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Numerous plants contain cholesterol-like compounds called sitosterols and their close relatives sitosterolins. A special mixture of these called beta-sitosterol is used for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) .
Some conditions are luckier than others. For some mysterious reason, there seem to be more useful herbal treatments for BPH than almost any other disease. Beta-sitosterol joins saw palmetto , pygeum , nettle , and grass pollen as a moderately well-documented treatment for BPH.
Based on highly preliminary evidence, it has been suggested that sitosterols may also help strengthen the immune system . 1 In particular, one study suggests that beta-sitosterol can help prevent the temporary immune weakness that typically occurs during recovery from endurance exercise , and can lead to a post-race infection. 2