Part Used: Semi-dried mature berry
Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a small palm tree found in West Indies and Atlantic Coast of the United States which grows from 6 to 10 feet high. It 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. The active constituents in Saw Palmetto are volatile oil, steroidal saponin, tannins, and polysaccharides. Saw Palmetto is a tonic, and is one of the few herbal remedies that are considered to be anabolic - it strengthens and builds body tissues. It has been effectively used in Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) and Thyroid deficiency. The herb has properties like antiseptic, sedative, cardiac, tonic, and diuretic.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (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 increases DHT's breakdown and excretion. Some of the clinical trials with Saw Palmetto show that it decreases symptoms associated with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), especially reducing the urge to urinate during the night. In general, results have been positive – possibly due to Saw Palmetto’s potential ability to block at least partially the effects of an enzyme that promotes and maintains prostate cell growth. It has also been reported to have mild anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, diuretic, and sedative properties.
Saw Palmetto inhibits androgen and estrogen receptor activity and may be beneficial for both sexes in balancing the hormones. Because of it hormonal effects it can aid the thyroid in regulating sexual development and normalizing activity of those glands and organs. Women have used the herb to stimulate breast enlargement and lactation as well as treating ovarian and uterine irritability. It has been prescribed for reduced or absent sex drive, impotence and frigidity. Because of its potential hormonal effects, pregnant women should not use it. The berries of the herb have been recommended in treatment of diseases that deprive the body of strength and growth. Preliminary evidence exists to also suggest Saw Palmetto may also aid those suffering from thyroid deficiency. It is a good expectorant for use in clearing chest congestion and can be used to treat coughs, asthma, and bronchitis. It has also been used to stimulate appetite, improve digestion, nourish the nervous system and increase the assimilation of nutrients to the body. Saw Palmetto was listed in the United States Pharmacopeia from 1906 to 1917, and in the National Formulary from 1926 to 1950. Saw Palmetto extract is a licensed product in several European countries.
Drug Digest. http://www.drugdigest.org/DD/DVH/HerbsWho/0,3923,4066%7CSaw+Palmetto,00.html
Holistic Online. http://www.holisticonline.com/Herbal-Med/_Herbs/h21.htm
Herbal Information Center. http://www.kcweb.com/herb/sawpalm.htm