Pygeum is an evergreen native to the higher elevations (above 3,000 feet) of central and southern Africa. Growing up to 150 feet in height, pygeum has dark-brown to gray bark, oblong, dull-green leaves, and white or cream-colored flowers. The tree bears a small, round fruit, which resembles a cherry when ripe. The bark of the tree is used for health promoting purposes.
The primary active components in pygeum bark are fat-soluble compounds, which include terpenes, sterols (including beta-sitosterol), and ferulic acid esters. Pygeum extracts are commonly standardized to 13% sterol concentration for consistent potency.
The usual recommendation is 100 mg of standardized (13% sterols) pygeum extract per day, divided into two 50 mg doses. Pygeum is generally well tolerated at this dosage. Side effects, which have been reported by a small percentage of users, include gastrointestinal complaints.