Facts and benefits of Saw palmetto

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Facts and benefits of Saw palmetto

Saw palmetto Quick Facts
Name: Saw palmetto
Scientific Name: Serenoa repens
Origin Subtropical Southeastern United States
Colors Green or yellow before ripening but becomes bluish or black as it matures
Shapes Fleshy, elipsoid drupe, irregularly-spherical to oblong-ovoid, slightly wrinkled
Taste Sweetish and not agreeable
Health benefits Prevents Prostate Cancer and Increases Muscle Mass
Saw palmetto is also known by its scientific name, Serenoa repens is a type of fan palm that usually grows together in clumps and it mainly grows along the Gulf Coast of the United States. Its common names are Scrub Palmetto, Silver Saw Palmetto, American dwarf palm tree, Cabbage palm, Sabal, fan palm, and scrub palm, Sabal Fructus, Fructus Serenoae, Sägepalmenfrüchte, Sägepalme and Old Man’s Best Friend. The plant is native to subtropical Southeastern United States, most commonly along the south Atlantic and Gulf Coastal plains and sand hills. It is the only member of the Serenoa genus that have been used for centuries as a tonic, topical cleanser against germs, and to remedy urinary and reproductive disorders in men. European and American settlers used saw palmetto for a wide range of ailments.

In the early 1900s, men used the berries to treat urinary tract problems, and even to increase sperm production and boost libido. Today, the primary use of saw palmetto is to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. It is also an ingredient in a number of prescription medications commonly prescribed by doctors in Europe.

Plant Description

Saw Palmetto is a hardy plant; extremely slow-growing, and long-lived, with some plants, particularly in Florida possibly being as old as 500–700 years. As a shrub, it grows to a height of 2 to 7 feet (0.6-2.1 m) and as a tree, it may reach 20 to 25 feet (6.0-7.5 m).The plant is found growing in Miami rock ridge pinelands, the dry pineland portions of Big Cypress National Preserve, and commercial plantations. It prefers dry, very well-drained soils, and avoids swamps and poorly drained river terraces. Saw palmetto may also grow on peaty and poorly drained sites. It has a creeping, horizontal growth pattern.

Leaves

Leaves are fan-shaped, evergreen with a bare petiole terminating in a rounded fan of about 20 leaflets. The petiole is armed with fine, sharp teeth or spines that give the species its common name. The leaves are 1–2 m in length, the leaflets 50–100 cm long. They are similar to the leaves of the palmettos of genus Sabal.

Flower & Fruit

Flower is yellowish-white, about 5 mm across, produced in dense compound panicles up to 60 cm long. Flowering normally takes place from April and July. Fruit is fleshy, elipsoid drupe, irregularly-spherical to oblong-ovoid, slightly wrinkled, being from 1/2 to 1 inch long and about 1/2 inch in diameter.  Fruits are green or yellow before ripening but become bluish or black as it matures. It is an important food source for wildlife and historically for humans. The plant is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species such as Batrachedra decoctor, which feeds exclusively on the plant. The health benefits of saw palmetto come from its berries, or drupe fruit. Saw palmetto extract is derived from these berries and is extensively available over the counter in capsule or tincture forms. Saw palmetto is also an ingredient in a number of prescription medications commonly prescribed by doctors in Europe. The saw palmetto is particularly slow-growing, with some specimens living up to 700 years.

Health benefits Of Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto is an outstanding herb for both men and women and is used by natural health practitioners to treat a number of ailments such as testicular inflammation, urinary tract inflammation, coughs and respiratory congestion. It is also used to reinforce the thyroid gland, balance the metabolism, stimulate appetite and aid digestion. This wonderful herb is becoming famous for its uses in hair restoration, prostate health, sexual vigor, breast enhancement and as a nutritive tonic.  Now, let’s take a closer look at the many health benefits of saw palmetto.

1. Prevents Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the main causes of mortality for men. This form of cancer is mainly dangerous because it is related with prostate enlargement, something that naturally happens as men age. Saw palmetto extract helps to reduce prostate enlargement by inhibiting dihydrotestosterone, which encourages cellular reproduction in the prostate. This lowers the chances of developing prostate cancer, eliminating painful urination and the discomfort that accompanies prostate issues. Saw palmetto is also known to speed healing and reduce bleeding in men undergoing prostate surgery.(1)

2. Hair Care

Because of saw palmetto’s hormonal impact on the body, some men have started using saw palmetto to stimulate hair growth as they age. Studies have shown a negative correlation between saw palmetto use and male-pattern baldness symptoms, so if your hair is beginning to thin out, consider some supplementation to wind back the clock. (2)

3. Increases Muscle Mass

Many bodybuilders and people engaged in serious gym time have turned to saw palmetto as a workout supplement. Although research into saw palmetto’s impact on muscle mass and development is still ongoing, early reports do show a correlation between the two. It makes sense, given saw palmetto’s impact on testosterone in the body, which is responsible for muscle mass increase. But it should only be taken in moderation.(3)

4. Treats Impotence

There are some benefits of saw palmetto for women, the most highly researched and admired health benefits are for men. Saw palmetto extract has long been known as a herbal treatment for impotence. Exact pathway that saw palmetto takes in terms of sexual organs and hormones is still somewhat unclear, but the research has certainly piled up showing that it can boost your sexual performance and increase virility.(4)

5. Boosts Immunity

Saw Palmetto has been known to boost the immune system, particularly for mild conditions such as colds, coughs, and sore throats. Headaches and migraine sufferers have also claimed that saw palmetto works as an anti-inflammatory agent and reduces pain and discomfort. This is harmonized with saw palmetto’s other anti-inflammatory activities in the body, mainly in the urinary tract and gut.(5)

6. Kidney Concerns

Urinary organs weaken with age, which is why incontinence is much more common in the elderly population. Research suggests that saw palmetto has strong chemical components that can strengthen urinary organs to prevent incontinence, and also improve the health of the kidneys. If you are at risk of developing kidney stones or already suffer from them, saw palmetto supplementation can be a great way to prevent future issues or treat current problems.(6)

7. Increases Libido

Saw palmetto has been known to increase sex drive and libido in both women and men. Although the hormonal impact of saw palmetto mostly affects testosterone pathways, as a natural aphrodisiac, women can also get a bit more energy in their intimate steps with saw palmetto supplementation.(7)

8. Hirsutism

According to NutritionalSupplementsHealthGuide.com Saw palmetto helps to reverse a condition known as hirsutism (which male-patterned hair growth in women). Hirsutism may be caused by an overabundance of male hormones, especially testosterone. It’s theorized that saw palmetto may block the overproduction of testosterone, thus alleviating unwanted hair, says SawPalmettoFacts.com.

Traditional uses and benefits of Saw Palmetto

  • Drug called serenoa can be derived from the partially dried, ripe fruits of saw-palmetto and used to treat bladder, prostate, and urethra infections.
  • Regular consumption of the fruit is considered to be very beneficial to the health, improving the digestion and helping to increase weight and strength.
  • Saw palmetto berries are a tonic herb that is used in the treatment of debility, urinary tract problems and for reducing enlarged prostate glands.
  • Partially dried ripe fruit is aphrodisiac, urinary antiseptic, diuretic, expectorant, sedative and tonic.
  • It is taken internally in the treatment of impotence, debility in elderly men, prostate enlargement and inflammation, bronchial complaints associated with coldness, and wasting diseases.
  • Saw palmetto is one of the few Western herbs that are considered to be anabolic.
  • Fruit pulp, or a tincture, is given to those suffering from wasting disease, general debility and failure to thrive.
  • Fruit has a beneficial effect on the urinary system, helping to reduce the size of an enlarged prostate gland and strengthening the neck of the bladder.
  • Fruit has a probable oestrogenic action, it is recommended in the treatment of impotence, reduced or absent sex drive and testicular atrophy in men and to stimulate breast enlargement in women.
  • Fruit is also used in the treatment of colds, coughs, irritated mucous membranes, asthma etc.
  • Suppository of the powdered fruits, in cocoa butter, has been used as a uterine and vaginal tonic.
  • It is used for many complaints which are complemented by chronic catarrh.
  • It has superb effects on urogenital irritations, impotence and male infertility.
  • If a woman has repeated miscarriages due to hypothyroidism, saw palmetto will correct the situation and increase fertility.
  • It prevents the growth of tumor cells and reduces the risk of Cancer.
  • It is diuretic and eases the pain associated with painful urination.
  • It acts as a barrier and inhibits the development of kidney stones.
  • It is beneficial to treat cold, cough, Asthma, Bronchitis and other Respiratory infections.
  • It promotes digestion and aids the appetite.
  • It was believed to increase sex drive in men and sperm production.
  • Inner bark of the trunk was used to treat snake bites, insect bites and skin ulcers.

Ayurvedic Health benefits of Saw Palmetto

  • Small Breast: Take dried berries of Saw Palmetto. Prepare a decoction. Have 2 tsp twice a day for two months. OR Take it in the form of Tea. ( Massage is also necessary with Saw Palmetto extract with above mentioned dosages.)
  • Prostrate Enlargement: Prepare a decoction of the fruit of Saw Palmetto. Have ½ glass once a day.
  • Baldness: Have 5 to 6 fresh Saw Palmetto berries daily. OR Take Saw Palmetto capsules of 160 mg two times a day.
  • Prostatitis: Take Saw Palmetto capsules of 160 mg twice a day for a month.
  • Hair Fall: Dilute 5 to 6 drops of Saw Palmetto essential oil into a tsp of Olive oil. Gently massage on your scalp with this oil. Apply it twice daily to induce the growth of Hair.
  • PCOS: Have fresh or dried berries of Saw Palmetto. OR Have 1 cup of Saw Palmetto fruit decoction 2 times in a day. OR Have 1 Saw Palmetto capsules every day. OR Buy Sabal Serrulata mother tincture from a homeopathy shop and take 10 drops 2 times in a day in a glass of water.
  • Baldness: Take 1 tbsp of grounded Saw Palmetto berries and mix it with Aloe Vera gel. Apply this mixture to the bald areas on your scalp. Leave it for 20 minutes. Rinse off with fresh water. It significantly reduces hair loss and promotes hair growth.
  • Baldness: Add 1 tbsp of each grounded Saw Palmetto and Indian gooseberry in 2 tbsp of castor oil. Mix it well. Massage your scalp with this mixture. Leave it for the whole night. Rinse off your hair in the morning with fresh water. Repeat it daily to get the best results.
  • Baldness: Mix 1 tbsp of Saw Palmetto powder in 2 tsp of Jaborandi hair oil. Massage your scalp with this oil daily to stop hair loss. Jaborandi hair oil is a hair tonic, mixing it with Saw Palmetto promotes fast growth to the roots.

Recommended Doses for Saw Palmetto

  • When using saw palmetto to treat BPH, the recommended dose is starting with 320 milligrams three times daily for four months, then dropping down to 320 milligrams once a day.
  • For treating early stages of BPH, take 160 milligrams twice a day.
  • For the treatment of bald spots, take 200 milligrams twice daily, combined with 50 milligrams of beta-sitosterol twice daily.
  • You can drink saw palmetto tea, but keep in mind that the fatty acids, its most active ingredient, are not soluble in water and won’t be as effective as capsules.

Other Facts

  • Serenoa repens petioles (leafstalks) are covered with many tiny prickles.
  • Saw-palmetto leaves provide thatch and Christmas decorations.
  • Saw palmetto stems are a source of tannin acid extract and can be processed into a cork substitute.
  • Saw-palmetto can be used for watershed protection, erosion control, and phosphate-mine reclamation.
  • The leaf stems have been used in making baskets.
  • The plant has been used to make brushes and cordage.
  • Other parts of the plant are used to make baskets, brooms and ropes.
  • Some species of saw palmetto may last up to 700 years old.

Precautions

  • Avoid with other hormonal drugs.
  • Avoid during pregnancy and lactation.
  • Rare adverse effects include: mild headache and gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Possible back pain and blood pressure increase.
  • Saw palmetto in high doses may result in loss of libido in both men and women.
  • It may cause side effects if not taken in limited doses or more than suggested doses. It may cause dizziness and abdominal pain.
  • It may upset the abdominal pain, to reduce the risk of pain take saw palmetto with breakfast or dinner.
  • Avoid saw palmetto if you are on blood thinning medication or have hemophilia, ulcers or if you are planning for a surgery.
  • Reduces the effectiveness of contraceptive pills. Beware if you do not want a child.
  • Saw palmetto extract is not suggested in children under 12 years old because it may affect the metabolism of androgen and estrogen hormones.
  • Saw palmetto can affect blood-clotting and may also increase your risk of bleeding.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=42508#null

https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/2091/

http://www.pfaf.org/USER/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Serenoa+repens

https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/saw-palmetto

http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/sawpal26.html

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl/record/kew-190787

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=sere2

http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/saw-palmetto

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serenoa

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