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Saw Palmetto

Botanical name(s):

Sabal, Sabal serrulata, Serenoa repens

Common names:

Saw palmetto, shrub palmetto, dwarf palm

General description

The saw palmetto tree is native to North America. It grows 4–10 feet tall depending on its region. The medicinal part is the ripe, dried berry, also called Sabal fructus. Both the berries and seeds of the saw palmetto plant are used.

Saw palmetto is claimed to reduce the signs and symptoms of an enlarged prostate. It is widely used in the treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).

Medically valid uses

Research on saw palmetto for treating symptoms of BPH are inconsistent and contradictory. 

Unsubstantiated claims

Please note that this section reports on claims that have NOT yet been substantiated through scientific studies.

Saw palmetto is claimed to stimulate the appetite, tone and strengthen the male reproductive system, and reduce inflammation of the prostate. There are claims that saw palmetto extracts may also enhance sexual desire and functioning and alleviate some of the afflictions of old age.

Dosing format

Saw palmetto berry extracts are found in tablet, extract, tea, and capsule form.

Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

The saw palmetto berries and extract are considered safe. There are few side effects, except for mild headaches and stomach problems in rare cases.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consult a physician before taking any herbal medicines.

There are no known significant food or drug interactions.

Always consult with a physician before starting any type of herbal therapy.

Additional information

Click here for a list of reputable websites with general information on nutrition.

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