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Saw Palmetto /Serenoa Repens

Saw Palmetto /Serenoa Repens Health Benefits, Uses, Dosage, and Side effects

Saw palmetto is a common herb or small shrub-like palm with thorn-shaped leaves arranged like a fan. Its ripe fruits are used in preparing medicines. It grows up to the height of 7 to 10 feet.

Latin name: Serenoa Repens

Common names: Fructus, Sabal, Serenoae, Sabal fructus

Saw palmetto Names in different languages:

  1. English name: American Dwarf Palm Tree, Cabbage Palm, Sabal Palm, Saw Palmetto Berry, Scrub-Palmetto
  2. French name: Palmier Nain, Sabal, Palmier Scie
  3. German name: Sagepalme, Sabal, Zwergpalme
  4. Italian name: Cavolo Di Palma, Palma Nana
  5. Spanish: Palma Enana Americana, Sabal

Botanical description of Saw Palmetto

Its erect stems or trunks are rarely produced but are found in some. It is a very slow-growing plant and is usually long-lived with some other plants as old as up to 500–700 years.

Saw palmetto is a palm whose leaves have a bare petiole terminating in a rounded fan of having about 20 leaflets. Its petiole has fine, sharp teeth or spines that give the species its common name. Its spines are easily capable of breaking the skin, and protection should be worn when one is working around this plant. Its leaves are light green and are silvery-white in coastal regions.

The length of leaves is 1–2 m and the leaflets are 50 to 100 cm long. Its flowers are yellowish-white in color and about 5 mm across, produced in dense compound panicles up to 60 cm in length.

Its fruit is large and is reddish-black drupe in color which is an important food source for wildlife and historically for humans. This plant is used as food by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species such as Batrachedra decoctor that mainly feeds exclusively on the plant.

Properties of Saw Palmetto:

From ancient times, this herb has been used by people for nourishment and treatment of various genital and urinary disorders. Its fruit extract is used in herbal medicines today because it contains phytosterols and fatty acids like palmitic acid, lauric acid, myristic acid, oleic acid, etc. Polysaccharides present in it are arabinose, uronic acid, galactose, etc which are present in its fruit.

Health Benefits of Saw Palmetto:

  1. Saw Palmetto has been used since ancient times to treat benign enlargement of the prostate.
  2. This herb shows best results in frequent urination, excessive urination at night which is caused due to the inflammation of the prostate or bladder.
  3. It also increases the sex drive in men and also increases sperm production. It is also used intoning the male reproductive system and boosts the production of reproductive hormones in men.
  4. It also improves the functioning of the thyroid gland in females.
  5. This herb also works as an herbal remedy for asthma, bronchitis, and other bronchial disorders
  6. In BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia) the testosterone gets collected in the prostate and converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which causes the multiplication or over increase results in the enlargement of the prostate. This herb stops the conversion of testosterone to DHT and binds the DHT to receptor sites.
  7. Being an anabolic agent, it also helps in the contribution of the growth of muscles in the body.
  8. Being a herbal medicine, it also shows the best and effective results in hair loss in males.
  9. It has been used for many ages by doctors to treat various diseases like urinary tract inflammation, testicular inflammation, respiratory congestion, prostate health, hair restoration, etc.

Saw Palmetto Side effects:

Here are various side effects of Saw palmetto:

  • Saw Palmetto can be used safely for 2 to 3 years but after that, it causes various symptoms like headache, diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, etc.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid this because it can impact or unbalance the hormone levels.

Part used: Fruit

How Saw palmetto works?

Saw palmetto works as an expectorant that increases the secretion of sputum by air passage and treats cough.

Being an anti-androgenic, it prevents the binding of dihydrotestosterone to the cytosolic androgenic receptor in the prostate and stops the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone.

It also works as an anti-inflammatory which inhibits the synthesis of arachidonic acid inflammatory metabolites.

It also acts as a natural diuretic that increases the production of urine.

Dosage of Saw Palmetto:

  1. The average daily dosage of its fruit extract is 160 mg which is given twice a day or 320 mg that is given once a day.
  2. If it is given in the form of Liquid extract (1:1) then is given in a dose of 0.6 to 1.5 mL three times daily for better results.
  3. A Tincture of 80% alcohol with fresh fruit is 1:2 and dried fruit is 1:5 and it is 1 to 2 mL three to four times a day.
  4. Proper care should be taken that it should be taken with water during the meal.
  5. It can be used in combination with pumpkin seed oil or extract and nettle root extract.

Saw palmetto benefits for men:

Saw palmetto is often used by males for boosting up testosterone levels in a natural way because the low level of testosterone may lead to various diseases related to the heart. So it decreases DHT levels by 32% within 6 to 7 months and maintains the testosterone level.

Saw Palmetto benefits for females:

In females, saw palmetto reduces the high levels of androgens and prolactin in females who are suffering from PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) and promotes healthy eggs in females. Essential fatty acids in it help to keep the skin nourished and hydrated, reduce skin irritation, and are beneficial for acne-prone and oily skin.


From this article, it is concluded that saw palmetto works both in males and females related issues that may be related to the reproductive system, skin, and hair. Its daily use helps to keep the skin and hair healthy. It is contraindicated in pregnant and breastfeeding women, children. Use it in proper dosage as prescribed by your doctor.

Note: Our purpose is to serve useful information related to saw palmettos benefits, dosage, and other properties. It is advised to the patients not to consume saw palmetto on the basis of this information. Before taking saw palmetto as a medicine it is better to have an expert opinion because dosage and treatment vary from patient to patient depending on their symptoms and medical history.

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About Dr. Ranjana Kaushal

Dr. Ranjana Kaushal (MD Ayurveda) has 11 years of experience in the field of Ayurveda. Right now she is working as an Ayurveda consultant with Life Aveda. She has immense knowledge about herbs, their uses, and formulations. She has published articles related to many herbs and diseases in an international journal. She is also a degree holder in yoga and naturopathy. Read More..

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