Planta Med 2001; 67(6): 489-500
DOI: 10.1055/s-2001-16496
Original Papers
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Extracts from Fruits of Saw Palmetto (Sabal serrulata) and Roots of Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica): Viable Alternatives in the Medical Treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia and Associated Lower Urinary Tracts Symptoms

Egon Koch
  • Dr. Willmar Schwabe Arzneimittel GmbH, Department of Pharmacology, Karlsruhe, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

September 29, 2000

March 10, 2001

Publication Date:
17 August 2001 (online)


Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and associated lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) are very common disorders in aging men. Despite the great clinical importance, many aspects of their aetiology remain uncertain although it is generally accepted that advanced age and testicular androgens are important requirements for the development of these complaints. The currently available therapeutic options include watchful waiting, changes of life style, medical treatments and invasive therapies. In many European countries the use of phytopharmaceuticals for the management of BPH and related LUTS is common and these products represent up to 80 % of all drugs prescribed for this disorder. In particularly, extracts from the fruits of saw palmetto (Sabal serrulata, syn. Serenoa repens) and the roots of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) are popular. During the last years numerous papers have been published which elaborated on the pharmacological activities and the clinical assessment of these herbal remedies. These 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.


AR:androgen receptor

bFGF:basic fibroblast growth factor

BPH:benign prostatic hyperplasia

CK:creatine kinase


EGF:epidermal growth factor

ER:estrogen receptor

HLE:human leukocyte elastase

HPLC:high pressure liquid chromatography

HSOR:hydroxysteroid oxidoreductase

IGF:insulin-like growth factor

IPSS:international prostate symptome scale

LTB4:leukotriene B4

LUTS:lower urinary tract symptoms

p.o.:per os

PDGF:platelet-derived growth factor

PgR:progesterone receptor

PLA2:phospholipase A2


SHBG:sex hormone-binding globulin

SNRE:stinging nettle root extract

SPFE:saw palmetto fruit extract

TGF:transforming growth factor

TXB2:thromboxan B2

UDA:Urtica dioica agglutinin

UGS:urogenital sinus


Dr. Egon Koch

Department of Pharmacology

Dr. Willmar Schwabe Arzneimittel GmbH

Willmar-Schwabe-Straße 4

76227 Karlsruhe



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