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Saw Palmetto

    Saw palmetto, Any of numerous shrubby palms mainly of the southern U.S. and West Indies that have spiny-toothed petioles (leafstalks), especially a common palm (Serenoa repens) of the southeastern U.S., with a typically creeping stem. Saw palmettos make up part of the plant life discovered in the Florida Everglades. When undisturbed, they become terrific masses of foliage. The saw palmetto has just recently drawn attention as the source of a possible treatment for prostate cancer. [1]


    Saw palmetto is used by natural health specialists to deal with a variety of disorders in men and women, such as testicular swelling, urinary system swelling, coughs, and breathing blockage. It is likewise used to strengthen the thyroid gland, balance the metabolism, stimulate cravings, and aid digestion. According to the American Dietetic Association, saw palmetto is among the most frequently used dietary supplements amongst Americans in between the ages of 50 and 76.

    Most of the proof supporting these usages is anecdotal and has actually not been proven by controlled scientific trials. However, there is much clinical paperwork describing the efficiency of the herb in dealing with irritable bladder and urinary issues in men with benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), an enlargement of the prostate gland. BPH results in a swelling of the prostate gland that blocks the urethra. This triggers uncomfortable urination, reduced urine flow, problem beginning or stopping the flow, dribbling after urination, and more frequent nighttime urination. Saw palmetto does not minimize prostate augmentation. Instead, it is believed to work in a variety of ways. First, it inhibits the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). BPH is thought to be caused by a boost in testosterone to DHT. Second of all, saw palmetto is thought to hinder the production of estrogen and progesterone, hormones associated with DHT production.

    In addition to triggering discomfort and shame, BPH can lead to major kidney issues if undiagnosed and left untreated. It is a typical issue in males over the age of 40. Price quotes are that 50-60% of all guys will develop BPH in their life times. It is approximated that there are six million guys in between the ages of 50-79 who have BPH serious adequate to require some type of treatment. Yet just half of them look for treatment from doctors. Health specialists in both the allopathic and alternative medicine neighborhoods suggest annual prostate examinations for men over the age of 50, and a yearly blood test that determines prostate specific antigen, a marker for prostate cancer.

    Recently, a variety of medical trials have verified the efficiency of saw palmetto in treating BPH. A number of these trials have actually shown saw palmetto works better than the most frequently 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 may use up to six months to achieve its full impact. Since Proscar obstructs the production of testosterone, it can trigger impotence and breast enhancement. Also, saw palmetto is significantly 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 deal with BPH are Cardura (doxazosin), Hytrin (terazosin), and Flomax (tamsulosin hydrochloride). Initially prescribed to treat high blood pressure, Cardura and Hytrin can drop blood pressure, triggering lightheadedness and fainting. Currently, saw palmetto is being assessed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of BPH. If authorized, it would end up being the very first organic product to be accredited by the company as a treatment for a particular condition. Saw palmetto is likewise utilized as a treatment for prostate problems and irritable bladder.

    Because the 1960s, comprehensive clinical studies of saw palmetto have actually been performed in Europe. A 1998 review of 24 European trials included almost 3,000 males, 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 signs, a 24% enhancement in peak urine flow, and 43% improvement in total urine circulation. The results were nearly equivalent to the group taking Proscar and superior to the men taking a placebo.

    On the other hand, saw palmetto does not appear to be beneficial in dealing with prostatitis or persistent pelvic discomfort syndrome (CPPS) in men. A group of researchers at Columbia University reported in early 2004 that males provided saw palmetto for CP/CPPS revealed no appreciable enhancement at the end of a year-long trial.


    Saw palmetto berries have actually been used in American herbal remedies for several a century as an aphrodisiac and for treating prostate issues. Native Americans in the southeast United States have used saw palmetto because the 1700s to deal with male urinary issues. In the 1800s, medical botanist John Lloyd kept in mind that animals that ate saw palmetto appeared healthier and fatter than other livestock. Early American inhabitants noticed the exact same impacts and used the juice from saw palmetto berries to gain weight, to improve basic 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 physician in Savannah, Georgia, who published a paper on the medical benefits of the herb in the April 1879 issue of American Journal of Drug Store. He found the herb beneficial in dealing with a vast array of conditions. “By its peculiar relaxing power on the mucous membrane it induces sleep, alleviates the most bothersome coughs, promotes expectoration, improves digestion, and increases fat, flesh and strength. Its sedative and diuretic homes are amazing,” Read wrote. “Thinking about the great and varied power of the saw palmetto as a restorative representative, it seems strange that it must have so long left the notice of the medical occupation.”

    A pungent tea made from saw palmetto berries was commonly utilized in the early 1900s to deal with prostate enhancement and urinary tract infections. It was also utilized in men to increase sperm production and libido, although these uses are discounted today. One of the very first released medical recommendations that saw palmetto was effective in treating prostate problems appeared in the 1926 edition of United States Dispensatory. In the late 1920s, making use of medical plants, consisting of saw palmetto, began to decline in the United States, while at the same time, it was on the increase in Europe.


    The National Institute on Aging advises that people taking saw palmetto must obtain it just from reputable sources. In addition, individuals ought to utilize only standardized extracts that contain 85-95% fatty acids and sterols. Dosages differ depending on the kind of saw palmetto used. A normal dosage is 320 mg each day of standardized extract (1-2 g) each day of ground dried entire berries. It may take up to four weeks of use prior to useful results are seen. In late 1999, the web-based independent customer company checked 27 leading brands of saw palmetto for fatty acid and sterol content. 10 of the brand names consisted of less than the minimum suggested level of 85% fatty acids and sterols. [2]

    Pharmacology of Saw Palmetto

    Saw Palmetto is commonly utilized 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 extensively used as a therapeutic treatment for urinary dysfunction due to a bigger prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in the US and more so in Europe.

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

    Systems of Action

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

    There are 2 commonly associated male physiological occasions that have a comparable etiology. Enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and male pattern baldness are both related to the enzyme 5- reductase. Hirsutism in women is likewise associated with this enzyme. An excess in the activity of 5- reductase has been shown to be responsible for bigger 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 greater affinity for 5 DHT than testosterone. Once the ligand has engaged with its cognate receptor, the receptor-ligand complex goes into the nucleus and controls gene expression.

    Historical Use of Saw Palmetto

    Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) is used in several forms of traditional medicine. Native people of Florida such as the Seminoles relied on saw palmetto berries for food, and the Mayans drank it as a tonic; however, Europeans frequently discovered the taste of the berries objectionable.

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

    Saw Palmetto has historically been utilized to treat infertility in ladies and underdeveloped breasts. It has likewise been used to increase lactation, mitigate unpleasant menstruation cycles, and decrease the size of a bigger prostate. It has actually even been used as a hunger stimulant.

    A crude extract of Saw Palmetto was utilized for a minimum of 200 years for numerous conditions consisting of asthenia (weakness), recovery from a major disease, and urogenital problems.

    Medicinal use of Saw Palmetto was introduced into Western medical practice in the 1870s and was a favorite of eclectic physicians for prostate and other urologic conditions. For instance, the diverse medicine professional H. W. Felter composed of it, “Saw Palmetto is a nerve sedative, expectorant, and a nutritive tonic, acting kindly upon the digestion tract … Its most direct action seems upon the reproductive organs when undergoing waste of tissue …”

    Throughout the late 19th century interest in Saw Palmetto developed when its favorable effect on livestock was observed. This interest increased when its helpful effects on the genitourinary tract were kept in mind. At this time Saw Palmetto was used as a treatment for enlarged prostate, cystitis, gonorrhea, and irritation of the mucous membranes.

    Saw Palmetto berries were officially consisted of in the US Pharmacopeia in 1906 and 1916, and in the National Formulary from 1926 to 1950. However, after the World War II period, using Saw Palmetto as a medication lessened in the United States.

    Regardless of this decline in the US, use of Saw Palmetto as a medical herb continued in Europe. Presently, making use of herbal options for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is really common there. This is most common in Germany, whereas lots of as 95% of clients are first treated with an organic remedy. Treatment with natural treatments has offered a more beneficial ratio between therapeutic benefits and negative responses. In Germany, a standard has actually been set such that Saw Palmetto extract must contain 85-95% fats and sterols (used as biomarkers and believed to be the active ingredients). It is this lipophilic extract that has been used throughout Europe and upon which most of Saw Palmetto research study has been carried out.

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

    Early research study showed that the extract is well-tolerated and recommended “moderate to moderate enhancement in urinary signs and flow procedures.” Later on trials of greater methodological quality indicated no distinction from placebo. Questions of sufficient blinding and delivery of any active ingredients remain.

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

    Other propositions for systems of action consist of interfering with dihydrotestosterone binding to the androgen receptor, unwinding smooth muscle tissue likewise to alpha villain drugs, and serving as a phytoestrogen.

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

    The Cochrane Database review (2009) concludes that “The evidence suggests that Serenoa repens supplies moderate to moderate improvement in urinary symptoms and flow procedures. Serenoa repens produced similar enhancement in urinary signs and circulation compared to finasteride and is associated with less adverse treatment events.” [3]

    Saw Palmetto Benefits/Uses

    1. Deals With Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH)

    The most common type of a bigger prostate is benign prostatic hyperplasia. The prostate generally stays at about the exact same size or grows slowly in grownups, as long as male hormonal agents are present.

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

    The prostate gland can end up being swollen or enlarged as men grow older. The prostate then compresses the urethra, leading to trouble with urination that leads to bladder infections or bladder stones.

    BPH can be triggered by a variety of circumstances, consisting of hormonal modifications (such as excess estrogen), degrading blood vessels and a zinc shortage.

    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 guys will have this condition. To add to this, one-fourth of these guys will establish moderate to severe lower urinary tract signs that will significantly impact their lifestyle.

    Research study reveals that saw palmetto hinders testosterone from binding to and promoting prostate cells, which minimizes the multiplication of prostatic cells and prostatic enlargement.

    Other treatments for BPH, alpha blockers and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, can cause sexual dysfunctions themselves– while saw palmetto is a natural supplement that doesn’t have a long list of adverse effects. That makes it one of the best sources to increase testosterone naturally and enhance prostate health the natural method.

    One 2012 study carried out in Switzerland analyzed 82 patients in an eight-week trial. The clients took one pill of 320 milligrams of saw palmetto extract daily.

    At the end of the treatment, the International Prostate Symptom Score was reduced from 14.4 ± 4.7 to 6.9 ± 5.2. Detectives’ and patients’ evaluations validated the great efficacy, and treatment was very well-tolerated and accepted by the patients.

    2. Lowers Risk of Prostate Cancer

    A methodical literature review of 11 studies identified saw palmetto supplements as one of the five typically 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 preventing its development. According to research, DHT is responsible for prostate augmentation, which may be a reason for prostate cancer.

    The science is still unclear on this matter, however research studies on two 5-alpha reductase inhibitor prescriptions, Finasteride (Proscar) and Dutasteride (Avodart) discovered that males taking either drug were less most likely to establish prostate cancer after a number of years than men getting a non-active placebo. The issue depends on the side effects of these medications– they can cause sexual adverse effects, such as decreased sexual desire and impotence.

    Saw palmetto, on the other hand, can likewise prevent DHT and aid with urinary issues from BPH, such as difficulty urinating and dripping urine– plus it regulates your testosterone levels, aids with libido and works as a natural solution for impotence.

    Research studies have also discovered that saw palmetto inhibits the growth of prostatic cancer cells and may destroy hazardous cells. A research study performed at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Peking University Health Science Center in Beijing found that saw palmetto induced growth arrest of prostate cancer LNCaP, DU145 and PC3 cells and down-regulated DHT, the hormonal agent that causes prostate augmentation.

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

    It likewise helps with blood loss, the development of issues during surgical treatment and the total time spent in the healthcare facility.

    3. Aids With Loss Of Hair

    Saw palmetto extracts and supplements work as hair loss treatments due to the fact that they keep testosterone levels stabilized. As guys age, the testosterone hormonal agent is lessened, and the hormonal agent called 5α-Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) increases.

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

    Typically, after a hair falls out, another hair begins to grow from this exact same roots– but if DHT is high, hair growth decreases. Saw palmetto benefits have the power to stop the conversion of testosterone into DHT, making it helpful for hair growth.

    Although the viewpoints about saw palmetto as an effective hair growth representative are blended, specifically when it pertains to utilizing saw palmetto for ladies, there are research studies that show its use as helpful.

    One research study performed at the Clinical Research and Development Network in Colorado evaluated 34 males and 28 females, aged 18– 48 years, who topically used saw palmetto extract in cream and shampoo base for 3 months. The outcomes found that 35 percent of the individuals had an increase in hair density.

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

    A 2020 evaluation of evidence published in the Cochrane database, PubMed and Google Scholar found that Serenoa repens extract resulted in improvement in total hair quality, total hair count and hair density amongst alopecia clients. Reports likewise reveal that saw palmetto was well-tolerated and not associated with major unfavorable occasions.

    4. Retains Testosterone Levels

    Because saw palmetto inhibits the conversion of testosterone into DHT, the body retains regular levels of testosterone. This assists with weight reduction, strength management, pain reaction, hair loss and libido.

    Today, low testosterone in males is quickly growing, and this results in persistent tiredness, a stunt in sex drive and a decreased sense of wellness.

    A case study reported in the American Journal of Medicine evaluated a 52-year-old guy who was experiencing impotence, low libido and tiredness. He took no medications and was otherwise healthy.

    The research study suggests that his metabolic status enhanced significantly by increasing his testosterone counts. After three months, he currently felt more energized, and his sexual function improved.

    5. Supports Urological System

    Saw palmetto advantages the urological system in men who have benign prostatic hyperplasia. This happens because of an interaction with the receptors in the lower urinary tract that can lead to urinary dysfunction and overactive bladder.

    Serenoa repens is also advised to treat damaging urinary organs in senior people or females after menopause because it enhances the urinary organs and has been suggested as a natural solution for kidney stones.

    The Journal of American Medical Association released a 1998 evaluation specifying that saw palmetto is effective in enhancing urological symptoms and urine circulation. For the review, 18 randomized trials with practically 3,000 male participants were examined.

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

    The outcomes were comparable to the group taking Proscar– a recommended 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 arbitrarily received either saw palmetto or a placebo for 6 months. The outcomes show that saw palmetto usage causes a considerable improvement in urinary symptoms in males with lower urinary tract signs compared to placebo.

    This research study reveals that saw palmetto can be an efficient home remedy for UTI. [4]

    How to Take

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

    Supplements of saw palmetto tends to be in the variety of 160-320 mg, taken once daily, of a product which is 80-90% liposterolic compounds by weight. While it is not verified if saw palmetto requires to be taken with food due to the fat soluble nature of this portion it is encouraged. [5]

    Available Types

    Saw palmetto can be acquired as dried berries, powdered pills, tablets, liquid tinctures, and liposterolic extracts. The item label ought to show that contents are standardized and include 85% to 95% fatty acids and sterols. Read labels carefully, and buy only from reputable companies. [6]

    Possible Negative Effects

    Saw palmetto is usually well endured but may trigger side effects in some individuals, particularly when excessive used.

    These include:

    • Foul breath
    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea
    • Lightheadedness
    • Fatigue
    • Headache
    • Nausea or throwing up
    • Stomach upset

    Saw palmetto can theoretically influence sex hormone levels, including estrogen and testosterone. Because of this, people with hormone-sensitive cancers (including breast cancer and prostate cancer) need to talk to their oncologist before using saw palmetto.

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

    People on blood slimmers such as Coumadin (warfarin) and Plavix (clopidogrel) should prevent saw palmetto as it might increase the danger of bleeding. For this same reason, saw palmetto must be stopped a minimum of 2 weeks prior to or after surgery.

    Kids and pregnant females should not use saw palmetto due to the lack of security research study. [7]

    What do we know about security?

    Saw palmetto is well tolerated by most users. It might cause moderate adverse effects, including gastrointestinal 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 been utilized to screen for prostate cancer and are likewise used to keep an eye on clients who have been identified with prostate cancer.

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

    Details on the safety of saw palmetto comes mainly from studies of its use for BPH in males. Little is understood about the security or negative effects of saw palmetto when used for other conditions, specifically in women or children.

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

    Special Preventative Measures and Cautions

    Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Saw palmetto is likely unsafe when taken by mouth during pregnancy or breast-feeding. It imitates a hormonal agent, and this could be hazardous. Don’t utilize during pregnancy or breast-feeding.

    Surgical treatment: Saw palmetto might slow blood clotting. It may cause additional bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using saw palmetto at least 2 weeks prior to a set up surgery. [9]


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

    While there is some proof to support the fact that saw palmetto might have a positive impact, its potential side effects have actually not been well studied.

    Although undetermined, existing proof does not weaken the experience of people who have found saw palmetto helpful. Taken correctly, it might be worth trying as a complementary treatment. [10]



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