Saw Palmetto (Serona Repens)

Saw Palmetto Benefits

Saw palmetto is an extract derived from the deep purple berries of the saw palmetto fan palm (Serenoa repens), a plant indigenous to the coastal regions of the southern United States and southern California.

Saw palmetto is a remarkable herb for both men and women and is used by natural health practitioners to treat a variety of ailments such as testicular inflammation, urinary tract inflammation, coughs and respiratory congestion. It is also used to strengthen the thyroid gland, balance the metabolism, stimulate appetite and aid digestion. This wonderful herb is becoming famous for its uses in hair restoration, prostate health, sexual vigour, breast enhancement and as a nutritive tonic.

Saw palmetto berry also tones the urethra and it may be used to uphold the healthy function of the thyroid gland and urinary system.

In the United States, its medicinal uses were first documented in 1879 by Dr. J.B. Read, a physician in Savannah, Georgia, who published a paper on the medicinal benefits of the herb in the April 1879 issue of American Journal of Pharmacy. He found the herb useful in treating a wide range of conditions. "By its peculiar soothing power on the mucous membrane it induces sleep, relieves the most troublesome coughs, promotes expectoration, improves digestion and increases fat, flesh and strength. Its sedative and diuretic properties are remarkable," Read wrote. "Considering the great and diversified power of the saw palmetto as a therapeutic agent, it seems strange that it should have so long escaped the notice of the medical profession."

Since the 1960s, extensive clinical studies of saw palmetto have been done in Europe. A review of 24 European trials appeared in the November 1998 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The trials involved nearly 3,000 men, some taking saw palmetto, others taking Proscar and a third group taking a placebo.

The men taking saw palmetto had a 28% improvement in urinary tract symptoms, a 24% improvement in peak urine flow and 43% improvement in overall urine flow. The results were nearly comparable to the group taking Proscar and superior to the men taking a placebo.

There is much scientific documentation outlining the effectiveness of the herb in treating irritable bladder and urinary problems in men with benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), an enlargement of the prostate gland. BPH results in a swelling of the prostate gland that obstructs the urethra. This causes painful urination, reduced urine flow, difficulty starting or stopping the flow, dribbling after urination and more frequent nighttime urination. In addition to causing pain and embarrassment, BPH can lead to serious kidney problems if undiagnosed and left untreated. It is a common problem in men over the age of 40. Estimates are that 50-60% of all men will develop BPH in their lifetimes.

Saw palmetto does not reduce prostate enlargement. Instead, it is thought to work in a variety of ways. First, it inhibits the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). BPH is thought to be caused by an increase in testosterone to DHT. Secondly, saw palmetto is believed to interfere with the production of estrogen and progesterone, hormones associated with DHT production.

In a controlled clinical trial with patients with enlarged prostate glands, 50 patients who received saw palmetto (320 mg per day - 4 tablets taken in two separate doses with meals) were compared to 44 patients receiving placebo. Patients treated with saw palmetto urinated less frequently, produced a better flow rate and amount of urine and had less pain and discomfort in urinating than control subjects. There were actually fewer adverse side effects in patients receiving saw palmetto than in controls.

Presently, saw palmetto is being evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of BPH. If approved, it would become the first herbal product to be licensed by the agency as a treatment for a specific condition.

Saw Palmetto Herb Notes / Side Effects

Latin Names

Serenoa repens, Serenoa serrulata, Sabal serrulata

Common Names

American Dwarf Palm Tree, Cabbage Palm, Ju-Zhong, Palmier Nain, Sabal, Sabal Fructus, Saw Palmetto, Saw Palmetto Berry.


Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, expectorant, mild diuretic, sedative

Indicated for

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). Increasing breast size, improving sexual vigor and as an aphrodisiac. Stimulating hair growth, colds, coughs, irritated mucous membranes, sore throat, asthma, chronic bronchitis, migraines and cancer. Prostate cancer. Nutritive tonic, relieving the symptoms of menstruation, improving muscle tone and muscle building.

Before taking saw palmetto, tell your doctor if you: are pregnant or breastfeeding, have a hormone-sensitive cancer, like breast or prostate cancer, are using hormone-related drugs such as testosterone and estrogen replacements, are using Warfarin (Coumadin(R))

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Has Saw Palmetto Worked For You?

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Miz Lipz 's avatar  Miz Lipz 06/05/2015 23:29

Purchased the GNC Prostate for my husband, and it did not work. Our Doctor recommended the Dr. Max Powers Prostate Support supplements, and he said it is working so much better. A little more expensive but like the old saying goes YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. So He would recommend the Dr Max Powers brand Prostate supplements over the GHC ones.

glendacheng 's avatar  glendacheng 11/11/2010 17:28

Are there any side effects if males take high doses of saw palmetto?

22 people liked this.
Windchaser_8 's avatar  Windchaser_8 24/05/2011 00:41

what are the bennifits for women taking saw palmetto,have  hair loss, bad thyroid and other probs,IBS joint probs, fibromyaliga, lupus. U name it I got it.?

18 people liked this.
Navygirlsrfun 's avatar  Navygirlsrfun 21/09/2010 04:18

Saw Palmetto all but stopped the hot flashes I was having. The flashes were quite bothersome for several months, but not super-severe. However, saw palmetto curbed those flashes and completely stopped the night sweats. Oh, and it kick started my libido. I love saw palmetto!

11 people liked this.
sainath 's avatar  sainath 24/04/2014 06:57

I am taking 250mg of Saw Palmetto every day. Can anyone tell me does it effect testosterone and cause problems in generating sperm? I read many articles but it is not clear whether it effects or not.

6 people liked this.
Shay  's avatar  Shay  28/02/2011 13:04

I've been taking 3 160 mg soft gels of saw palmetto and 2000 mg of pumpkin seed oil per day for 6 months. Now I find that getting up at night have been reduced from 3 times a night to 1. My bladder empties more completely and I'm just generally more comfortable.

4 people liked this.
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