Saw Palmetto Herbs Used By For Centuries

Rich in fatty acids and phytosterols, the Saw Palmetto herb is an extract of the fruit of Serenoa repens. It has been used in a variety of treatments in traditional, eclectic and alternative medicine. Most notably it has been used to treat prostate enlargement.

The taste of the saw palmetto fruit is not the most delightful, Some Native Americans have used it used it for food. Reportedly, the Mayans drank it as a tonic, and the Seminoles used the berries as an expectorant or antiseptic.

In eclectic medicine, saw palmetto extract has been used for a variety of conditions including weakness, recovery from illness, and urogenital problems. It once was used as a treatment for infertility, painful menstrual cycles, and even as a tonic and to treat underdeveloped breasts.

Eclectic practitioner H.W. Felter described saw palmetto as a nerve sedative, expectorant, and tonic. He thought it was of great use in the treatment of asthma, bronchial conditions, and whooping cough. But, he believed its most direct action was on the reproductive organs. It was once thought to enlarge organs such as breasts, ovaries, and testicles, and, conversely, reduce enlarged prostate glands.

Felter believed that this was so because saw palmetto tended to restore organs to their normal proportions.

Saw palmetto herb is the most popular herbal preparation taken for benign prostate enlargement, a condition common in older men. Early research showed that this herb is well tolerated and shows a “mild to moderate improvement in urinary symptoms and flow measures.” Some research, later on, questions these findings, however.

Limited animal testing suggests possible anti tumor activity, but no human trials have been undertaken. Varied side effects or allergic reactions to saw palmetto herbs have been reported. Most side effects are listed as gastrointestinal, and this can be reduced by taking the medicinal herb with food.

One chemical present in saw palmetto is similar to cholesterol, and so should be avoided by those with heart problems. Keep in mind that concentrations in herbal preparations vary by manufacturer and batch. To get the purest and most reliable concentration, it may be wise to check out some of the organic producers whose manufacturing methods are certified.

For this, we recommend Mountain Rose Herbs. This link will take you to their Web site's education page discussing Saw Palmetto. From that page, you can do a search for "saw palmetto", review the many products offered, and decide which one might be best for you.

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