Also known as cabbage palm and American dwarf palm tree, saw palmetto is a type of palm plant native to the US that offers reproductive benefits for men and women alike. The ancient Mayans consumed it as a tonic, the Seminoles used it as an antiseptic and expectorant, and the American Indians used it to treat a host of reproductive and urinary symptoms. Read more below about what Western science has discovered the secret power of the Saw Palmetto supplement.
BPH and Urinary Tract Function
Perhaps the most common (or at least commonly-known) use of this herb is to help relieve urinary symptoms like incontinence and trouble urinating associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or an enlarged prostate gland in men. Several studies have found the herb useful for reducing urinary tract inflammation, increasing urinary flow and improving urinary tract symptoms, and overall quality of life.
The herb may also help improve urinary function in people who don't have BPH, including women.
In addition to its benefits for men with BPH, this herb may have benefits for the prostate health of all men, including those with normal prostates. It may even help to prevent prostate cancer, at least in part, by helping to reduce the growth of cancer cells in the prostate and deactivating receptors involved in the development, growth, and spread of prostate cancer cells.
Antioxidant and Anti-inflammation
As alluded to above, the Saw Palmetto has anti-inflammatory properties, and not just for the prostate, containing a powerful antioxidant known to prevent cellular damage, ward off chronic disease and reduce inflammation. Lowered inflammation can lead, in turn, to reduced pain and improved healing from wounds and illnesses.
Reduce Hair Loss
Men also commonly use the herb to prevent and reduce hair loss, although women can use it for the same benefits as well. The herb accomplishes this by helping to balance hormone levels. It may block the activity of an enzyme known to convert testosterone into a hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT) associated with hair loss. In addition, the herb may help reduce hair loss by hampering DHT uptake and, thereby, reducing its capacity to bind to particular hormone receptors related to hair loss. The herb was even found in at least one study to help regrow hair in men with male pattern baldness.
A study of 62 adults of both genders found it increased hair density in both genders by over a third after three months of topical application.
Women can use the herb to help them find relief from chronic pelvic pain, such as is associated with menstrual cramps.
The herb has not yet been sufficiently studied, however, for its safety in use by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding or by children.
Chronic Pain and Migraines
Both men and women alike can use saw palmetto to relieve general chronic pain, including migraine pain.
The herb has not been found to interact with any known medications and most users generally tolerate it well.
The maker of all-natural herbal supplements, Farlong Pharmaceutical, produces a potent saw palmetto supplement.