What Is Saw Palmetto? Can It Help You?


Saw palmetto

A small North American palm like plant is called saw palmetto. The extract is obtained from the berries of the plant and it comprises of different fatty acids and sterols. Initial native uses of this extract have helped in improving the reproductive, urinary and genital problems.

Constituents of Saw palmetto

It basically comprises of fatty acids like- lauric acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid and myritic acid. Also phytosterols( plant sterols) and polysaccharides.

Uses of Saw Palmetto

It may be of great help in improvement in a condition of BPH or benign prostrate hyperplasia. It is very important as it inhibits the testosterone from acting on the prostrate and interferes with the urine flow. Saw Palmetto may aid in regulating urine flow and may help in reduction of the frequency and urgency of urine flow in men affected by BPH. It may be also used to treat bladder inflammation and chronic bronchitis; it also helps in prevention of balding in men by stopping the testosterone by converting and multiplying the cells. Saw Palmetto also inhibits androgen and estrogen activity and may help in the balanced growth of hormones both amongst men and women. It can also be beneficial in women for breast enlargement and to treat uterine irritability. However owing to hormonal activity saw palmetto is not recommended to pregnant and breast feeding women.

Interaction with Drugs

The interaction with other drugs is still a growing field for saw palmetto. The interactions Mentioned below are those from scientific journals however it is recommended that whenever it is taken it should be on the prescription of a doctor.


It is highly inadvisable to take Saw palmetto with drugs that affect the level of male sex hormones. It is believed in theory that saw palmetto interferes with contraceptive pills and hormone replacement therapy. The combination herbal product PC-SPES has saw palmetto and warfarin an anticoagulant. There is a can be a serious risk of bleeding if PC-SPES is used with drugs that can cause bleeding like warfarin and clopidogrel.

Interactions of Saw Palmetto with herbs and dietary Supplements

According to theory saw palmetto may interfere with herbs having estrogen like properties like redclover and soy. The tannins that could be present in saw palmetto affect the absorption of iron in the body.

Side Effects of Saw Palmetto

The scientific journals and studies report that saw palmetto users can have gastrointestinal trouble, mild headache, erectile dysfunction, mild headache and insomnia. There can be chances of stomach upset, fatigue and restlessness. It is advisable to stop taking saw palmetto before surgeries as it causes bleeding at tiems in some people.


The usage mentioned below is according to scientific journals and traditional usage-

Adults- aged 18 or older

o A usage of 320 milligrams daily if taken as tablets and capsules

o Berries- Two grams of ground berries or whole taken by mouth

o Tincture- two to four ml for oral dosage

Children- Aged below 18

There is no satisfactory evidence to give saw palmetto to children.

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Author: Piyawut Sutthiruk

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