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Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto or Serenoa repens or Sabal serrulata is a popular herbal therapy used throughout Europe for symptoms associated with benign prostatic hypertrophy (a condition causing an enlarged prostate). Saw palmetto extract is a licensed product in several European countries while its usage in U.S is relatively uncommon. The berries of the plant have immense medicinal value. The medicinal part is extracted from the partially dried fruit of the American dwarf tree commonly found in the coastal regions of southern U.S. The medicinal berry is used in various forms including whole berries and dried and ground fruit.
Apart from treating benign prostatic hypertrophy it is also a moderately successful therapy in treating prostatis (NBP). Some other disorders that can be treated with the help of saw palmetto supplements are: bladder disorders, hair loss, hormone imbalances and pelvic pain.

Saw palmetto was traditionally used as an herbal tea to treat a variety of urinary tract disorders in men. The herbal supplement or saw palmetto extracts appear to have similar effects to that of medications like finasteride. The advantages of saw palmetto herb over other medications are: they are less expensive, have minor or no side effects and there are no known drug interactions. While saw palmetto is known to reduce and treat enlarged prostate symptoms there is relatively little evidence to support the claim to treat BPH .Saw palmetto supplements are available in various forms ranging from tablets, capsules, tea bags to liquid extracts and soft gels. Regular intake of saw palmetto may cause gastrointestinal disorders but the situation can be avoided by consuming saw palmetto supplements along with food. The suggested intake of saw palmetto supplements indicates a daily intake of 160-320mg to treat enlarged prostate symptoms.

While side effects in consuming saw palmetto are rare there are some severe side effects that have been reported in medical literature. While common complaints have ranged from nausea and stomach pain more serious complaints such as abdominal discomfort, liver damage, diarrhea and constipation cause concern with regard to the use of saw palmetto. It is advisable to refrain from intake of such herbal supplements especially incase of individuals suffering from major health risks or conditions such as: stomach, liver or heart disorders. Intake of saw palmetto also runs the risk of increased bleeding and should therefore be avoided by those scheduled to undergo a surgery or dental sitting. It is advisable to consult a medical practitioner before considering the intake of any herbal supplement.

Submitted on January 16, 2014