Saw palmetto

Saw palmetto

Saw palmetto tree has olive-sized berries that are used to treat benign enlargement of prostate gland. BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia is actually harmless but bothersome. It causes frequent urination, nighttime awakenings and urinary symptoms. More than half of the men over 60 are affected with this disorder. Saw palmetto was officially recognized by the United States as a drug for urinary and genital problems. Although, American doctors have become disenchanted with saw palmetto because of its supposed effect could not be ascertained. Europeans however have remained enthusiastic over its prostate-healing ability. And herbalists have recommended it for persistent cough and digestive problems.

There are numerous benefits associated with saw palmetto. Among them include: It eases prostate problems. The studies conducted over saw palmetto confirmed its positive effect of reducing the number of times BPH sufferer feels the urge to urinate. It also works faster in treating BPH and has fewer cases of impotence and reduced libido than the usual prostrate drug. The saw palmetto also costs one-third to one-half o the price of the usual BPH medications. It also affects the levels of cancer-promoting hormones and could be a possible deterrent to prostrate cancer. This theory however needs to be verified first.

Saw palmetto is sold in various forms which include: tincture, tablet, softgel, dried herb/tea and capsule. In taking the supplement, one should look for extracts that contain 85% to 95% fatty acids and sterols. Sterols refer to the medicinal, fat-soluble ingredients found in berries. You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label because of the potency of the drug. For those who are using the supplements to treat prostate problems, take 160 mg twice daily.


Image courtesy of PJ Nelson

In order to use the supplement effectively, one should take saw palmetto with breakfast and dinner in order to prevent the risk of stomach upset. You should also not use saw palmetto tea that is made from dried herb. The medicinal oil’s found in saw palmetto do not dissolve in water. To augment its effectiveness in treating prostate problems, combine saw palmetto supplements with other herbs that promote prostate health such as pygeum africanum, nettle or pumpkin seed. Some formulations such as Men’s Formula actually contain very little saw palmetto herb. So be cautious in buying those supplements. When you are using saw palmetto to treat prostate problems, keep in mind that the results do not show overnight. It may take six to eight weeks before you notice any improvement on your condition.

Saw palmetto seldom causes any side effects when using. But mild abdominal pain, nausea, dizziness and headache have been reported to occur. If these symptoms show, lower the dose or stop taking the herb. Reduced libido and impotence could develop although rarely as compared to prescription drugs for BPH. In some rare cases, breast enlargement was also reported.

Observe the following necessary precautions while taking saw palmetto:

See a doctor first to diagnose your prostate problem. Do not self-diagnose BPH.

Consult a doctor if you noticed new symptoms of prostate problems such as bothersome urinary problems or if you noticed blood in your urine.

Do not take more than 320 mg daily since high doses could affect your health.

Saw palmetto affects hormone levels so men with prostate, breast cancer or hormone-dependent illness should approach a doctor first. Before taking the test used to determine prostate cancer let the doctor know that you are taking saw palmetto as this could affect the result.


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