Often regarded as a safe, mild aphrodisiac. Ten to 15 can be eaten daily for a cumulative effect. Their potency is increased when they are combined with damiana.
A hexane extract of the berries has been shown to have antiandrogenic properties through a direct action on the estrogen receptors and by inhibiting the enzyme testosterone-5-alph-reductase. Subcutaneously administered extracts were strongly estrogenic in mice. Furthermore, saw palmetto extract has been shown to prevent the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) as well as to inhibit DHT binding to cellular and nuclear receptor sites, thereby increasing the metabolism and excretion of DHT. A double-blind placebocontrolled study evaluated the hormonal effects of saw palmetto extract given to men with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) for 3 months prior to operation. The study found that saw palmetto displayed an estrogenic and antiprogesterone effect as determined by estrogen and progesterone receptor activity. Aids thyroid in regulating sexual development and normalizing the activity of those glands and organs.
Tonic. Good for strengthening and body building. For men, it treats enlarged and weakened prostate, impotence. For women, it increases breast size and secreting ability, relieves ovarian and uterine irritability, frigidity. Stimulates appetite, improves digestion and increases assimilation of nutrients. Expectorant, used for colds, head and nose congestion, asthma, bronchitis. Promotes urine flow, urinary antiseptic, good for infections of gastro-urinary tract. Also used in diabetes. Increases the tone of the bladder, allowing a better contraction and more complete expulsion of the contents, relieving any straining pain. Nourishes the nervous system and aids assimilation of nutrients. Nicknamed the "plant catheter" because it has the ability to strengthen the neck of the bladder. Because saw palmetto blocks the formation of DHT which kills off hair follicles it's possible this can be used to prevent hair loss.(1)
diuretic, urinary antiseptic, endocrine agent, nutritive (1)
Herbalists usually recommend; 2,000 - 4,000 mg of crude dried berries per day.
Standardised concentrates to a minimum of 45% Fatty Acids will reduce dosage required. (4)
Carotene, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, essential oil, fatty acids (caproic, capric, lauric, oleic, palmitic, stearic, myristic), tannin, phytosterols (beta-sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol), polysaccharides, dextrose, resins
American physicians recognized the usefulness of saw palmetto in hormonal regulation as early as 1856 Doctors prescribed whole dried palmetto berries for breast enlargement, muscle building, and prostate problems. Saw palmetto has since gained widespread use by doctors and alternative health practitioners as a safe treatment for prostate disorders. It is also useful in treating wasting disorders by redirecting testosterone from stimulating the sex organs to stimulating muscle growth. It is also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. Benefits of saw palmetto for specific health conditions include the following:
• Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) and prostate cancer. Herbalist Andrew Chevallier calls saw palmetto the "plant catheter" for its ability to strengthen the neck of the bladder and to reduce enlargement of the prostate, allowing for the free passage of urine. Saw palmetto's action in this regard has been demonstrated by research. In a doubleblind study of thirty men, Italian investigators found that one month's treatment with saw palmetto extract increased urine flow 1,700 percent more than placebo. A study of 110 men by British researchers found that 320 milligrams of saw palmetto extract daily was five times more effective than placebo in improving bladder emptying. In addition, the men did not have as much difficulty, discomfort, or pain in urinating as they had before taking the herb, and reported that they did not have to get up at night to urinate as often. The value of saw palmetto in treating prostate enlargement is so widely recognized in Germany that over 90 percent of German men with prostate enlargement are treated with saw palmetto, often in combination with other herbs. Saw palmetto eases prostate swelling by regulating hormones. If there is an excess of dihydrotestosterone, which stimulates the growth of new cells in the prostate, the prostate can thicken and squeeze the urethra, making urination difficult. Saw palmetto extracts reduce prostate enlargement by reducing the availability of dihydrotestosterone to prostate tissue. Deprived of its hormonal stimulus, cell division in prostate tissue slows. Although saw palmetto prevents the prostate from absorbing dihydrotestosterone, it does not reduce the body's production of testosterone, which would cause changes in sex drive and sexual performance. Saw palmetto extracts also reduce prostate enlargement by short-circuiting the pathways by which inflammation-causing hormones are produced. This action reduces swelling caused by the accumulation of fluid in prostate tissue. It may also account for the fact that saw palmetto extracts offer relief much sooner than their prescription alternatives.
• HIV/AIDS. Loss of body mass is a serious and life-threatening complication of AIDS. European herbalists frequently prescribe saw palmetto to people with AIDS and other chronic diseases who are suffering from severe weight loss. Saw palmetto causes the muscle-building hormone dihydrotestosterone to be blocked from receptor sites in the sex organs and in tissues producing secondary sex characteristics, and instead to stimulate the deposit of proteins into muscle tissue.
• Menopause-related problems. Hirsutism, or excessive growth of body hair, is a side effect produced by excess testosterone levels in women. This is a condition that may occur at menopause. It is likely that fat-soluble steroids in saw palmetto keep hair follicles from being stimulated by dihydrotestosterone. Unlike a prescription medication often prescribed for hirsutism, finasteride (Propecia), saw palmetto reduces excess hair growth without reducing levels of either testosterone or estrogen in the bloodstream. (3)