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11th Feb 2020

What is Saw Palmetto?

Posted by Emily Seddon

Saw Palmetto: your prostate's best friend.

Prostate conditions effect an ever-growing proportion of men. Saw palmetto which has been described as the “old man’s friend” could help keep you and your prostate on good terms.

What is Saw Palmetto?

Saw Palmetto, or Serenoa repens, is a fern-like plant that has been popular throughout history.

It was first favoured by the Mayans and the Native American tribes of Florida as a source of food and as traditional medicine for thousands of years. The berries of the plant were dried and eaten throughout the year. Medicine men also used concoctions of Saw Palmetto as an antiseptic, expectorant and a tonic.

What is Saw Palmetto used for?

Despite being used throughout American history as a tonic, practitioners noticed its effect was predominantly displaying on reproductive tissues – especially the prostate gland – and modern science is backing this.

Today, Saw Palmetto is being used worldwide to prevent and manage benign prostatic hyperplasia – an enlargement of the prostate gland.

How does Saw Palmetto contribute to prostate health?

The mechanisms of action aren’t fully understood at this time, however it appears that Saw Palmetto helps in a number of ways which may work synergistically to benefit the prostate. This includes:

  • Slowing growth accelerated by high dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels. DHT plays a big role in the growth of the prostate, which is important during adolescence but can be detrimental to the adult prostate.
  • Reducing inflammation and oedema, which directly contribute to the urinary symptoms experienced by BPH sufferers.
  • Reversing the apoptosis/proliferation ratio seen in BPH-affected tissue.

These actions are best performed by lipophilic (fat-soluble) solutions which extract a high number of fatty acids, plant sterols and flavonoids – the active ingredients of Saw Palmetto.

How do you use Saw Palmetto?

Clinical trials have determined that 320mg/ day of Saw Palmetto extract is needed to benefit prostate health. Symptom relief for an enlarged prostate is generally experienced within 4-8 weeks (Braun & Cohen 2014).

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