Saw Palmetto

(serenoa repens)

Saw palmetto (sometimes referred to as sabal in Europe) is a native of the southeast United States. The berries of the plant are used medicinally. In the early part of the twentieth century, saw palmetto berry tea was commonly recommended by herbalists for a variety of urinary tract ailments in men. Some believed the berry increased sperm production and sex drive in men.

What it does

Saw palmetto contains fatty acids, sterols and ester which have a balancing effect on male hormones. Saw palmetto is able to block an enzyme, called 5-alpha-reductase, which convert testosterone into di-hydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is an aggressive hormone which causes the prostate gland to grow.

Saw palmetto is also a urinary antiseptic and is said to be an aphrodisiac.

Potential Uses

BPH Prostatitis Polycystic ovaries
Impotence Hormone induced hair loss in women Male pattern baldness
Frequent urination (men) Difficulty or pain when passing urine (men)

Other information

Saw palmetto is clinically proven to treat prostate enlargement and its associated symptoms such as frequent urination, difficulty or pain when passing urine and impotence. The active fatty acids and sterols of this plant have been found to inhibit DHT’s transport and binding to cell receptors, as well as reducing the activity of 5-alpha-reductase, the enzyme needed for oestrogen production and for conversion of testosterone to DHT.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is also associated with elevated DHT and oestrogen, and thus may be very responsive to saw palmetto therapy.

As with male-pattern baldness, elevated DHT can also lead to ‘male pattern’ hair loss in women, suggesting a potential value to saw palmetto. This problem appears to be especially common in women who suffer with polycystic ovaries.


If you take anti-inflammatory, hormone therapy or immunostimulant drugs, check with your doctor before taking Saw Palmetto.

Saw Palmetto does not interfere with the PSA test for prostate cancer.

Generally, there are no side effects or contra-indications from using Saw palmetto.

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