Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto, which belongs to the Aracaceae family, is known under the scientific name “Serenoa repens”.
Previously, American Indians who lived in South-East America used the fruits harvested from sabal for food and to treat certain ailments:

– disorders of the urinary tract in men,

– breast disorders in women,

– digestive disorders,

– and dysentery.

More benefits are allocated to it, such as aphrodisiac, antiseptic, expectorant properties.

When the European colonizers appeared, they quickly added this berry to their diet and to that of their farm animals. They also learned to use the fruits in much the same manner as the native Americans did.
However, as time passed, they relinquished saw palmetto fruit as a food item because it tasted somewhat like soap, and only retained the medicinal uses.

Later on, at the beginning of the 20th century, American doctors used dwarf palm berries to treat clinical occurrences of benign prostatic hyperplasia, libido disorders, irritation of mucous membranes and tissues, prostate swelling and urinary tract infections.

This plant was on the official United States list of medicines until 1950, at which point doctors decided it wasn’t deemed competitive enough compared to new emerging treatments.

However, saw palmetto still is very popular and very much used in Europe. French doctors invented an oil-based extract in 1960 that is still in use today.

In Italy, Austria and Germany, this saw palmetto oil-based extract is often used to treat benign prostate hyperplasia.

Americans had to wait until the 1990s to have renewed access to fan palmetto products, packaged together with African cherry, pumpkin seeds and nettles in natural therapy products.

Saw palmetto health benefits and therapeutic properties
The therapeutic properties of dwarf palm are many.

According to research produced by scientists, saw palmetto is a:

– light sedative. It is used in case of sleep disorders, bronchitis and bouts of cough.

– anti-edema

– peripheral antiandrogen that enhances treatments connected to benign prostatic hyperplasia.

From these benefits, saw palmetto is recommended for use to alleviate:

– difficulties when urinating, either due to bladder disorders or to obstacles along the excretion canal.
Such an alteration of the bladder is also called dysuria.

– nocturnal micturition disorders due to bladder hyperactivity. The urgent feeling of needing to urinate is also called pollakiuria.

– prostate adenoma

Seemingly, saw palmetto:

– inhibits conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, which is the substance that is said to activate benign prostatic hyperplasia.

– has a positive impact on the hormonal estrogen/testosterone equilibrium thanks to its anti-inflammatory activity.

– triggers the natural death of prostate cells through apoptosis, which slows the hyperplasia.