What Is Saw Palmetto

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The world of medicine is currently getting revolutionized. At the center of this revolution is alternative, eclectic and traditional medicine. Receiving much attention today is a natural product known as saw palmetto extract. In this article you will know all that you need to when as regards this herbal formulation.


Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto, known scientifically as Serenoa repens or Sebal serrulatais, a small palm plant that is native to the Southern parts of the United States of America along the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal plains. It produces berries or fruits from which the extract is derived. Traditionally, the natives used these berries as human food and as a medicine to treat urinary tract diseases.

Herbal medicine experts realized that the fruits of this natural plant have several health benefits. They therefore decided to produce a highly purified extract of these fruits that has proven health benefits in treatment of various medical conditions but most notably male reproductive disorders.


The active ingredients in saw palmetto include highly enriched fatty acids, flavonoids as well as plant sterols. These are the most active ingredients that mediate its beneficial effects as an alternative medicine. The other ingredients are found in the berries themselves which may have anti-inflammatory effects and also boost the immune system. All these are natural ingredients with no chemical additives.


The history of this herbal medicine dates back 200 years as indicated by available records. During those times Southern American natives extensively used the berries of this plant as food but soon realized that it had some medicinal effects especially in the male genitourinary system.

With increase in civilization was the understanding of the plant and many more medical uses were identified. According to one source that dates back to the year 1898, saw palmetto was used as an expectorant and relieved mucosal irritation. It was also used in the treatment of irritative cough, laryngitis, whooping cough, chronic bronchial coughs, asthma and tubercular laryngitis.

In the years spanning 1900s, saw palmetto had established itself as one of the best natural remedies for a number of medical conditions. It was used for the treatment of urinary tract disorders, to improve sexual performance by increasing libido and to treat infertility by increasing sperm production.


Much research has been done as regards the mechanism of actions of saw palmetto but there is still no consensus. Available evidence indicates that it stimulates natural processes in the body which then act to produce its health effects.

The most extensively researched mechanism of action is how saw palmetto treats benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Researchers believe that this natural product works by shrinking the inner lining of the prostate gland. It inhibits the enzyme responsible for synthesis of the male hormone testosterone. This hormone is what leads to excessive growth of the prostate gland that blocks the outflow of urine.


Saw palmetto has been shown to have effects in the treatment of various health conditions. There is continuing research to evaluate the effectiveness of this natural extract in various other conditions. The commonest uses are in the treatment of the following

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: BPH is the enlargement of the prostate gland. The prostatic part of the urethra passes through this gland. Its enlargement therefore encroaches and narrows this part of the urethra, a situation which blocks the outflow of urine from the bladder. It is a common age related disorder for males. Saw palmetto shrinks the inner lining of the gland surrounding the urethra and therefore relieves blockage.

Prostate infections and chronic pelvic pain syndrome: There is insufficient evidence to support this but proponents claim that saw palmetto can reduce the symptoms of prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome.

Prostate cancer: There is a close association between BPH and prostate cancer. It is believed that cancer results from longstanding BPH. Saw palmetto woks by the same mechanism used to treat the enlarged prostate.

Other uses: This natural product has been used in the treatment of male pattern baldness, colds and coughs, asthma, pharyngitis, migraine headaches and chronic bronchitis. It has also been used to control bleeding after prostate surgery.


Saw palmetto extract is natural and therefore is not associated with severe toxicities when taken in therapeutic doses. Any side effects, if there be, are mild and may include dizziness, nausea and vomiting, headaches, diarrhoea or constipation.

With overdose, liver or pancreatic damage may occur in predisposed individuals using saw palmetto. There is however no evidence that this product is the main cause as people with BPH also take other drugs. It should also be used with caution in people with bleeding disorders. It is contraindicated in pregnant and lactating mothers.


As already been mentioned, saw palmetto has many benefits. Some of the benefits may include;

- Relieves symptoms of enlarged prostate such as frequency, urgency and pain during urination.

- It can help relieve the symptoms of respiratory disorders by acting as an expectorant and cough suppressant.

- It is free any form of toxicity associated with other chemical therapeutic drugs and so can be used by many people. It is very safe when used as directed by the manufacturer or a health expert.

- It is used as a natural remedy for hair loss.

- It is available in many formulations such as powdered capsules, tablets, liposterolic extracts and liquid tinctures. This is meant to take care of the preferences of its users.
It is also available as an over the counter drug although it is extremely important to consult your doctor before using it.

- Its berries boost and strengthen immunity and have ant-inflammatory properties.
Saw palmetto is also affordable with a bottle containing 90 tablets going for just about $12.


In as much as saw palmetto has been with us for several years; it is now that the world has realized its importance in treatment of various medical conditions. Of note is the value of this natural product in the treatment of men’s greatest adversity; benign prostatic hyperplasia. Men with this condition as well as other reproductive disorders can benefit from this safe natural formulation.