Saw Palmetto: For the prostate and urinary tract health
• May support healthy prostate function
• May improve body strength
• May be beneficial for both sexes in supporting healthy hormonal balance
• May support healthy immune function
• May increase libido
What is Saw Palmetto?
Saw Palmetto has been widely used in Europe and Canada for years, and more recently in the United States. Saw Palmetto also known as Serenoa repens, Serenoa serrulata, and sabal. The fruits of the saw palmetto are highly enriched with fatty acids and phytosterols, and extracts of the fruits have been the subject of intensive research for the treatment of urinary tract infections. This extract is also commonly used for other medical issues. Saw Palmetto blankets forest floor in southern Highlands County, Florida, United States.
Saw palmetto is a fan palm (Arecaceae tribe Corypheae), with the leaves with a bare petiole terminating in a rounded fan of about 20 leaflets. The petiole is armed with fine, sharp teeth or spines that give the species its common name. The leaves are light green inland, and silvery-white in coastal regions. The leaves are 1-2 m in length, the leaflets 50-100 cm long. They are similar to the leaves of the palmettos of genus Sabal. The flowers are yellowish-white, about 5 mm across, produced in dense compound panicles up to 60 cm long. The fruit is a large reddish-black drupe and is an important food source for wildlife and historically for humans.
The plant part used is the berry, and the active constituents are free fatty acids and sterols that are standardised to 85-95%.
What does Saw Palmetto do?
There is much research and documentation that supports the benefits of Saw Palmetto for prostate and the urinary tract. Nearly 50% of men over 50 will experience benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), an enlargement of the prostate. Saw Palmetto may be as effective in treating BPH as prescription medication. A clinical trial conducted in France reported that the number of times men had to urinate at night decreased by 45%, and urine flow rate increased by 50%.
In another study, 1300 men that suffer from enlarged prostate were given Saw Palmetto extract for 12 weeks, the participants noted the following:
• Less nighttime urination
• Increased urine flow and volume
In addition, an analysis paper on the clinical trials of Saw Palmetto published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that men given Saw Palmetto were twice as likely to report an improvement in symptoms than those given a placebo.
Who needs Saw Palmetto?
Saw Palmetto is mainly used for the treatment of conditions associated with BPH (nonmalignant enlargement of the prostate gland). Several factors are recognised as playing a major role in the development of BPH. First, functioning testes and a critical level of androgens are essential to the development of BPH. Second, a change in prostatic androgen metabolism occurs that favors the accumulation of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and third, an increase in the ratio of plasma estrogens to androgens. Saw palmetto is believed to inhibit the actions of testosterone on the prostate, which causes enlargement of the prostate which interferes with urinary flow. Saw Palmetto herb helps improve urinary flow, and reduces the frequency and urgency of urination in men with BPH.
Saw Palmetto herb extract has been marketed as an aphrodisiac for men and women, promotes muscle building, and helps build muscle tissues. Saw Palmetto is made up of Fatty acids. Saw Palmetto contains a variety of fatty acids including lauric acid, oleic acid, myristic acid, and palmitic acid, Phytosterols (plant sterols), and polysaccharides.
Saw Palmetto is also used to treat bladder inflammation, chronic bronchitis, among other conditions. The fatty acids in Saw Palmetto are thought to have testosterone inhibiting effects on the prostate. Saw Palmetto also prevents testosterone from converting into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which causes prostate cells to multiply, and also leads to male balding. Saw palmetto herb prevents the binding of DHT to androgen receptors, thus playing a key role in helping prevent and treat prostate enlargement, and also hair loss.
Warning: If you have a hormone dependent illness, prostate problems or are pregnant or lactating consult a healthcare practitioner prior to using Saw Palmetto.