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Saw PalmettoScientific Name: Serenoa repens/Sabal serrulata
Saw Palmetto InformationThe berries of the saw palmetto (Serenoa repens/Sabal serrulata), a fan palm native to the southeastern United States, act to increase urine flow, to diminish inflammation, and to reduce muscle spasms. In Europe, saw palmetto is widely used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, which is an enlargement of the prostate gland (see details below). In the United States, it ranks among the top ten dietary supplements in terms of sales.
Saw palmetto berries were a staple food among native Americans of the southeastern United States, who also used them to treat digestive problems, genitourinary inflammation, dysentary, and lack of libido. Early in the 20th century, saw palmetto was listed in the US Pharmacopoeia as an effective remedy for enlargement of the prostate gland (called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH), urinary tract inflammation, cystitis (bladder inflammation), breast disorders, bronchitis, and laryngitis.
Saw Palmetto Benefits
- Saw palmetto is comparable to finasteride (a common prescription drug that slows or stops the progression of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia) in relieving symptoms of BPH during its early stages, including frequent need to urinate, a delay before being able to urinate, dripping after urinating, and having to get up numerous times throughout the night to urinate
- One of the eight herbal ingredients that make up PC-SPES, a Chinese herbal treatment for prostate cancer
- May also be useful in treating such conditions as hirsutism (excessive growth of dark, coarse body and facial hair in women) and polycystic ovarian disease (multiple cysts in the ovaries that leads to irregular or absent menses and, possibly, infertility) in women
Saw Palmetto Nutrient ContentSaw palmetto's active ingredients include fatty acids, plant sterols, and flavonoids. However, most likely these are not the only substances within the berries that affect hormone production, and it will take more scientific study to determine exactly how saw palmetto works.
The berries also contain high-molecular-weight polysaccharides, which are usually associated with either anti-inflammatory or immune-stimulant effects.
Saw Palmetto NotesThe American Herbal Products Association gives saw palmetto a class 1 safety rating, which means that it is safe when used as directed. The Dietary Supplement Information Bureau recommends a daily dosage of approximately 160mg (standardized extract), 2 times a day for optimal health.
It is important that those with BPH be under the supervision of a healthcare provider who can determine the best treatment and monitor its effects.
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