Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto, Any of numerous shrubby palms primarily of the southern U.S. and West Indies that have spiny-toothed petioles (leafstalks), especially a typical palm (Serenoa repens) of the southeastern U.S., with a generally sneaking stem. Saw palmettos make up part of the greenery found in the Florida Everglades. When undisturbed, they turn into great masses of foliage. The saw palmetto has actually just recently drawn attention as the source of a possible treatment for prostate cancer. [1]


Saw palmetto is used by natural health professionals to deal with a range of ailments in males and females, such as testicular swelling, urinary system swelling, coughs, and breathing blockage. It is likewise utilized to enhance the thyroid gland, balance the metabolic process, promote appetite, and help digestion. According to the American Dietetic Association, saw palmetto is among the most typically used dietary supplements amongst Americans in between the ages of 50 and 76.

Most of the evidence supporting these usages is anecdotal and has actually not been shown by regulated clinical trials. However, there is much scientific paperwork outlining the effectiveness of the herb in dealing with irritable bladder and urinary issues in males with benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), an enlargement of the prostate gland. BPH leads to a swelling of the prostate gland that blocks the urethra. This causes painful urination, reduced urine flow, trouble starting or stopping the flow, dribbling after urination, and more frequent nighttime urination. Saw palmetto does not minimize prostate augmentation. Instead, it is believed to operate in a variety of methods. Initially, it hinders the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). BPH is believed to be brought on by a boost in testosterone to DHT. Secondly, saw palmetto is thought to interfere with the production of estrogen and progesterone, hormones connected with DHT production.

In addition to triggering pain and embarrassment, BPH can cause serious kidney problems if undiagnosed and left untreated. It is a common problem in guys over the age of 40. Estimates are that 50-60% of all males will establish BPH in their lifetimes. It is estimated that there are six million males between the ages of 50-79 who have BPH serious sufficient to require some type of therapy. Yet just half of them look for treatment from doctors. Health specialists in both the allopathic and natural medicine neighborhoods suggest annual prostate assessments for males over the age of 50, and a yearly blood test that measures prostate specific antigen, a marker for prostate cancer.

Just recently, a number of scientific trials have actually validated the effectiveness of saw palmetto in treating BPH. A number of these trials have actually revealed saw palmetto works much better than the most typically used prescription drug, Proscar. Saw palmetto works in almost 90% of clients after 6 weeks of use, while Proscar works in less than 50% of clients. In addition, Proscar might take up to six months to attain its complete result. Because Proscar blocks the production of testosterone, it can trigger impotence and breast augmentation. Likewise, saw palmetto is considerably more economical than Proscar. A one-month supply of saw palmetto costs $12-25, while a one month supply of Proscar costs $65-75. Other prescription drugs used to treat BPH are Cardura (doxazosin), Hytrin (terazosin), and Flomax (tamsulosin hydrochloride). Originally prescribed to deal with hypertension, Cardura and Hytrin can drop blood pressure, triggering lightheadedness and fainting. Presently, saw palmetto is being assessed by the U.S. Fda (FDA) for treatment of BPH. If authorized, it would end up being the very first herbal product to be accredited by the firm as a treatment for a particular condition. Saw palmetto is likewise utilized as a treatment for prostate grievances and irritable bladder.

Considering that the 1960s, substantial scientific studies of saw palmetto have actually been done in Europe. A 1998 review of 24 European trials included nearly 3,000 guys, some taking saw palmetto, others taking Proscar, and a 3rd group taking a placebo. The men taking saw palmetto had a 28% improvement in urinary tract symptoms, a 24% enhancement in peak urine circulation, and 43% enhancement in overall urine circulation. The results were almost comparable to the group taking Proscar and superior to the men taking a placebo.

On the other hand, saw palmetto does not seem useful in dealing with prostatitis or chronic pelvic discomfort syndrome (CPPS) in males. A group of scientists at Columbia University reported in early 2004 that guys offered saw palmetto for CP/CPPS revealed no appreciable improvement at the end of a year-long trial.


Saw palmetto berries have actually been used in American folk medicine for a number of hundred years as an aphrodisiac and for treating prostate issues. Native Americans in the southeast United States have actually utilized saw palmetto given that the 1700s to deal with male urinary issues. In the 1800s, medical botanist John Lloyd noted that animals that ate saw palmetto appeared healthier and fatter than other animals. Early American settlers observed the same impacts and utilized the juice from saw palmetto berries to gain weight, to improve general personality, as a sedative, and to promote reproductive health.

In the United States, the medical uses of saw palmetto were first recorded in 1879 by Dr. J. B. Read, a doctor in Savannah, Georgia, who released a paper on the medicinal benefits of the herb in the April 1879 concern of American Journal of Pharmacy. He found the herb useful in dealing with a vast array of conditions. “By its strange calming power on the mucous membrane it causes sleep, eases the most frustrating coughs, promotes expectoration, improves digestion, and increases fat, flesh and strength. Its sedative and diuretic homes are impressive,” Read wrote. “Considering the great and diversified power of the saw palmetto as a restorative representative, it appears unusual that it must have so long left the notification of the medical profession.”

A pungent tea made from saw palmetto berries was typically used in the early 1900s to treat prostate augmentation and urinary system infections. It was likewise used in guys to increase sperm production and sex drive, although these uses are discounted today. Among the very first published medical suggestions that saw palmetto worked in treating prostate problems appeared in the 1926 edition of United States Dispensatory. In the late 1920s, making use of medicinal plants, consisting of saw palmetto, began to decrease in the United States, while at the same time, it was on the rise in Europe.


The National Institute on Aging suggests that people taking saw palmetto need to obtain it only from reliable sources. In addition, individuals need to use just standardized extracts which contain 85-95% fatty acids and sterols. Does differ depending upon the kind of saw palmetto utilized. A common dosage is 320 mg per day of standardized extract (1-2 g) daily of ground dried whole berries. It may use up to four weeks of use before helpful effects are seen. In late 1999, the web-based independent consumer organization checked 27 leading brand names of saw palmetto for fat and sterol material. Ten of the brand names included less than the minimum recommended level of 85% fats and sterols. [2]

Pharmacology of Saw Palmetto

Saw Palmetto is commonly used as a remedy for urinary dysfunction due to an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)) and can be utilized for male pattern baldness, acne, excess hair in females and eczema

Saw palmetto extracts of the ripe berries of the American dwarf palm (Serenoa repens), are widely used as a therapeutic solution for urinary dysfunction due to an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in the United States and more so in Europe.

Based on systems of action, Saw Palmetto extracts can also be used for male pattern baldness (alopecia), excess hair in ladies (hirsutism), acne, inflammatory skin condition (seborrhea) and eczema.

Mechanisms of Action

Saw Palmetto extracts inhibit 5α-reductase, which is an enzyme responsible for conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. Inhibition of such conversion keeps prostate health.

There are two typically associated male physiological occasions that have a similar etiology. Bigger prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and male pattern baldness are both related to the enzyme 5- reductase. Hirsutism in ladies is also connected to this enzyme. An excess in the activity of 5- reductase has actually been revealed to be responsible for enlarged prostate and male pattern baldness, as well as hirsutism in ladies.

5- Reductase catalyzes the conversion of testosterone to 5 dihydrotestosterone (5 DHT). 5 DHT is a physiological ligand for an intracellular androgen receptor. The intracellular receptor has a higher affinity for 5 DHT than testosterone. As soon as the ligand has connected with its cognate receptor, the receptor-ligand complex enters the nucleus and regulates gene expression.

Historical Use of Saw Palmetto

Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) is utilized in a number of kinds of standard medication. Native people of Florida such as the Seminoles counted on saw palmetto berries for food, and the Mayans drank it as a tonic; nevertheless, Europeans typically discovered the taste of the berries objectionable.

Historically, Saw Palmetto was taken with nettle root and pumpkin seeds. Thus, some modern solutions include these elements. Native American medicine men likewise reputedly kept a medication bag of Saw Palmetto around to make antibacterial and a tonic, and to treat a wide range of conditions, including impotence, swelling and infertility, and as an expectorant.

Saw Palmetto has traditionally been used to deal with infertility in ladies and underdeveloped breasts. It has also been utilized to increase lactation, mitigate unpleasant menstruation cycles, and minimize the size of a bigger prostate. It has actually even been used as a cravings stimulant.

A crude extract of Saw Palmetto was utilized for a minimum of 200 years for various conditions including asthenia (weakness), recovery from a significant disease, and urogenital issues.

Medical use of Saw Palmetto was introduced into Western medical practice in the 1870s and was a favorite of diverse medical practitioners for prostate and other urologic conditions. For instance, the eclectic medicine specialist H. W. Felter wrote of it, “Saw Palmetto is a nerve sedative, expectorant, and a nutritive tonic, acting kindly upon the gastrointestinal system … Its most direct action appears to be upon the reproductive organs when undergoing waste of tissue …”

Throughout the late 19th century interest in Saw Palmetto established when its favorable result on livestock was observed. This interest increased when its beneficial impacts on the genitourinary tract were noted. At this time Saw Palmetto was used as a treatment for enlarged prostate, cystitis, gonorrhea, and inflammation of the mucous membranes.

Saw Palmetto berries were officially included in the US Pharmacopeia in 1906 and 1916, and in the National Formulary from 1926 to 1950. However, after the The second world war age, using Saw Palmetto as a medication diminished in the United States.

In spite of this decrease in the US, use of Saw Palmetto as a medicinal herb continued in Europe. Currently, using natural options for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is very common there. This is most common in Germany, whereas many as 95% of patients are first treated with a natural solution. Treatment with natural treatments has actually offered a more beneficial ratio between healing benefits and adverse reactions. In Germany, a requirement has been set such that Saw Palmetto extract must include 85-95% fatty acids and sterols (used as biomarkers and believed to be the active ingredients). It is this lipophilic extract that has actually been used throughout Europe and upon which most of Saw Palmetto research study has actually been performed.

In the last few years, the United States has actually seen a resurgence of interest in using Saw Palmetto extract for the treatment of lots of “male-oriented” disorders such as impotence, loss of hair, male pattern baldness, enlargement of the prostate, BPH and even sexual dysfunctions and poor libido.

Early research indicated that the extract is well-tolerated and recommended “moderate to moderate enhancement in urinary signs and flow measures.” Later trials of greater methodological quality showed no difference from placebo. Questions of appropriate blinding and shipment of any active ingredients stay.

Inhibition of both types of 5-alpha-reductase without any reduction in cellular capacity to produce prostate-specific antigen is shown.

Other propositions for mechanisms of action include interfering with dihydrotestosterone binding to the androgen receptor, relaxing smooth muscle tissue similarly to alpha villain drugs, and acting as a phytoestrogen.

Minimal in vitro and animal design research studies suggest possible anti-tumor activity and capacity for usage in the treatment of cancer. Nevertheless, these results have not been validated with human trials.

The Cochrane Database evaluation (2009) concludes that “The evidence suggests that Serenoa repens supplies moderate to moderate enhancement in urinary signs and circulation procedures. Serenoa repens produced comparable improvement in urinary symptoms and circulation compared to finasteride and is related to fewer adverse treatment occasions.” [3]

Saw Palmetto Benefits/Uses

1. Deals With Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH)

The most typical form of a bigger prostate is benign prostatic hyperplasia. The prostate generally stays at about the same size or grows gradually in adults, as long as male hormones are present.

It’s when the prostate ends up being enlarged that males start experiencing symptoms from BPH and lower urinary system issues.

The prostate gland can become irritated or bigger as guys grow older. The prostate then compresses the urethra, resulting in trouble with urination that results in bladder infections or bladder stones.

BPH can be brought on by a variety of situations, including hormone changes (such as excess estrogen), degrading blood vessels and a zinc deficiency.

The American Urological Association reports that by the age of 60, over half of men will have BPH, and by age 85, 90 percent of men will have this condition. To add to this, one-fourth of these males will establish moderate to serious lower urinary system symptoms that will significantly affect their lifestyle.

Research study reveals that saw palmetto prevents testosterone from binding to and promoting prostate cells, which reduces the reproduction of prostatic cells and prostatic enlargement.

Other treatments for BPH, alpha blockers and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, can trigger sexual dysfunctions themselves– while saw palmetto is a natural supplement that does not have a long list of adverse effects. That makes it among the very best sources to increase testosterone naturally and enhance prostate health the natural way.

One 2012 research study conducted in Switzerland evaluated 82 clients in an eight-week trial. The patients took one capsule of 320 milligrams of saw palmetto extract daily.

At the end of the treatment, the International Prostate Symptom Score was decreased from 14.4 ± 4.7 to 6.9 ± 5.2. Private investigators’ and patients’ assessments verified the great effectiveness, and treatment was very well-tolerated and accepted by the patients.

2. Reduces Threat of Prostate Cancer

A systematic literature review of 11 studies recognized saw palmetto supplements as one of the 5 frequently pre-owned types of natural medicine by guys with prostate cancer.

Serenoa repens supplements work as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors– suggesting they decrease the conversion of testosterone to DHT by obstructing the enzyme and avoiding its development. According to research study, DHT is responsible for prostate augmentation, which might be a cause of prostate cancer.

The science is still unclear on this matter, however studies on two 5-alpha reductase inhibitor prescriptions, Finasteride (Proscar) and Dutasteride (Avodart) found that men taking either drug were less likely to develop prostate cancer after several years than guys getting an inactive placebo. The issue depends on the side effects of these medications– they can trigger sexual adverse effects, such as lowered libido and impotence.

Saw palmetto, on the other hand, can also hinder DHT and aid with urinary problems from BPH, such as difficulty urinating and leaking urine– plus it regulates your testosterone levels, helps with sex drive and works as a natural treatment for impotence.

Research studies have likewise discovered that saw palmetto inhibits the growth of prostatic cancer cells and may destroy unsafe cells. A research study conducted at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Peking University Health Science Center in Beijing discovered that saw palmetto induced development arrest of prostate cancer LNCaP, DU145 and PC3 cells and down-regulated DHT, the hormone that leads to prostate augmentation.

Another interesting note about saw palmetto is the research study that has been done to determine its result on post-surgery recovery time. Prostate surgical treatment (called transurethral resection of the prostate or TURP) can require a lengthy healing period, however research reveals that taking 320 milligrams of saw palmetto daily for 2 months before prostate surgery can decrease the time spent in surgery.

It also assists with blood loss, the development of issues during surgery and the total time invested in the health center.

3. Assists With Loss Of Hair

Saw palmetto extracts and supplements work as hair loss treatments since they keep testosterone levels balanced. As men age, the testosterone hormonal agent is lessened, and the hormone called 5α-Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) increases.

The reason for hair loss is due to the hair roots’ level of sensitivity to DHT, which is a male androgen hormone that triggers hair follicles to diminish, resulting in a shorter life expectancy and decrease of hair production.

Typically, after a hair falls out, another hair starts to grow from this very same follicle– but if DHT is high, hair growth reduces. Saw palmetto advantages have the power to stop the conversion of testosterone into DHT, making it advantageous for hair growth.

Although the opinions about saw palmetto as a reliable hair development representative are combined, particularly when it pertains to using saw palmetto for women, there are studies that suggest its use as beneficial.

One study performed at the Clinical Research and Development Network in Colorado checked 34 men and 28 ladies, aged 18– 48 years, who topically used saw palmetto extract in cream and shampoo base for three months. The outcomes discovered that 35 percent of the participants had an increase in hair density.

This suggests that saw palmetto for hair loss might work as a natural technique for both males and females.

A 2020 evaluation of evidence released in the Cochrane database, PubMed and Google Scholar discovered that Serenoa repens extract led to enhancement in overall hair quality, overall hair count and hair density among alopecia clients. Reports likewise show that saw palmetto was well-tolerated and not related to severe unfavorable events.

4. Retains Testosterone Levels

Since saw palmetto hinders the conversion of testosterone into DHT, the body keeps typical levels of testosterone. This assists with weight loss, strength management, pain action, loss of hair and libido.

Today, low testosterone in males is rapidly growing, and this results in chronic fatigue, a stunt in libido and a decreased sense of wellness.

A case study reported in the American Journal of Medication examined a 52-year-old guy who was experiencing erectile dysfunction, low sex drive and tiredness. He took no medications and was otherwise healthy.

The study recommends that his metabolic status improved considerably by increasing his testosterone counts. After 3 months, he already felt more stimulated, and his sexual function improved.

5. Supports Urological System

Saw palmetto benefits the urological system in guys who have benign prostatic hyperplasia. This occurs because of an interaction with the receptors in the lower urinary tract that can cause urinary dysfunction and overactive bladder.

Serenoa repens is also advised to treat damaging urinary organs in senior individuals or ladies after menopause since it strengthens the urinary organs and has actually been suggested as a natural solution for kidney stones.

The Journal of American Medical Association released a 1998 evaluation mentioning that saw palmetto is effective in improving urological signs and urine circulation. For the review, 18 randomized trials with nearly 3,000 male individuals were examined.

Overall, 28 percent of the men taking saw palmetto revealed less urinary system signs, 24 percent showed improvement in peak urine flow and general urine circulation enhanced for 43 percent of the participants.

The results were comparable to the group taking Proscar– a prescribed medication– and they were far more appealing than the men taking a placebo.

Another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial done at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine involved 85 guys who randomly received either saw palmetto or a placebo for 6 months. The results indicate that saw palmetto usage causes a significant improvement in urinary signs in men with lower urinary tract symptoms compared with placebo.

This study reveals that saw palmetto can be a reliable home remedy for UTI. [4]

How to Take

While the active substance(s) are not yet known, it is understood that they exist in what is known as the ‘liposterolic’ portion of the fruits. If utilizing saw palmetto choose an item that divulges the portion of the supplement which is this fraction.

Supplementation of saw palmetto tends to be in the range of 160-320 mg, taken daily, of a product which is 80-90% liposterolic substances by weight. While it is not validated if saw palmetto needs to be taken with food due to the fat soluble nature of this fraction it is recommended. [5]

Readily available Forms

Saw palmetto can be purchased as dried berries, powdered pills, tablets, liquid tinctures, and liposterolic extracts. The item label need to indicate that contents are standardized and consist of 85% to 95% fatty acids and sterols. Check out labels carefully, and buy only from reputable business. [6]

Possible Adverse Effects

Saw palmetto is generally well endured but might cause adverse effects in some individuals, particularly when excessive used.

These consist of:

  • Bad breath
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or throwing up
  • Stomach upset

Saw palmetto can in theory affect sex hormone levels, including estrogen and testosterone. Because of this, individuals with hormone-sensitive cancers (including breast cancer and prostate cancer) should talk to their oncologist prior to utilizing saw palmetto.

Some males have actually likewise reported erectile dysfunction, breast tenderness, gynecomastia (breast enhancement), and a loss of sex drive (libido) while taking saw palmetto.

People on blood slimmers such as Coumadin (warfarin) and Plavix (clopidogrel) must prevent saw palmetto as it may increase the threat of bleeding. For this same factor, saw palmetto should be stopped a minimum of two weeks before or after surgery.

Children and pregnant females must not utilize saw palmetto due to the absence of security research study. [7]

What do we understand about safety?

Saw palmetto is well endured by a lot of users. It may cause moderate adverse effects, including digestion signs or headache.

Saw palmetto does not appear to impact readings of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, even when taken in higher-than-usual quantities. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland. PSA levels have actually been utilized to evaluate for prostate cancer and are likewise used to keep track of clients who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Saw palmetto has actually not been revealed to engage with medications.

Information on the security of saw palmetto comes mostly from studies of its usage for BPH in males. Little is known about the safety or negative effects of saw palmetto when used for other conditions, specifically in ladies or kids.

Saw palmetto may be risky for use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. [8]

Special Safety Measures and Cautions

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Saw palmetto is most likely risky when taken by mouth during pregnancy or breast-feeding. It imitates a hormonal agent, and this could be hazardous. Do not utilize during pregnancy or breast-feeding.

Surgery: Saw palmetto might slow blood clotting. It might trigger extra bleeding throughout and after surgery. Stop utilizing saw palmetto at least 2 weeks prior to an arranged surgery. [9]


More research study is needed to conclude whether saw palmetto is an effective treatment for prostate-related conditions.

While there is some proof to support the truth that saw palmetto may have a positive impact, its prospective adverse effects have actually not been well studied.

Although inconclusive, current evidence does not undermine the experience of people who have discovered saw palmetto handy. Taken correctly, it may be worth trying as a complementary treatment. [10]


Our Score