African Wild Potato

Other Name(s):

African Potato, Bantu Tulip, Hypoxis, Hypoxis hemerocallidea, Hypoxis Plant, Hypoxis rooperi, Papa Silvestre Africana, Pomme de Terre Sauvage d'Afrique, South African Star Grass, Sterretjie.


African wild potato is a plant. People use it to make medicine.

The African wild potato is used for urinary tract disorders including bladder infections (cystitis), prostate problems including benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer; other cancers; and lung disease. It is also used for tuberculosis, arthritis, and a skin condition called psoriasis, as well as for delaying AIDS symptoms in people who are HIV-positive.

Some people apply African wild potato directly to the skin to promote wound healing.

How does it work?

African wild potato contains chemicals that might decrease inflammation.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Possibly Effective for...

  • Trouble urinating because of an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH). African wild potato contains a chemical called beta-sitosterol, which seems to improve symptoms of BPH. In research, some specific African wild potato extracts (Harzol, Azuprostat) taken by mouth alone, or in combination with other beta-sitosterol sources, reduced urinary symptoms of BPH and improved quality of life.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Lung cancer. Early research suggests that hypoxoside, an African wild potato extract, might help people with lung cancer live longer.
  • Bladder infections.
  • Cancer.
  • Lung disease.
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
  • Tuberculosis (TB).
  • Arthritis.
  • A skin condition called psoriasis.
  • Wound healing.
  • Improving the immune system.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of African wild potato for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Some African wild potato products are POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth. Side effects include nausea, indigestion, gas, diarrhea, or constipation, and possibly sexual side effects such as trouble getting an erection or less interest in sex. However, other African wild potato products have been associated with decreased production of blood cells and irregular heartbeat.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking African wild potato if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Diabetes: African wild potato might lower blood sugar. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use African wild potato.

Kidney disease: African wild potato might decrease kidney function. This might make symptoms worse in people with kidney disease.

A rare inherited fat storage disease called sitosterolemia: People with sitosterolemia tend to develop early heart disease and also tend to accumulate cholesterol deposits under the skin. The beta-sitosterol in African wild potato can make this condition worse. If you have sitosterolemia, don't use African wild potato.

Surgery: African wild potato might lower blood sugar levels. There is some concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using African wild potato at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.


Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 [CYP3A4] substrates)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. African wild potato might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking African wild potato along with some medications that are broken down by the liver might increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking African wild potato, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.

Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

African wild potato might decrease blood sugar in people with diabetes. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking African wild potato along with diabetes medications might cause blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.


The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): African wild potato containing 60 to 130 mg of beta-sitosterol divided into 2-3 doses daily.

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