Saw Palmetto

Serenoa serrulata


Names: Sabal.

Habitat: Eastern N. America.

Collection: The berries of this impressive palm are gathered from September through until January.

Part Used: Berries.

Constituents: * Essential oil

* Fixed oil, consisting of 25% fatty acids; caproic, lauric,palmitic & 75% neutral fats

* Sterols

* Polysaccharides; galactose, arabinose and uronic acid.

Actions: Diuretic, urinary antiseptic, endocrine agent.

Indications: Saw Palmetto is a herb that acts to tone and strengthenthe male reproductive system. It may be used with safety where a boost to themale sex hormones is required. It is specific in cases of enlarged prostateglands. It will be of value in infections of the genito-urinary tract.

Ellingwood gives the following specific symptomatology: “The directinfluence of this agent is exerted upon the entire reproductive apparatus,especially upon the prostate gland of the male. It is demanded in enlargedprostate, with throbbing, aching, dull pain, discharge of prostatic fluid, attimes discharge of mucus, also of a yellowish, watery fluid, with weakenedsexual power, orchalgia, epididymitis and orchitis, when associated withenlarged prostate. In women, ovarian enlargement, with tenderness and dullaching pains, weakened sexual activity, and small undeveloped mammary glands,are much benefited by its continued use. It is a sedative to all irritableconditions of these organs and is a profound nutritive tonic, operating muchlike phosphorus. It increases the size and secreting power of the mammaryglands where they are abnormally small and inactive. It improves the tone andovercomes irritability of the ovaries, relieving dysmenorrhoea when due toatonicity. It may be given with confidence in wasting of the testes in theearly stages and the development of varicocele retarded with the growth andnutrition of the testes developed materially by its use. To this agent isascribed considerable power in reducing the size of hypertrophied prostate inolder men and in quickly relieving cystic and other disorders incident to thiscondition. It relieves irritation of the bladder to a satisfactory extent,correcting the irritable character of the urine, increases the muscular powerof the patient to expel the urine and produces a sense of relief, that is inevery way gratifying and satisfactory. In the treatment of impotence in youngmen who have been excessive in their habits, or have masturbated, it can berelied upon with positiveness. It will overcome the excitability fromexhaustion and increase sexual power in those newly married who, having beenanxious concerning their sexual strength or ability, have become suddenlyalmost entirely impotent after marriage. If the patient is instructed toabstain, from 4 to 6 weeks and to have confidence in his ultimate recovery,this agent in doses of from 20 to 30 drops 3 or 4 times daily, combined with adirect nerve tonic, such as Avena sativa in doses of 15 drops or the oneone-hundredth of a grain of phosphorus, will establish a cure. It will relieveany undue irritation, due to excess and exhaustion, that may be present in anypart of the genito-urinary apparatus. An exceedingly important use for thisremedy that I have not been able to find in the books, is its use forsterility. In simple cases where there is no organic lesion on the part of thepatient, this agent has an excellent reputation for restoring the ovarianaction properly and assisting in putting the patient into an excellentcondition. One conscientious reliable lady physician assures me that in fivedefinite cases, pregnancy has followed the use of this remedy where sterilitywas pronounced previously, and thought to be incurable. In its influence uponthe nasal and bronchial mucous membranes this agent has been given withexcellent advantage in the treatment of acute catarrh, chronic bronchial coughsof all characters, including whooping cough, laryngitis and the cough ofphthisis. It is credited also with cures in the treatment of aphonia.”

Combinations: For debility associated with the reproductive system itwill combine well with Damiana and Kola. For the treatment of enlarged prostateglands it may be used with Horsetail and Hydrangea.

Preparations & Dosage: Decoction: put l/2-l teaspoonful of theberries in a cup of water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 5 minutes.This should be drunk three times a day.

Tincture: take l-2 ml of the tincture three times a day.

Citations from the Medline database for the genus Serenoa(Sabal)

Saw Palmetto Boccafoschi and Annoscia S:
Comparison of Serenoa repens extract with placebo by controlled clinical trialin patients with prostatic adenomatosis.
Urologia 50:1257-68, 1983
Breu W Hagenlocher M Redl K Tittel G Stadler F Wagner H [Anti-inflammatory activity of sabal fruit extracts prepared withsupercritical carbon dioxide. In vitro antagonists of cyclooxygenase and5-lipoxygenase metabolism]

Arzneimittelforschung (1992 Apr) 42(4):547-51Champault G, Bonnard AM, Cauquil J and Patel JC:
Medical treatment of prostatic adenoma. Con trolled trial: PA 109 vs placebo in110 patients.
Ann Urol 18:407-10, 1984
Champault G, Patel JC and Bonnard AM:
A double-blind trial of an extract of the plant Serenoa repens in benignprostatic hyperplasia.
Br J Clin Pharmacol 18:461-2, 1984
Cirillo-Marucco E, Pagliarulo A, Tritto G, et al:
Extract of Serenoa repens (PermixonR) in the early treatment of prostatichypertrophy.
Urologia 5:1269-77, 1983
Crimi A and Russo A:
Extract of Serenoa repens for the treatment of the functional disturbances ofprostate hypertrophy.
Med Praxis 4:47-51, 1983
Duvia R, Radice GP and Galdini R:
Advances in the phytotherapy of prostatic hypertrophy.
Med Praxis 4:143-8, 1983
Emili E, Lo Cigno M and Petrone U:
Clinical trial of a new drug for treating hypertrophy of the prostate(Permixon).
Urologia 50:1042-8, 1983
Hiermann A
[The contents of sabal fruits and testing of their anti-inflammatoryeffect]

Arch Pharm (Weinheim) (1989 Feb) 322(2):111-4Sultan C, Terraza A, Devillier C, et al:
Inhibition of androgen metabolism and binding by a liposterolic extract of”Serenoa repens B” in human foreskin fibroblasts.
J Steroid Biochem 20:515-9, 1984
Tarayre JP, Delhon A, Lauressergues H, et al:
Anti-edematous action of ahexane extract of the stone fruit of Serenoa repens Bartr.
Ann Pharm Franc41:559-70, 1983
Tasca A, Barulli M, Cavazzana A, et al:
Treatment of obstructivesymptomatology caused by prostatic adenoma with an extract of Serenoa repens.Double-blind clinical study vs. placebo.
Minerva Urol Nefrol 37:87-91, 1985
Timmermans LM Timmermans LG Jr
[Determination of the activity of extracts of Echinaceae and Sabal in thetreatment of idiopathic megabladder in women]

Acta Urol Belg (1990) 58(2):43-59 Tripodi V, Giancaspro M, Pascarella M, et al:
Treatment of prostatichypertrophy with Serenoa repens extract.
Med Praxis 4:41-6, 1983
Wagner H Flachsbarth H
[A new antiphlogistic principle from Sabal serrulata, I (author’stransl)]

Planta Med (1981 Mar) 41(3):244-51

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Written by David L. Hoffmann BSc Hons MNIMH

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