Botanical family: Arecacae
Parts used: Fruit
Main active ingredients: Fatty acids, sterols
Actions: Balances hormones, boosts libido
Good for: Prostate inflammation, improving urinary flow, UTI’s, low libido, hair loss
Available Forms: Tablet, tincture, herbal tea
Growing wild in North America, the berries of this small scrubby palm tree were used by native Americans for treating sexual problems and disorders of the urinary tract. It was also used as a general tonic and as an expectorant to soothe persistent coughs.
History of Saw Palmetto
Saw palmetto berries have long been used by Native Americans for treating sexual problems and disorders of the urinary tract. It was also used as a general tonic and as an expectorant to soothe persistent coughs.
Current uses of Saw Palmetto
Standardised extracts of saw palmetto have been found to help reduce symptoms of BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or enlarged prostate) such as having to go the loo more often (especially at night) weak urinary flow and difficulty in emptying the bladder completely.
URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS
Saw palmetto may help to boost the immune system’s ability to kill bacteria so can be taken for UTIs (urinary tract infections).
How to take Saw PalmettoYou need to take a standardised extract every day, equivalent to 3 grams of saw palmetto fruit. Saw palmetto can be taken on an on-going basis or for as long as you have symptoms. Expect to take saw palmetto for six to eight weeks before noticing improvement in symptoms. Saw palmetto can be taken with other supplements and there is no evidence that it interacts with prescribed medications at the recommended dosage.
WatchpointsAn enlarged prostate can be a sign of prostate cancer so always consult your doctor before taking this herb for BPH, especially if you find blood in your urine or find urination difficult.
Side effects are uncommon but can include abdominal pain, nausea, dizziness and headache. If you experience any of these symptoms you should stop taking the herb immediately.
Although women are unlikely to take this herb, they should be aware that it has hormonal effects so should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding.