Like many of today’s popular herbal remedies, Saw Palmetto has a long history. It was used medicinally by the Native Americans to boost sperm production and libido. Today it’s best known as a natural remedy for prostate problems.
What is Saw Palmetto?
Saw Palmetto (also known as Serenoa repens) is a type of shrub that grows up to 10 feet tall and looks similar to a palm tree. It’s found in the West Indies and on the southeastern coast of the USA. The plant has white flowers and yellow berries. When used for medicinal purposes the berries are dried.
You can take Saw Palmetto as tablets, liquids, powdered capsules or as dried berries. Active ingredients include fatty acids and flavonoids (plant pigments) that work as powerful antioxidants.
Why do I need Saw Palmetto?
Although more research is needed to understand how saw palmetto works, some studies* suggest it is helpful in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) which is a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. The research implies that it reduces symptoms of this condition such as the need to wee a lot and the problem of having trouble starting or maintaining urination.
There are even studies that suggest saw palmetto may shrink an enlarged prostate gland and scientists are currently looking to see if it can inhibit the growth of tumour cells which may make it useful in the treatment of prostate cancer. Animal studies imply that it may be effective.
It’s thought this herb works by inhibiting an enzyme that converts testosterone into a more potent form linked to the growth of prostate cells.
Overall though, the research on saw palmetto is conflicting and more studies are needed.
Can too much Saw Palmetto be harmful?
There is no standard dose but a typical amount tends to be 320mg per day (sometimes divided into two doses).