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Natural active ingredients also in the most effective way of treatment - the prevention
Problems in the urinary system can be caused by aging, illness, or injury. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlargement of the prostate gland that can interfere with urinary function in older (over 50 years) men. These binign tumours of epithelial origin used to come into existence due to hormonal dysfunction with or without symptoms.
BPH is a condition in men that affects the prostate gland (sometimes called the second heart of man). This organ is located at the bottom of the bladder and surrounds the urethra. As the prostate grows larger, it may press on the urethra which can cause narrowing and trouble with urination. Characteristic symptoms are: frequent and painful urination, difficulties with uresis, bladder dysfunction (voiding dysfunction). Due to the urinary retention, the urine becomes infected, and catarrhal complaints may arise. Long lasting retention may lead to kidney insufficiency. The majority of patients turn to a doctor only when they notice the stagnation of the urine.
According to our present knowledge, first of all the dihydrotestosteron (DHT) plays a role in the pathogenesis of the disorder. This androgenic hormone, which is responsible for the growth of prostate, derives from testosterone under the effect of 5-α-reductase enzyme. Blocking 5-α-reductase can cause the prostate to shrink. Cholesterol plays an important role in prostate health as well. Lowering its level may block the growth of prostate tumours. In the development of BPH, prostaglandins and leucotrienes also take part as mediators. Besides their oedema-inducing and inflammatory properties, they may cause increasing cell division.The basis for the therapeutic effect could be the inhibition of phospholipase, prostaglandin synthetase and/or lipoxygenase activities.
The goal of BPH treatment is to reduce excessive cell growth by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone into the more potent DHT and by preventing estrogen from attaching to receptors in prostate tissue. From a naturopathic viewpoint, this is accomplished through nutrition and the use of supplements and herbs.
There are many different treatment options for BPH.
In addition to the surgical intervention - the transurethralic prostatectomy - there are other alternative therapeutical resolutions.
Established medications for the treatment of BPH in current use are α-blockers, 5-α-reductase inhibitors (finasteride), and phytotherapeutic agents (phytoestrogens).
In many European countries the use of phytopharmaceuticals for the management of BPH and related lower urinary tract symptoms is common and these products represent up to 80 % of all drugs prescribed for this disorder. Although, we do not possess always the detailed information about their mechanism of action or exact combination of the active ingredients, improvement of symptoms has been confirmed by several publications. In the last few years investigations have not only broadened the scientific basis for the rational use of phytotherapeutics but have also provided evidence for their therapeutic efficacy and favourable safety profile.
When using phytotherapy regularly, a significant improvement in health of patient will take place within weeks and even days, because the plants possess an antimicrobial action, which stops the inflammatory process associated with adenoma.
Herbal medicines usually do not have side effects when used appropriately and at suggested doses.
In contemporary herbal science the most popular phyto-medicines for treating prostate adenoma are pumpkinseed oil (Cucurbitae Pepo), the extract of fruits from saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) and the extract of African plum crust (Pygeum of africhanum). Saw palmetto inhibits the conversion of testosterone to DHT in the prostate, has an antiestrogenic effect, and helps improve all symptoms of BPH.
Uroherb tincture is a herbal combination of the extracts from stinging nettle root and leaf, garden sage, bearberry leaf, pumpkin seeds, white birch, willow bark and yarrow. Nettle root (Urtica dioica) extract has an antiproliferative effect (agglutinin has a direct inhibitory effect on prostate cell division) and is used to alleviate symptoms of BPH. Nettle leaf (Urticae folium) extract, on the other hand reduces the proinflammatory cytokines, helps to cleanse the urinary tract.
There is a folkloric belief that the hairy leaves of common garden sage (Salviae folium) have magical qualities (antiseptic, antimicrobial, antiinflammatory) due to their essential oils. An extract of bearberry leaf (Uvae ursi folium) is used in Europe and in traditional herbal medicine in America, as a treatment for urinary tract (bladder) infection (UTI). Its active constituent is arbutin with uroantiseptic and antiimflammatory properties. In the alkaline environment of the urine, arbutin is converted into hydroquinone, which kills bacteria. Pumpkin seeds (Cucurbitae semen) are found to be rich in oil (35-53 %) containing high level of the active ingredient: delta-7-sterine. This steroid specifically compete with DHT dangerous for the receptors in prostate. White birch (Betulae folium) contains hydrolyzable tannins and flavonoid.
Birch and nettle are approved in Germany as part of the therapy of people with UTIs. These herbs appear to work by increasing urinary volume (diuretic effect) and supposedly helping to flush bacteria out of the urinary tract.
White willow bark (Salicis cortex) has been employed for thousands of years as a reliable painkiller. The characteristic constituents of the plant are derivatives of salicin (mainly salicortin) and tannins. As an antiinflammatory, it has been used to relieve the painful inflammation. Willow bark ia also an antiseptic. The salicin in the herb is converted into salicylic acid and other related compounds by the liver and is excreted as such in the urine, which makes it helpful for treating kidney, urethra, bladder and other urinary tract irritations.
Yarrow (Achillea herba) is high in volatile oils - the amount of azulene can reach 40 % - and therefore a reliable antiseptic for treating urinary system infections and mucous discharge from the bladder. Its diuretic, astringent and antiimflammatory properties make it an excellent agent for the genitourinary system. It is soothing to the urinary tract.