Saw Palmetto Monograph

Serenoa repens

Common names:
Saw Palmetto, Sabal

Family: Arecaceae (formerly Palmaceae)

Plant Parts Used: Ripe berries (fruit)

Description & Habitat:
Small palm tree that grows 1-4 metres high.  It’s berries are black, fleshy, growing in clusters each with 1 large wrinkled oblong seed approximately 1 – 2.5cm.  Native to the West Indies, West Coast of the United States (South Carolina to Florida), growing in sunny savannas and thickets in moist rich soils.  It is known to grown in parts of Australia but not in New Zealand.

Main Active Constituents:

1. fixed oil – (palmetto oil) – composed of 25% fatty acids including lauric, caproic, palmitic and 75% neutral fats
2. volatile Oil
3. sterols – beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol, campesterol
4. resins
5. tannins
6. polysaccharides – stimulate immune system

Nutritional Constituents:

Vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, C
Minerals: Potassium, Selenium, Silica, Phosphorus, Zinc, Chromium, Sodium and Calcium

Main Actions:

1. Diuretic
2. Urinary Antiseptic
3. Endocrine Agent
4. Anti-septic
5. Immunostimulant
6. Anti-inflammatory
7. Male Tonic (bladder & prostate)
8. Anti-prostatic
9. Anti-spasmodic
10. Anti-androgenic

Medicinal Uses/Applications:

Serenoa has been used mainly in the Urinary/Reproductive System.  Clinically proven to benefit prostatic enlargement.  Its lipid soluble constituent inhibits the binding of androgen and oestrogen to receptors in the male reproductive tract and may also diminish the levels of hormone active in stimulating all growth in the prostate, but does not appear to change in the serum levels of testosterone contributing to this activity.  This fraction is also immuno-stimulatory and anti-oedema.  It is also a tonic for the neck of the bladder and with its actions above makes it well suited for treating the following:

Genitourinary/Reproductive System
• cystitis
• prostatic enlargement (BHP specific)
• prostatitis of any origin
• dysuria
• impotence
• catarrh of genito-urinary tract
• urethritis
• testicular atrophy
• infertility male & female
• sex hormone disorders
• prostate cancer

Respiratory System
• influenza virus
• asthma
• mucous & lung conditions

Other Areas
• stimulates the appetite and can help people to regain weight (if underweight)
• treats acne
• hirsutism

Dosage (3 x daily):
Decoction: 0.5 – 1gm

Possible interaction with concurrent use of Warfarin.
No known contraindications.
Compatible with pregnancy.
Compatible with breastfeeding.

Naturalus Products with Serenoa repens:

Saw Palmetto Tea
Prostate Tea
Libido Tea

History & Folklore:
Historically a tonic and nutritional agent; used to increase sexual function in men; improve mammary gland disorders; as an aphrodisiac; relieve chronic catarrh; as a mucous membrane tonic; treat chronic and subacute cystitis.  It has a marked effect upon all glandular tissues, increasing flesh rapidly, and building up strength.  Traditionally a staple food item for the Seminole Indians, kept dried as a year round food source.  AS well as the indications above it was used for female health conditions such as under developed breasts; increased lactation; painful menstruation; appetite stimulant and as an expectorant for the lungs.  In 1907 the early American settlers used to feed it to their horses and mules that had urinary problems.  It was also included in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia in 1908.  After World War I it was considered one of the most important natural remedies in Southern America.  Word of its benefits led to French Researchers (1960’s) making a synthetic version called Permixon which became available in 1981.

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