Herb Reference Guide

Saw Palmetto

History

This member of the Palmae/Arcaceae plant family is native to the southeastern part of the US and West Indies and was used by tribes such as the Mikasuki Seminoles for making baskets, rope, brushes, and other useful items as well as for a food and medicine source. It has been used for at least 150 years in North America as a complete genito-urinary tonic for men as well as for some conditions in Women. Finley Ellingwood; M.D. wrote about these uses in his work called; The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy in 1919. It was also given a nod in King's American Dispensatory written by a doctor (Harvey Wickes Felter) and a pharmacist (John Uri Lloyd) in 1898. They mention its use for various respiratory ailments as well including laryngitis.

Function

Saw Palmetto has been the focus of numerous clinical studies that have pointed toward its effectiveness in supporting proper function of the prostate. This is especially relevant for men over the age of 50, to help maintain normal function of the prostate.

Uses of Saw Palmetto

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Saw Palmetto Berries contain numerous lipids including lauric, myristic and oleic acids, tri, di and monoglycerides, and phyto-sterols including large amounts of beta-sitosterol. It also contains Flavonoids, polysaccharides and an enzyme called lipase which splits the tri-glycerides into free fatty acids during the drying process and gives the berries their characteristic sharp odor.

Parts Used

  • Berry

Important precautions

Additional Resources

Carraro JC, et al. Prostate. 1996;29(4):231-40.

Niederprum HJ, et al. Testosterone 5-reductase inhibition by fatty acids from sabal serulata fruits. Phytomedicine. 1994;1: 127-133.