This is a medicine derived from a small species of palm tree, which is native to the Atlantic coast of North America. The small palm grows from 6- 10 ft. tall, and produces clusters of red, oblong berries, from which the medicinal extracts are taken, or the ground berry is itself used in a tea.
The main use of this herb is in the prevention and reduction of benign prostatic hypertrophy (a non-cancerous swelling of the prostate gland in men). It has been shown that between 50 and 60 percent of all men in North America between the ages of 40 to 59 have BPH. This is classically characterized by an increased frequency in the urge to urinate, as well as increased nightly trips to empty the bladder. In these cases, the force of the flow of urine is greatly decreased, as well. If left untreated, this condition may cause the outlet from the bladder to be completely constricted because of pressure from the swollen prostate gland, which surrounds the urethra in a male.
The use of saw palmetto in clinical double-blind trials indicates it's value in the prevention of this condition, as well as it's preventative and remedial values (it can both prevent the condition from ocurring, as well as correct the condition once it has become a problem.)
As a matter of interest, studies also show that this herb may be of benefit to women who experience hirsutism (excessive body / facial hair), or who have an androgen excess .
In addition, toxicological reports indicate that no significant side effects have been reported in the use of the extract, tea, or standardized extract.
Tincture: (1:5, 80% alc.) 30 to 90 drops, or as a standard infusion (see definitions), use 2 to 4 fluid ounces. Dosage for the standardized liposterolic extract (standardized pharmaceutical extract powder) is 160 mg. twice daily.
Some pertainent dietary suggestions which can help BPH (besides herbs), are: Begin to drink at least 1/2 gallon of water per day to increase elimination of toxins, eliminate the ingestation of all hydrogenated oils in the diet, including all margarines, shortenings, and many snack foods. Begin checking ingredient labels to avoid these hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Perhaps begin to ingest some form of gamma linoleic acid-containing oil, such as Flax seed oil (1 tablespoon per day) . Note: this oil must be refrigerated, and is best taken with an anti-oxident, such as vitamin C, or E.
Other herbs which are synergystic with saw palmetto, are, ginger root, echinacea root, damiana herb, ocotillo bark, and peruvian cat's claw.