The medicinal power of saw palmetto or saw palmetto

Saw palmetto is a herb that combats infertility and impotence as well as increases muscle strength. It is an ancient medicinal herb in North America among the Indians. Since the discovery of America by the Europeans, the medicinal products of the local indigenous population of the Americas have also been discovered. Many medicines have their basis in the plant world. The majority of medicines are based on the medicinal properties of plants discovered by indigenous peoples or stem from traditional herbal medicine of the past.
NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Victory palm / Source: Miguel Vieira, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-2.0)


  • Naming victory palm
  • History of the palm tree
  • Active substances saw palmetto
  • Saw palmetto against enlarged prostate and urinary problems
  • Saw palmetto as a diuretic
  • Saw palmetto restores hormonal balance in men
  • Saw palmetto against hair loss
  • Other medicinal effects
  • Saw palmetto is safe
  • Saw palmetto discussion
  • Consult a herbal therapist


Naming victory palm

Botanical names are official scientific names of plants and are always in Latin. The botanical name for saw palmetto is Serenoa Repens . Serenoa is a tribute to the American botanist from Harvard University Sereno Watson who lived from 1826 to 1892. ‘Repens’ means ‘creeping’ and is a reference to the growth habit of this palm. In Dutch the plant is called Saw Palm, Dwarf Palm, Sabal, Saag Palmeto, Saw Palm and Saw Tooth Palm. The blade has sharp sawtooth-like serrations; hence the reference to sawing. In German it is called a s├Ąge palm and English a saw palmetto for the same reason.

History of the palm tree

The Indians of North America used the ripe fruits of the palm tree mainly for infertility and impotence. They also ate the berries because they increase muscle strength. It is a natural muscle strengthener. It also works as a medicine against urinary tract problems caused by an enlarged prostate, as the Indians discovered. Colonists from Europe who settled in North America quickly discovered these interesting medicinal properties and began using saw palmetto as well. Not only the fruit was used by the Indians; the inside of the bark was also used as a basis for tea. This tea has medicinal properties against diarrhea, dysentery and abdominal pain. Even snake bites can be treated with it. In addition, the Indians saw saw palmetto as a medicine for kidney problems and as a means to enlarge the mammary gland. In Germany and the US, the palm tree started to gain popularity from 1900 onwards as the best medicine against BPH or Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy or benign prostate enlargement.

Flower of the saw palmetto / Source: Scott Zona, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-2.0)

Active substances saw palmetto

Only the ripe fruits of the saw palmetto are used as a basis for natural medicines. Saw palmetto contains the phytosterols delta-7 steroids, delta-5 steroids, betasitosterol and some derivatives thereof such as stigmasterol and daucosterol, cycloartenol, lupeol, lupenone, methylcycloartenol and campestrol. In addition, the fruit contains 12 different healthy fatty oils, such as oleic acid, lauric acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid and linoleic acid. It also contains long-chain aliphatic fatty alcohols including docosanol, tetracosanol, hexacosanol, octacosanol and tricontanol. It contains the flavonoids isoquercitrin, kaemferol-3-O, D-glucosides and rhoifoline. To a lesser extent it contains enzymes, tannins, the phenolic acids caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid, alkaloids, carbohydrates, essential oil, resins and carotenoids.

Saw palmetto against enlarged prostate and urinary problems

Testosterone is converted into DHT or DiHydroTestosterone, a prostate enlarging substance. The enzymes responsible for prostate growth are inhibited. Saw palmetto reduces the conversion of testosterone to DHT. In addition, it is an anti-inflammatory agent. It also has an antispasmodic effect on the bladder and urinary tract. The contraction of the bladder muscle is promoted by saw palmetto. In addition, this plant has a strengthening effect on the bladder neck, which is due to the sitosterols contained in the fruit. Because of all these powerful medicinal properties, natural medicines based on saw palmetto can be prescribed by herbalists for:

The sharper sawtooth of saw palmetto / Source: Ted Bodner, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-3.0)

  • Mild to moderate BPH, benign prostate adenoma,
  • Urinary problems associated with prostate hypertrophy and prostatitis,
  • Polykissuria or frequent passing of small amounts of urine,
  • Nocturia or nighttime urination,
  • Urgency or difficult to control urges,
  • Retention, feeling of residual urine,
  • Delayed onset of urination,
  • Pee in two times,
  • Weak and scattered urine stream,
  • Prolonged dripping.


Saw palmetto as a diuretic

Saw palmetto not only helps the man to urinate later, but it is also a diuretic, which means that fluid accumulations in the body are removed more quickly by taking medicines based on saw palmetto. In addition, it is an antiseptic for the urinary tract. These medicinal properties make it possible to prescribe saw palmetto for:

  • Cystitis,
  • urethral inflammation,
  • Urinary tract infections in combination with prostate hypertrophy.
  • incontinence,
  • Bedwetting.


Saw palmetto restores hormonal balance in men

Saw palmetto works on men as an aphrodisiac. Sex life is vitalized. In addition, it has a muscle-strengthening effect. Muscle mass increases. Saw palmetto works like natural anabolic steroids; they are precursors, or substances that promote the production of testosterone through conversions in the body. It contains phytosterols that trigger anabolic hormones in men. When used correctly, muscle mass and strength can increase. Bodybuilders who don’t like chemicals use it. For many people it is more important that sexual energy is increased. In men, infertility is also reduced. Women, just like men, experience reduced frigidity. For all these reasons, saw palmetto is used for the following indications:

The thick trunk of an older saw palmetto / Source: Homer Edward Price, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-2.0)

  • Decreased sexual energy,
  • Frigidity in man and woman,
  • Impotence, reduced fertility in men,
  • Weakening in older men, early senility,


Saw palmetto against hair loss

One of the consequences of reducing the conversion of testosterone to DHT is that hair loss is inhibited. The phytosterols inhibit all kinds of isoenzymes that are associated with premature baldness . You can slow down the formation of baldness with saw palmetto.

Other medicinal effects

The effect of saw palmetto against enlarged prostate and impotence are the most important medicinal properties of this North American plant. Here are some of the secondary healing powers of saw palmetto

  • Because it has an expectorant effect and reduces mucous membrane swelling, it is used against bronchitis and other respiratory diseases.
  • Due to the phytoestrogenic effect; Saw palmetto works like bioidentical hormones, shrinks too small breasts and stimulates breast milk production. In addition, the absence of menstruation is treated with it.
  • Because it supports the adrenal cortex, saw palmetto is used in people with weak adrenal gland function.


Saw palmetto is safe

Almost all scientific studies testify to the fact that saw palmetto has no or few side effects. One case has been extensively described of a Caucasian man who reportedly experienced liver damage from the use of saw palmetto. However, there are many ways to sustain liver damage. The majority of medications can cause damage to the liver.

Saw palmetto discussion

In the US, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has examined saw palmetto extract and concluded that it has no effect on benign prostate hypertrophy. This goes against the conclusion of dozens of scientific studies that say that it has a mild effect and slightly reduces the size of the prostate. Moreover, an Italian study saw that it at least counteracts dysuria or painful urination. It could therefore be that the functioning of the urinary tract is improved in a different way than a reduction in the size of the prostate. In light of this, it is important to note that the Native Americans saw an improvement in urination in both men and women, and women do not have a prostate.

Consult a herbal therapist

Anyone who wants to use saw palmetto as a medicinal remedy is recommended to consult a herbal therapist. Seal palm extracts and medicines in the form of mother tinctures, powders, nebulisate, liquid extract, ointment, cream and capsules should only be used on the prescription of authorized persons. A herbal therapist can tell you more about this, as well as about any side effects and interactions with other medicines or herbs. There are also beneficial combinations with herbs. All medicinal effects of this medicinal herb mentioned in this article are based on scientific research and come from Geert Verhelst’s Large Handbook of Medicinal Plants, a standard work in the field of healing plants. The book is used in phytotherapy.

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