Saw palmetto is a type of plant with notable uses in herbal medicine. Saw palmetto is often used for fighting hair loss and is commonly used for prostate-related conditions as well. Saw palmetto supplements normally contain extracts of the plant’s fruit.
Health Benefits of Saw Palmetto
Saw palmetto in alternative medicine is believed to help in treating help issues such as BPH or benign prostatic hypertrophy, asthma, colds, coughs, chronic pelvic pain syndrome, sore throat, migraine, and prostate cancer.
There are also claims of saw palmetto being helpful when it comes to increasing libido and alleviating stress. However, there is limited support from scientific studies to back up some of the benefits.
Emerging studies suggest that saw palmetto has some promises when it comes to treating some other health problems.
For instance, a study in 2010 discovered that saw palmetto could help patients suffering from chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome. During this study, the 102 patients who have chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome were divided into two groups. One group was administered with a combination of lycopene, selenium, and saw palmetto. The other group was given saw palmetto only. After the treatment that lasted for 8 weeks, the two groups showed significant improvement in their symptoms.
There is also evidence that consuming saw palmetto before going through prostate surgery can decrease the surgery time and even blood loss, development of tissues during surgery, and overall time spent for recovery in the hospital.
Potential Side Effects of Saw Palmetto
There are a few side effects associated with saw palmetto, including:
- bad breath
- stomach pain
In addition, some men who were taking saw palmetto also reported to experience erectile dysfunction, enlargement or tenderness of the breast, and sexual desire changes.
Even though it wasn’t properly observed in humans, saw palmetto might also affect levels of sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen. Thus, people who have hormone-sensitive conditions such as prostate cancer and breast cancer should discuss with their doctor first before using saw palmetto. Saw palmetto is not recommended for pregnant women and children.
There are also rare case reports that describe pancreatitis, liver inflammation, headache, jaundice, depression, insomnia, muscle pain, breathing difficulties, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm, chest pain, heart disease, and blood clots although it is unclear if these were caused by saw palmetto.
There are at least two reports that link severe bleeding with saw palmetto. People who have bleeding disorders or those taking antiplatelet or anticoagulant medications should refrain from taking saw palmetto except under medical supervision. Saw palmetto consumption should also be avoided for at least a couple of weeks after or before surgery.
Preparation and Dosage
Scientific evidence is not enough as to the suggested saw palmetto dosage. In studies that evaluate the saw palmetto’s effect on patients who underwent prostate surgery, a 320 mg dosage of saw palmetto extract was consumed every day for two months prior to surgery.
The right dosage for you is dependent on different factors such as your gender, medical history, and age. Talk to your doctor to receive personalized advice.