The medical treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia BPH is no exception. Along with alpha-blockers and 5alpha-reductase inhibitors the extract of the American dwarf palm, Serenoa repens, is unquestionably the most widely used.
Together with Pygeum africanum, an extract from the bark of the African plum tree, it is licensed in Germany, France and other European countries for symptomatic BPH.
This review was done to analyze the large number of in vivo and in vitro laboratory studies that have been performed with extracts of Serenoa repens to elucidate mechanism s of action.
It would appear that the n-hexane lipidosterolic extract of Serenoa repens, namely Permixon Pierre Fabre Medicament, Boulogne, Franceis a product that has uniquely been subjected to more scientific investigation than any other such preparation. Numerous mechanisms of action have been proposed, including an antiandrogenic action, an anti-inflammatory effect and an antiproliferative influence through the inhibition of growth factors.
However, precise mechanism s of action remain obscure. Balance and caution are needed when extrapolating the results of in vitro laboratory studies to the complex human situation.