The EclecticPhysician

The Eclectic Physician
Medicinal Herb Monographs

Saw Palmetto

Botanical Name 
Serenoa repens

The information on this page compiled by
Beth Burch N.D.
(click on the keywords)


Saw palmetto was used by Native Americans and the Eclectic physicians to treat genitourinary tract disorders. Modern research has demonstrated that it is effective for the treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy.


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  • A native of the southern coastal regions of the US from South Carolina to Florida, Saw Palmetto is a bushy palm growing up to 10 feet tall with a crown of yellowish green palm leaves. The flowers are small and cream colored. The berries are the medicinal part and are slightly wrinkled, oval purple to blue-black with a single seed.

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  • Sterols including beta-sitosterol
  • Flavonoids
  • Polysaccharides
  • Fatty oils

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  • Anti-inflammatory (7)
  • Testosterone metabolite formation inhibitor (3, 4 )
  • Inhibits binding of DHT to prostatic cells (5)
  • Anti-androgen (8)

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Conditions used for

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  • Liquid extract- 1-2 teaspoons twice a day
  • Dry in capsules- 1000-2000 mg twice a day
  • Dry extract in capsules assayed at 85-95% liposterols- 160 mg twice a day

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Side Effects

  • Nausea (6)
  • Abdominal pain (6)

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  • None known

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Interactions with medications

  • Do not combine with other medications for prostatic hypertrophy

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Use in pregnancy & lactation

  • Do not use in pregnancy or lactation

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1. Wilt TJ et al, Saw palmetto extracts for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a
systematic review, JAMA 1998;280(18):1604-9
2. Gerber GS et al, Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) in men with lower urinary tract symptoms: effects on urodynamic parameters and voiding symptomsUrology 1998;51(6):1003-7
3. Delos S et al, Testosterone metabolism in primary cultures of human prostate epithelial cells and fibroblasts, J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 1995;55(3-4):375-83
4. Bayne CW et al, Serenoa repens (Permixon): a 5alpha-reductase types I and II inhibitor-new evidence in a coculture model of BPH, Prostate 1999;40(4):232-41
5. Di Silverio F et al, Effects of long-term treatment with Serenoa repens (Permixon) on the concentrations and regional distribution of androgens and epidermal growth
factor in benign prostatic hyperplasia, Prostate 1998;37(2):77-83
6. Plosker GL et al, Serenoa repens (Permixon). A review of its pharmacology and therapeutic efficacy in benign prostatic hyperplasiaDrugs Aging 1996;9(5):379-95
7. Paubert-Braquet M et al, Effect of the lipidic lipidosterolic extract of Serenoa repens (Permixon) on the ionophore A23187-stimulated production of leukotriene B4 (LTB4) from human polymorphonuclear neutrophils, Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 1997;57(3):299-304
8. Ravenna L et al, Effects of the lipidosterolic extract of Serenoa repens (Permixon) on human prostatic cell lines, Prostate 1996 Oct;29(4):219-30

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* The information presented in this web site is intended to inform and educate. It is not intended replace a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose or treat medical conditions.

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