Saw Palmetto

Medicinal Parts:  The partially dried, ripe fruit and the ripe, fresh fruit.

Demonstrated Uses  This herb is most frequently used for urination problems in benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH).  However, it should be noted that while it provides some relief for the difficulties associated with this condition, Saw Palmetto has not been demonstrated to reduce the enlargement itself.  A physician should be consulted before using this herb for symptoms of prostate problems.

How it Works The extract of this herb appears to have anti-male sex hormone action.  This action may work to prevent the accumulation of a certain steroid that could lead to prostate hyperplasia (Carilla, 1984; Goepel, 1999).  This herb also seems to have anti-estrogen properties which may slow enlargement in individuals with BPH.  Saw Palmetto also has anti-inflammatory properties.

Precautions:  There are no known side effects or health hazards associated with taking this herb.  Because of its effect on various hormones, the use of hormones and hormone-like drugs may need to be monitored.  Because of its effects on hormones, the use of this herb may not be recommended during pregnancy or breast-feeding.  

Daily Dosage:  Dosages used in studies showed effectiveness at 160 mg, 2 times per day or 320 mg, once per day (Carraro, 1996; Gerber, 1998; Grasso, 1995).

Storage:  There are no specific storage precautions required.



Carilla, E., Briley, M., Fauran, F., et al. (1984).  Binding of Permixon (R), a new treatment for prostatic benign hyperplasia, to the cytosolic androgen receptor in rat prostate.  Journal of Steroid Biochemistry, 20:  521-523.

Carraro, J., Raynaud, J., Koch, G., et al.  (October 29, 1996).  Comparison of phytotherapy (Permixon) with finasteride in the treatment of benign prostate hyperplasia: a randomized international study of 1,098 patients.  Prostate, 4: 231-240.

Gerber, G.S., Zagaja, G.P., Bales, G.T., et al. (June, 1998).  Saw Palmetto (Seronoa repens) in men with lower urinary tract symptoms:  effects on urodynamic parameters and voiding symptoms.  Urology, 6: 1003-7.

Goepel, M.,  Hecker,, U., Krege, S., et al.  (February 15, 1999). Saw Palmetto extracts potently and noncompetitively inhibit human alpha 1-adrenoceptors in vitro.  Prostate, 38(3): 208-15.

Grasso, M., Montesano, A., Buonaguidi, A., et al. (January-February, 1995).  Comparative effects of alfuzosin versus Serenoa repens in the treatment of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia.  Arch Esp Urol, 1: 97-103.