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Saw Palmetto

Plant Part Used



Many middle age men contend with benign enlargement of the prostate. While conventional drugs can offer treatment of the disorder, one natural remedy, saw palmetto, may rival them in effectiveness. A standardized extract is derived from the berry of the saw palmetto.

Interactions and Depletions


Dosage Info

Dosage Range

80-320mg (standardized extract), 2 times a day.

Most Common Dosage

160mg (standardized extract), 2 times a day.


[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]

The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to 80-90% free fatty acids per dose.

Reported Uses

Benign enlargement of the prostate is thought to be caused by chain of interactions involving the conversion of testosterone into another form within the prostate gland. Scientists think the key compounds present in saw palmetto may help circumvent this process. (1) , (2) , (3) Patients pretreated with saw palmetto undergoing a prostate operation seemed to experience a reduced risk of complications in comparison to the control group. (4)

Scientists also believe prostate enlargement may in part be related to the presence of estrogen in the prostate. It is believed that saw palmetto can help the male body dispose of this excess estrogen. (5)

In addition to its support of prostate health, the non-extracted berry of the saw palmetto may support healthy function of the immune system. (6)

Toxicities & Precautions


[span class=alert]Be sure to tell your pharmacist, doctor, or other health care providers about any dietary supplements you are taking. There may be a potential for interactions or side effects.[/span]


This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines. (7)

Concern has been raised regarding the effect that saw palmetto use can have on a lab test known as serum prostate specific antigen or PSA. The PSA is used to help guide the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. Recent research shows that saw palmetto use apparently has no effect on the PSA level. (8) , (9) , (10) However, commercially available herbal blends that contain saw palmetto and other herbs have been made to improve symptoms associated with the prostate. Studies and case reports show that these blends can change the PSA level. (11) , (12) It is very important to inform your healthcare professional which dietary supplements you are using.

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects related to fetal development during pregnancy or to infants who are breast-fed. Yet little is known about the use of this dietary supplement while pregnant or breast-feeding. Therefore, it is recommended that you inform your healthcare practitioner of any dietary supplements you are using while pregnant or breast-feeding.

Age Limitations

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects specifically related to the use of this dietary supplement in children. Since young children may have undiagnosed allergies or medical conditions, this dietary supplement should not be used in children under 10 years of age unless recommended by a physician.


  1. View Abstract: Ravenna L, et al. Effects of the Lipidosterolic Extract of Serenoa repens (Permixon) on Human Prostatic Cell Lines. Prostate. 1996;29(4):219-30.
  2. View Abstract: Delos S, et al. Testosterone Metabolism in Primary Cultures of Human Prostate Epithelial Cells and Fibroblasts. J Steroid Biochem & Molecular Biol. 1994;48(4):347-52.
  3. View Abstract: Paubert-Braquet M, et al. Effect of Serenoa repens Extract (Permixon) on Stradiol/Testosterone-induced Experimental Prostate Enlargement in the Rat. Pharmacol Res. 1996;34(3-4):171-79.
  4. View Abstract: Pecoraro S, Annecchiarico A, Gambardella MC, Sepe G. Efficacy of pretreatment with Serenoa repens on bleeding associated with transurethral resection of prostate. Minerva Urol Nefrol. Mar2004;56(1):73-8.
  5. View Abstract: Di Silverio F, et al. Evidence that Serenoa repens Extract Displays an Antiestrogenic Activity in Prostatic Tissue of Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy Patients. European Urologv. 1992;21(4):309-14.
  6. View Abstract: Wagner H, et al. Immunostimulating Action of Polysaccharides (Heteroglycans) From Higher Plants. Arzneimittelforschung. 1985;35(7):1069-75.
  7. Sabal fructus (Saw Palmetto fruit). German Commission E Monograph. Mar1989:Bundesanzeiger, no. 43.
  8. View Abstract: Marks LS, Partin AW, Epstein JI, Tyler VE, Simon I, Macairan ML, et al. Effects of a saw palmetto herbal blend in men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. J Urol. May2000;163(5):1451-6.
  9. View Abstract: Gerber GS. Saw palmetto for the treatment of men with lower urinary tract symptoms. J Urol. May2000;163(5):1408-12.
  10. View Abstract: Gerber GS, Zagaja GP, Bales GT, Chodak GW, Contreras BA. Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) in men with lower urinary tract symptoms: effects on urodynamic parameters and voiding symptoms. Urology. Jun1998;51(6):1003-7.
  11. View Abstract: Porterfield H. UsToo PC-SPES surveys: review of studies and update of previous survey results. Mol Urol. Sep2000;4(3):289-91.
  12. View Abstract: de la Taille A, Hayek OR, Burchardt M, Burchardt T, Katz AE. Role of herbal compounds (PC-SPES) in hormone-refractory prostate cancer: two case reports. J Altern Complement Med. Oct2000;6(5):449-51.





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