Latin Name: Serenoa repens
English: Saw Palmetto
Other Names : Sabal serrulatum, Sabal serulata, Sabalis serulata, Sabalis serulatae, Serenoa serrulata, Serenoa serrulatae, Sabal Fructus, Fructus Serenoae, saw palmetto, American dwarf palm tree, cabbage palm, Bartram small,Nutall ex,Palmaceae.
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) comes from a palm-like plant that grows in the southeast United States. It grows as a shrub that attains a height of 0.6 – 2.1 m (2 – 7 feet), or as a small tree that grows to 6 – 7.5 m (20 – 25 feet). Shrubs grow in a creeping horizontal form with many branches on their stems. As a tree, the crown projects above the many tangled branches. Stems run parallel to the soil, and can gradually bury to form rhizomes. Stems sprouted from rhizomes can measure 3 – 4.6 meters (10 to 15 feet) in length.
Two vegetative forms are recognized. The common type is yellow-green in color, while the less common type is a blue-green color sometimes referred to as the silver form (Essig et al. 2000). This type occurs in a continuous stretch in a narrow belt along Florida’s east coast from St. John’s to Dade Counties, and occasionally inland in Polk and Highlands Counties (Essig et al. 2000).
Saw palmetto is easily recognized by its multiple leaves, or fronds, that protrude from horizontal stems the occur at or slightly below ground level. Fronds are evergreen and palmate (fan-shaped), measuring approximately 1 m (3 feet) in width. Petioles bear sharp spines from which this species earned its common name.
Flowers are white and borne on stalked panicles growing from leaf axils. It bears deep reddish-brown oblong-ovoid fruit. The fruit is slightly wrinkled and contains one hard seed. The fruit of Saw palmetto is a yellowish green in the unripe state, gradually turning blue-black as it ripens. Fruits are fleshy and ellipsoid in shape.
Medicinal Properties and Uses:
Saw Palmetto is mainly used for the treatment of conditions associated with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), such as increased night-time urination or decreased urinary flow. Several factors are recognized as playing a major role in the development of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). First, functioning testes and a critical level of androgens are essential to the development of BPH. Second, a change in prostatic androgen metabolism occurs that favors the accumulation of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and third, an increase in the ratio of plasma estrogens to androgens.
Saw palmetto blocks certain effects of certain hormones in the body and also has some anti-inflammatory actions.
Saw palmetto has been used historically to treat stomach or intestinal problems, bladder irritation, and bronchitis.
Saw palmetto is also used for other conditions, including chronic pelvic pain, bladder disorders, decreased sex drive, hair loss, and hormone imbalances.
Recent clinical research appears to have proven that Saw Palmetto extract is beneficial in Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). Its mechanism of action in the treatment of BPH is reported that Saw Palmetto inhibits the conversion of testosterone to DHT, the agent thought to be responsible for the enlargement of the prostrate. In addition Saw Palmetto extract inhibits the binding of DHT to receptors thus blocking its action. It has also been shown to have an inhibitory effect both on androgen and estrogen nuclear receptors. This is accomplished without interfering with testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, or luteinizing hormone levels. Most importantly, Saw Palmetto does not affect PSA levels, thus it does not mask the ability of PSA tests to detect cancer. the Wilt meta-analysis reported in J.A.M.A. and the Carraro study published in Prostate) Dr. Leonard Marks of the urological sciences research foundation in his research confirms this.In Europe saw palmetto extract is the most commonly used as a phytotherapeutic agent for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) Saw Palmetto Dosage recommendations for prostate conditions:
Standardized extract 10:1 (85-95% fatty acids), 160 mg twice daily or 320 mg once daily
Dosage Of Saw Palmetto Tincture:
30-60 drops in water or juice, 2-3 times daily or as needed.
Side Effects and Cautions:
Saw palmetto may cause mild side effects, including stomach discomfort. Some men using saw palmetto have reported side effects such as tender breasts and a decline in sexual desire. Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.