Saw palmetto: Uses, medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Saw palmetto: Uses, medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

The palm is native to the coastal southern states of the USA and Central America. The dried berries come from wild deposits in these areas. The ripe, dried fruits of the saw palmetto (Sabalis serrulatae fructus) are used in herbal medicine.

Characteristics of saw palmetto

The saw palmetto is a bush palm up to 4 m tall with a short trunk and yellow to grey-green leaves that unfold like a fan. The leaves are divided into about 20 segments and are sharply serrated, giving the plant its name. The leaves sit on petioles up to 1.5 m long with spines.


Saw palmetto fruit as medicine

The dense inflorescences bear oval, single-seeded drupes that are dark red to black at harvest and slightly larger than an olive. The dried saw palmetto fruits are black and between 1 and 3 cm in size.

Inside the berries are the brown flesh and a tough seed. The seeds are also brown on the outside and white on the inside.

Smell and taste of saw palmetto fruit.

I saw that the palmetto fruit smelled slightly unpleasant but not vile. The taste of saw palmetto fruit is initially aromatic and sweet but then turns into a burning taste.

Saw Palmetto – Application

The prostate (prostate gland) is enlarged (usually benign) in about 75% of men over the age of 60. While malignant enlargement usually develops in the outer parts of the prostate, benign enlargement (benign hyperplasia) usually develops in the inner parts of the prostate gland, which directly surround the urethra.

As a result, in benign prostatic hyperplasia, the urethra can become narrowed, leading to symptoms such as difficulty urinating (difficulty voiding), inflammation, and a feeling of not being able to empty the bladder.

Saw palmetto fruit for prostate problems

Extracts from saw palmetto fruits can help with such complaints. They are, therefore, taken for problems with urination and problems with emptying the bladder – but only if the symptoms can be traced back to a benign prostate enlargement of stage I or II. However, the plant cannot stop the further growth of the prostate gland.

Saw palmetto fruits are also suitable for combination with other herbal prostate remedies such as nettles.


Folk medicinal use of saw palmetto

Saw palmetto fruits only became known as an herbal remedy at the beginning of the 20th century. In folk medicine, the fruits are also used in sporadic cases to treat bladder inflammation, testicles and mammary glands.

The fruits are also said to affect inflammation of the mucous membranes of the bronchi. However, the effectiveness of saw palmetto fruits for these indications has yet to be scientifically proven.

Saw palmetto fruits in homoeopathy

In homoeopathy, extracts from saw palmetto fruits are also taken for painful urination.


Ingredients of saw palmetto fruits.

The compounds in saw palmetto fruits that determine the effectiveness are saturated fatty acids, fatty acid ethyl esters, fatty alcohols, linolenic acid, phytosterols and water-soluble polysaccharides.

Saw palmetto: Indication

Areas of application for saw palmetto fruits are:

  • Benign prostate enlargement, Benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Bladder emptying disorders
  • Difficulty micturition
  • Inflammation of the prostate

Saw palmetto – dosage

Extracts are made from the dried saw palmetto fruits using a solvent (alcohol or a lipophilic substance, that is, a substance that mixes easily with fat). These are commercially available in the form of capsules or dragees.

Saw palmetto fruits: what dose?

Unless otherwise prescribed, the average daily dose is 1-2 g of the drug or 320 mg of the components that can be extracted with lipophilic or alcoholic solvents. The effect of the fruit usually occurs slowly, so it is recommended to use it for at least 1-2 months.


Saw palmetto: preparation and storage

There is no need to make tea because saw palmetto fruits are not suitable for serving as tea.

The drug should be stored dry and protected from light.

special instructions

Interactions with other substances and contraindications are currently unknown.

Taking extracts from saw palmetto fruits can treat the symptoms of benign prostate enlargement, but it cannot stop further growth of the prostate. That’s why regular prostate checks by a specialist are essential.

Before starting therapy, it should also be diagnosed that the discomfort when urinating is due to a benign enlargement and that there are no other causes, such as a malignant tumour of the prostate.

Saw palmetto – synonyms

German plant name: Saw palmetto

German synonyms of the plant: Dwarf palm, Sabal palm

Latin plant name: Serenoa repens

Latin synonyms of the plant: Serena repens (BARTRAM) SMALL., Serena serrulata, Serena serrulata (MICHAUX) NICHOLS, Sabal serratula (MICHAUX) BENTH. and HOOK

German drug name: Saw palmetto fruits

German synonyms of the drug: Saw Palm Fruit, Dwarf Palm Fruit, Sabal Fruit

Latin drug name: Sabalis serrulate fruits

Latin synonyms of the drug: Sabal fruits

English name: Saw-palmetto berries (Droge); Sabal, Saw palmetto, Scrub-palmetto (Pflanze)

Plant family Latin: Arecaceae

Plant family German: Palm trees, palm trees


Saw palmetto – effect

The enzymatic conversion of the hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone plays a central role in the development of prostate hyperplasia. Experiments have shown that alcoholic extracts can inhibit the enzyme that catalyzes this reaction from saw palmetto.

The fruit also has a decongestant and anti-inflammatory effect. All of this leads to reduced pressure on the urethra and, thus, a reduced urge to urinate and an improvement in symptoms.

Saw palmetto: side effects

In rare cases, when taking extracts from saw palmetto fruit, stomach problems occur. Interactions with other substances and contraindications are currently unknown.

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