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What are the Uses and Health Benefits of Saw Palmetto (Serenoa Serrulata)?

Serenoa serrulata, Saw palmetto

What is Saw Palmetto?

Saw palmetto is an Ayurvedic herb which has been used for the treatment of various body disorders such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), male and female pattern baldness, underactive bladder, prostate swelling, chronic pelvic pain, prostate cancer, asthma, chronic bronchitis, migraine, cold and cough. The herb helps to shrink the overall size of the prostate gland and along with this action, the herb also seems to reduce the inner lining that put pressure on the tubes that carry urine. The herb is very effective to control the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DTH). DHT is responsible for causing hair loss by affecting the hair follicles.

Saw palmetto is a small palm like plant which bears dark red colored berries. The herb is endemic to the subtropical Southeastern United States, mostly in south Atlantic, gulf coastal plains and sand hills. It grows up to the height of 7-10ft and erect stems and trunk are rarely produced. The herb is popularly used in Europe for the treatment of enlarged prostate. It is slow growing plant and leaves of the plant have bare petiole terminating into a round fan of about 20 leaflets. The herb bears spines and teeth which are sharp, pointed at the margins and capable of causing injury in the skin. The leaves are light green, fan-shaped and silvery white in color. The flowers of the plant are yellowish white in color and produce dense, much-branched inflorescence which is up to 60cm long. The fruit is large and reddish black in color.

Classification

  • Domain: Eukarya
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Subkingdom: Tracheobionta
  • Superdivision: Spermatophyta
  • Division: Magnoliophyta
  • Class: Liliopsida
  • Subclass: Arecales
  • Order: Arecidae
  • Family: Arecaceae
  • Genus: Serenoa
  • Species: Serenoa Serrulata

Actions of Saw Palmetto

  • Inhibit the activity of a 5-reductase enzyme which convert testosterone into DHT.
  • It blocks the 1-adrenoceptors.
  • Saw palmetto prevent and reduce the activity of genes related to inflammation.
  • The herb increases the production of p57 protein, which helps to decrease the formation of tumor in the prostate.
  • It decreases the production of p21 protein, which further responsible for the advance tumor growth.

Health Benefits of Serenoa Serrulata

BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia)

It is a condition which is marked by enlargement of the prostate which causes the symptoms such as frequent urination, urinary tract infection and other complications. The fatty acids such as laurate, myristate, palmitate, stearate, oleate, linoleate, and phytosterols such as campesterol, stigmasterol, β-sitosterol in Saw palmetto is very effective for the treatment of BPH, and urinary tract infection.

Hair Loss

The herb may block some hormonal activities which are responsible for hair loss and pattern baldness in men and women. The studies show that the herb interferes with the activity of 5-alpha-reductase, which plays role in the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. Dihydrotestosterone is the main cause of androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness). Dihydrotestosterone interferes with the growth of hair follicles and makes your hairs weak. So this herb inactivates this overall process and prevents hair fall.

Underactive Bladder

It is the condition in which your bladder doesn’t perform their function properly and hold an unusually large amount of urine. Even during urination, it does not empty completely. The studies show that the herb helps to improve the functioning of the underactive bladder in women and also improves the amount of urine which is held by the bladder.

Prostate Swelling

The herb is also beneficial of reducing the prostate swelling in men and also reduce the symptoms. The herb contains some phytosterols which are very effective during prostate swelling.

Prostate Cancer

Some of the studies shows that the herb reduces and prevent the growth of malignant cells in the prostate and also blocks the activity of cancerous cells.

Improve the Effectiveness of Surgery

The recent studies have been shown that the herb may help the patient undergoing prostate surgery. The herb helps to reduce the bleeding and duration of catheter use.

Ovarian Enlargement

The continued use of Serenoa Serrulata herb may reduce the tenderness, aching pain, treat weakened sexual activity and small underdeveloped mammary gland in women. Along with size enlargement, it also increases the secreting power of mammary gland.

Treatment of Urinary Tract Symptoms

Saw palmetto may treat the Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) such as painful urination, excessive night time urination, and increased the frequency of urination.

Side Effects of Saw Palmetto

The most frequently reported side effects of the Saw palmetto herb are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • A headache
  • Nasal inflammation
  • Abdomen pain
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue and dizziness

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