Saw Palmetto

General Information

Common Name:

Saw Palmetto

Latin Name:

Serenoa Repens
Serenoa Serrulate


Palmaceae [Arecaceae]

Other Names:

  • American dwarf palm tree;
  • Sabal;
  • Cabbage palm;
  • Serenoa.

Indications & Historical Uses

  • Benign prostatic hypertrophy;
  • Prostate inflammation;
  • Impotence, low libido;
  • Urinary tract disorders, nocturia, enuresis;
  • Treatment of Male Pattern Baldness;
  • Female infertility;
  • May increase breast size in women;
  • Male and female aphrodisiac;
  • Anti-inflammatory agent;
  • Appetite stimulant;
  • General nutritional tonic to increase muscle strength.

Contraindications & Precautions

None known at therapeutic doses. See Caution.
DO NOT USE IN PREGNANCY. Not advisable for anybody suffering from a hormone dependent illness such as breast cancer. Precautions:
None known. See Caution.

Adverse Side Effects:
None known. In rare instances upset stomach and headache may occur. See Caution.

Drug Interactions:
None known. See Caution. However, since mechanism of action of Saw Palmetto is similar to Finasteride (Proscar) it may be important not to use those two medications concurrently due to the possibility of an additive effect. Conversely, San Palmetto’s anti-androgenic activity could diminish the effect of therapeutic androgens. Also, may interact negatively with hormone replacement therapy.

Dosage Information

How Supplied:

500mg tablets or capsules.


500 mg three times per day.


Saw Palmetto was once widely used for urogenital ailments prior to World War ll. Since then, European Scientists have conducted studies on Saw Palmetto and recognized its’ therapeutic value in Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. [BPH ]. Studies have shown that Saw Palmetto extract reduced the uptake, in tissue specimens ,of both testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by more than 40%. Other studies have shown that Saw Palmetto inhibits the conversion of the less active testosterone to the more active DHT by inhibiting the enzyme 5 alpha reductase. Hence Saw Palmetto, by blocking the binding of DHT to nuclear receptor sites and inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to DHT, decreases the proliferative effects of DHT on prostate cells (a mechanism similar to Finasteride – Proscar ,but without its side-effect. Proscar may cause hypotension and lethargy). Saw Palmetto also inhibits the cyclo-oxygenase and 5-lipoxygenase pathways, which results in prevention of biosynthesis of inflammation producing substances such as prostaglandin and leukotrienes. It also inhibits the arachidonic acid cascade, and all these account for the anti-inflammatory and anti-edematous properties of saw palmetto. Together, the anti-androgenic and anti-inflammatory effects of Saw Palmetto account for its effectiveness in treating BPH. Placebo-controlled double blind clinical studies in over 2,000 patients in Germany confirms the effectiveness of Saw Palmetto in BPH. Saw Palmetto has become a very popular herb because of its efficacy, low potential for toxicity and an increasing population of middle-aged men seeking relief from symptoms of BPH – namely urinary frequency, dysuria and nocturia. As a result of its efficacy and low potential for toxicity, it is now prescribed as a first line treatment for mild BPH. by many physicians. It is important to note that Saw Palmetto does not reduce the size of the prostate, although it relieves the urinary symptoms. Also, men should be aware that lower urinary tract symptoms ,that may be relieved by Saw Palmetto ,could be symptoms of Prostate Cancer. Such symptoms include urinary frequency, inability to urinate, trouble starting or holding back urination and a weak or interrupted flow of urine. Men experiencing these symptoms should be evaluated by their physician. In the U.S., a prescription drug called FINASTERIDE (proscar) with exactly the same mode of action has been approved for prostatic cancer and also for male pattern baldness .

Active Ingredients:

  • Steroidal saponins;
  • Fatty acids;
  • Phytosterols;
  • Volatile oil;
  • Resin;
  • Tannins.

Enhancing Agents:

  • Pygeum


Saw Palmetto is a small palm tree with large leaves and large deep red blackberries found along the North American Atlantic Coast (Florida). The berries were used by American Indians in the treatment of genito urinary tract problems including enuresis, nocturia and urinary tract disorders. Recent clinical trials have been shown that Saw Palmetto berries are very effective the treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia.


The large deep red blackberries of the Saw Palmetto are picked when ripe, then partially dried, and prepared into a purified fat soluble extract and processed into tablets or capsule form.

Scientific References

Campault, G. et al. (1984) A double blind trial of an extract of the plant Seronoa repens in benign prostatic hyperplasia. Br. J. Clin Pharm. 18:461.

Mowrey, D. (1986) The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine. Cormorant Books.

Harischfeger, G. and Stolze, H.: Zeitschrift fur Phytotherapie 10:71-76 (1989).

El Sheikh, M.M., Dakkak, M.R. and Saddique, A.: Acta Obsterica et Gynecologica Scandinavica 67:398-399 (1988).

Casarosa, C., Di Coscio, M.C.O., and Fratta, M.: Clinical Therapeutics 10:686-588 (1988).

Sultan, C. et al. (6 other authors): Journal of Steroid Biochemistry 20:515-519 (1984).

Breu, W., Stadler, F., Hagenlocher, M. and Wagner, H.: Zeitschrift fur Phytotherapie 13:107-115 (1992).

Hansel, R. and Haas, H.: Therapie mit Phytopharmaka, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1984, p. 202.

Heirmann, A.: Archiv der Pharmazie 322:111-114.

Varro, E.T.: Herbs of Choice The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinal. Pharmaceutical Producres Press, Moriarty Press, 1994.

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