Saw Palmetto

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Serenoa Repens (Saw Palmetto)

Serenoa repens also known as Saw Palmetto or Sabal is native to the sand dunes of North America, spanning along the Atlantic and Caribbean coasts, stretching as far as South Carolina to Texas. They can grow as small palms to over 6 meters tall, with yellow-green leaves, ivory flowers and dark purple to black berries. The seeds are harvested in the Spring, while the berries are harvested in the Autumn and are removed with their seeds intact.
Frequently consumed by Native North Americans and animals, early European settlers in 19th century, found the fruit pulp as an excellent tonic for debility, urinary tract issues and enlarged prostate glands.1 The berries have been used for over 100 years to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia.2 Historically, the herb was also used for to treat female health concerns as well.3
Nicknamed the “plant catheter” Saw Palmetto was long used traditionally as a urinary remedy, as it was found to strengthen the neck of the bladder and reduce enlarged prostate glands in men. It can also be used as a diuretic to improve urinary flow, frequent urination, and in cases of urinary cystitis as a urinary antiseptic. It is also considered to strengthen and build body tissue, by encouraging weight gain, and hence from a Western perspective is seen to be an anabolic herb.1  The herb is also known to treat male and female infertility concerns.4
Extensive clinical health research in Europe has found Saw Palmetto specifically in a lipid or fat extract to be effective in reversing enlarged prostate glands and through this, to assist in relieving urinary flow and reducing urinary retention.2 Saw Palmetto is also known for its hormonal activity, through it’s ability to bind to specific male sex hormones making them less active within the prostate gland, hence reducing the size of the prostate gland.1 Nonetheless, promising research of Saw Palmetto has been assessed in various clinical studies for the clinical treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, known also as benign prostatic hypertrophy, and prostatic adenoma, a non-malignant condition common in men 40 years of age and older.2
1. Chevallier, Andrew. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. DK Publishing, 1996. Print.
2. Barrett, Marilyn. The Handbook of Cliincally Tested Herbal Remedies: Volume 2. Haworth Herbal Press: 2004. Print.
3. Hoffman, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Healing Arts Press: 2003. Print.
4. Bone, Kerry. The Ultimate Herbal Compendium: A Desktop Guide for Herbal Prescribers. Phytotherapy Press, 2007. Print.


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