Saw palmetto is a plant. Its ripe fruit is used to make medicine.
Saw palmetto is best known for its use in decreasing symptoms of an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hypertrophy, BPH). According to many research studies, it is effective for this use.
Saw palmetto is used for treating certain types of prostate infections. It is also sometimes used, in combination with other herbs, to treat prostate cancer.
Some people use saw palmetto for colds and coughs, sore throat, asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic pelvic pain syndrome, and migraine headache. It is also used to increase urine flow (as a diuretic), to promote relaxation (as a sedative), and to enhance sexual drive (as an aphrodisiac).
How it works
Saw palmetto doesn't shrink the overall size of the prostate, but it seems to shrink the inner lining that puts pressure on the tubes that carry urine.
Possibly EffectiveProstate surgery (transurethral resection of the prostate; TURP)
Research shows that taking 320 mg of saw palmetto daily for 2 months before prostate surgery can reduce the time spent in surgery, blood loss, the development of problems during surgery, and the total time spent in the hospital. However, one small study found that taking 160 mg daily 5 weeks before surgery does not lower the risk of problems during surgery.
Saw palmetto is LIKELY SAFE for most people. Side effects are usually mild. Some people have reported dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea. Some people have reported that saw palmetto causes impotence. However, these side effects do not seem to occur any more often with saw palmetto than with a sugar pill.There is some concern that saw palmetto might cause liver or pancreas problems in some people. There have been two reports of liver damage and one report of pancreas damage in people who took saw palmetto. However, there is not enough information to know if saw palmetto was the actual cause of these side effects
Saw palmetto is POSSIBLY SAFE when administered into the rectum appropriately for up to 30 days. However, it is not known if it is safe to use for longer periods of time.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Saw palmetto isLIKELY UNSAFEwhen used duringpregnancyor breast-feeding. It acts like ahormone, and this could be dangerous to the pregnancy. Don't use during pregnancy or breast-feeding.Are there any interactions with medications?
Surgery: Saw palmetto might slow blood clotting. There is some concern that it might cause extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using saw palmetto at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
ModerateMedications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)
Some birth control pills contain estrogen. Saw palmetto might decrease the effects of estrogen in the body. Taking saw palmetto along with birth control pills might decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. If you take birth control pills along with saw palmetto, use an additional form of birth control such as a condom.Some birth control pills include ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others.Saw palmetto seems to decrease estrogen levels in the body. Taking saw palmetto along with estrogen pills might decrease the effectiveness of estrogen pills.Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.Saw palmetto might slow blood clotting. Taking saw palmetto along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.