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Saw Palmetto

Serenoa Repens

Historically, the American Indians used saw palmetto berries in the treatment of genitor-urinary tract and prostate disorders. It was also used to increase testicular function, relieve mucous membrane irritation, help mammary gland disorders and atrophy, and as a tonic to support the body nutritionally. Saw palmetto is also known for its effects on reducing congestive catarrhal conditions of the respiratory system. The saw palmetto berries contain an abundance of nutritional and pharmacological agents including; carotenoids, lipases, tannins, sugars, and fatty acids such as caprylic acid, palmitic acid, oleic acid, and beta-sitosterol.


One to three capsules daily. Positive results in BPH studies suggest 160mg of the lipo-sterolic extract twice daily. Numerous studies on saw palmetto have shown it to be effective in nearly 90 percent of patients, usually in a period of 4 to 6 weeks. No restriction on duration of use.

Potential applications

Mild to moderate BPH, prostatitis, and urinary infections. Conditions of androgen excess e.g. PCOS, male pattern baldness. Respiratory congestion and irritation. Tones the male reproductive system. Studies suggest that saw palmetto is cytotoxic towards cancer cells within the prostate.

Known contraindications

No significant side effects have been noted in clinical trials with saw palmetto extracts. However, in rare cases, saw palmetto can cause stomach problems. According to some clinical trials, saw palmetto extract does not appear to interfere with accurate measuring of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) - a marker for prostate cancer. No adverse effects in regards to pregnancy and lactation although physician guidance recommended.


At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with saw palmetto.

Use in conjunction with

  • Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia - Pumpkin seed oil, Rhodiola, zinc complex, multi-phytonutrient complex.
  • Diet and lifestyle - regular aerobic exercise, stress management, adequate sleep, antioxidant rich diet, low saturated / hydrogenated fats, regular meals, keep hydrated (1.5 litres water). A high protein (40% protein) appears to inhibit 5AR. May help reduce insulin response.


Saw palmetto has a history of use as an aphrodisiac.


© Cheryl Thallon at Viridian

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