Biological Name: Serenoa repens, Sabal Serrulata
Other Names: Pan palm, dwarf palmetto, Saw Palmetto, Sabal
Parts Used: Fruit (berries)
Active Compounds: The lipophilic (fat soluble) extract of saw palmetto provides sterols and the fatty acids caproic, lauric, and palmitic, which reduce the amount of dihydotestosterone in the prostate. The fatty acids in saw palmetto also discourage the actions of inflammatory substances that otherwise contribute to BPH.
Here are the constituents of Saw Palmetto:
- Essential oil
- Fixed oil, consisting of 25% fatty acids; caproic, lauric, palmitic & 75% neutral fats.
- Polysaccharides; galactose, arabinose and uronic acid.
History: Earlier this century, saw palmetto berry tea was commonly recommended for benign enlargement of the prostate. It was called the “plant catheter” because of its tonic effect on the neck of the bladder and the prostate. It was also used to treat chronic urinary tract infections. Some believed that the berry increased sperm production and sex drive in men. It was used as an aphrodisiac; women used it to enlarge breasts. Saw Palmetto was most commonly prescribed for frequency of urination and excessive night urination due to inflammation of the bladder and prostate enlargement.
Remedies For: Diuretic, urinary antiseptic, endocrine agent.
Saw Palmetto is a herb that acts to tone and strengthen the male reproductive system. It may be used with safety where a boost to the male sex hormones is required. It is specific in cases of enlarged prostate glands. It will be of value in infections of the genito-urinary tract.
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
- Thyroid deficiency – preliminary results
- antiseptic, sedative, cardiac, tonic, diuretic
BPH is considered to be caused by testosterone accumulating in the prostate. The testosterone is then converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which causes the cells to multiply too quickly and leads to enlargement of the prostate. The saw palmetto extract prevents testosterone from converting to dihydrotestosterone. It also inhibits DHT from binding to cellular receptor sites and so increase DHT’s breakdown and excretion.
In several double blind studies Saw Palmetto extract was an effective treatment for BPH. It was found to be superior to finasteride (Proscar). While Proscar takes up to an year to show some beneficial effects, Saw Palmetto extract showed better results in shorter period of time. Most patients reported obtaining some relief of symptoms within the first 30 days of the treatment with the Saw Palmetto extract. Saw palmetto had no demonstrable effect on the serum prostatic specific antigen levels.
Useful for asthma and all kinds of throat troubles, colds, bronchitis, la grippe, whooping cough, and when the throat is irritated and painful. Especially useful when there is excessive mucous discharge from the sinuses and nose.
Valuable in all diseases of the reproductive organs, ovaries, prostate, testes, etc. as well as for Bright’s disease and diabetes
Combinations : For debility associated with the reproductive system it will combine well with Damiana and Kola. For the treatment of enlarged prostate glands it may be used with Horsetail and Hydrangea.
Description: Saw palmetto, sometimes referred to as Sabal in Europe, is a native of North America. It is a small palm tree found in West Indies and Atlantic Coast of the United States. The plant grows from 6 to 10 feet high with a crown of large, 2 to 4 foot high, spiny-toothed leaves that form a circular, fan-shaped outline. The olive-like dark purple to black berries grow in bunches, ripening from October to December and is used as an herb. The deep red-brown to black berries are wrinkled, oblong, and 0.5 to 1 inch long with a diameter of 0.5 inch.
Dosage: For early stage BPH, many people take 320 mg per day of saw palmetto herbal extract in capsules or tablets – which are rich in fatty acids, sterols, and esters. It may take 4 to 6 weeks to see results with BPH. If improvements are noted, continue with the dosage.
The powdered dry fruit can also be taken as a tea. Since this is weaker than the herbal extract, 5-6 grams may be taken per day.
Liquid extracts of the whole herb at 5-6 ml per day may also be effective.
Decoction: put l/2-l teaspoonful of the berries in a cup of water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.
Safety: No significant side reactions have been noted in clinical studies with saw palmetto extracts. It is not believed to interfere with accurate measuring of prostate-specific antigen – a marker for prostate cancer. (See a physician for the correct diagnosis of BPH. Do not self treat.)