Saw Palmetto

We all know that we can eat the fruit of many types of palm trees. Coconut palms. Date palms. Acai berry palms. Yep, that’s a palm fruit, too. 

Naturally Botanicals-Saw Pamletto-Serenoa repensNow, there’s another palm tree that offers health benefits, however it’s not one which is currently known for edible fruits. Historically it was a source of food for Native Americans in Florida. 

We’re talking about the Saw Palmetto. It’s considered an herb although it is a dwarf palm that grows in the coastal lands of North America, West Indies, and Mediterranean countries. The fruits are a rich source of fatty acids and phytosterols (those are naturally occurring compounds found in plant cell membranes) and have been used to help with various health conditions.

Why is called “saw?” Well, as one person said, “You don’t want to run through a saw palmetto grove. The sharp spines on the leafstalks will scratch your legs like the teeth of a saw.” Its fan-shaped leaves have sharp, saw-toothed edges that give the plant its name.

Naturally Botanicals-Saw Pamletto-Serenoa repens 2

Saw palmetto benefits have been known for centuries, and the plant has been used in traditional, eclectic and alternative medicine. Its active ingredients include fatty acids, plant sterols and flavonoids. The plant bears white flowers and berries that emerge yellow but ripen to blue-black. The abundant berries are harvested from the wild in the fall and are dried for medicinal use. The berries contain high molecular weight polysaccharides (sugars), which may reduce inflammation that’s at the root of many diseases and strengthen the immune system — thus adding immune system booster to the list of saw palmetto benefits.

(Other natural anti-inflammatory ingredients such as quercetin, bromelain, and ashwagandha can help calm your body down and also boost your immune system.  You can find these and other anti-inflammatories in our full line of supplements and homeopathics.)

Serenoa repens is the scientific name. It’s the only species found within the Serenoa genus. Some saw palmetto plants live for over 700 years. It's also known as sabal, American dwarf palm tree, cabbage palm, dwarf palmetto, fan palm, Fructus Serenoae Repentis, sabal fructus, saw palmetto, serenoa, and scrub palm.

Today saw palmetto is much better known as the source of a prostate medication found in the fruit that helps shrink overgrown prostates. The size of the prostate changes with age. It’s about the size of a walnut in younger men, but it can grow to be much larger in older men — and this can become problematic. It’s when the prostate becomes enlarged that men begin experiencing symptoms from BPH and lower urinary tract issues.

Saw palmetto treatments are usually associated with men; women do use it for counteracting the physical manifestations of too much testosterone, treating hair loss, treating acne, and treating symptoms of menopause.

In addition to eating the berries, the saw palmetto plant was used for medicine by the Native Americans of the southeastern United States. In the early 20th century, men used the berries to treat urinary tract problems and increase sperm production.

It’s thought that saw palmetto can help provide the following health benefits:

  • Helping reduce colds, coughs and sore throat
  • Treating asthma and chronic bronchitis
  • Relieving migraine headaches
  • Promoting hair growth
  • Keeping testosterone levels balanced
  • Increasing urine flow
  • And enhancing sex drive

We’re not including a recipe on this herb. (We think you’ll thank us for that!)

 


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