or constitution.
Tonic Herbs and Prevention
One note about prevention according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The Chinese, who are masters at treatment before illness, believe that as age progresses the "energy" of the reproductive and hormonal systems weaken. The practitioner of TCM will often use tonic herbs in order to strengthen body function, which maintains a higher level of resistance and naturally helps to prevent disease. American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius root) and Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus root) are two of these widely used toning herbs that are especially helpful for men over the age of 40. After the acute symptoms of prostatitis are resolved, these tonic remedies may be used to support energy in general and the urogenital tract in specific. They are best taken in combination as a liquid extract, tablet, capsule, or tea for a month following an acute episode of BPH. They may be used preventatively one or two weeks per month.
A Rotational Program for Prostate Health
So, you ask, how do I begin? Although all cases of enlarged prostate need to be treated individually, the following is a simple rotational program for optimal prostate health for men in their 40's and 50's: