Supplements Details

Saw Palmetto

What other names is Saw Palmetto known by?

American Dwarf Palm Tree, Baies du Chou Palmiste, Baies du Palmier Scie, Cabbage Palm, Chou Palmiste, Ju-Zhong, Palma Enana Americana, Palmier de Floride, Palmier Nain, Palmier Nain Américain, Palmier Scie, Sabal, Sabal Fructus, Sabal serrulata, Saw Palmetto Berry, Serenoa repens, Serenoa serrulata.

What is Saw Palmetto?

Saw palmetto is a plant. Its fruit is used to make medicine.

Is Saw Palmetto effective?

Saw palmetto can reduce the symptoms of enlarged prostate, including frequent urination, painful urination, sudden urge to urinate, and inability to urinate. It can also decrease the need to urinate during the night, increase urine flow, and make it easier to empty the bladder completely. Saw palmetto seems to work about as well as some prescription medications, but it takes about one or two months of treatment before symptoms improve.

There isn't enough information to know if saw palmetto is effective for the other conditions people use it for, including: increasing breast size, as an aphrodisiac, to encourage hair growth, and to treat colds and coughs, sore throat, asthma, chronic bronchitis, migraine headache, and cancer. Some women use the powdered fruit vaginally to increase muscle tone.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia; BPH). There is conflicting and contradictory research about the benefits of saw palmetto for prostate symptoms. Some research has shown that saw palmetto might modestly improve symptoms such as going to the bathroom at night in some men. But higher quality and more reliable research seems to indicate that saw palmetto has little or no benefit for reducing these symptoms. Any benefit is modest at best.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Treating nonbacterial prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome, increasing breast size, hair growth, colds and coughs, sore throat, asthma, chronic bronchitis, prostate cancer, and migraine headache.

How does Saw Palmetto work?

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.

Are there safety concerns?

Saw palmetto is safe for most people. Side effects are usually mild and include dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea. Saw palmetto does not appear to cause impotence.

Saw palmetto is thought to potentially thin the blood. Saw palmetto has been linked to excessive bleeding in a person who took it before surgery.

There is also concern that saw palmetto might cause liver or pancreas problems in some people. There have been two reports linking saw palmetto products to liver damage and one report linking saw palmetto to pancreatitis. These problems do not appear to be very common in people who take saw palmetto. But there is not enough information to know how often this might occur.

Do not take saw palmetto if:

  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • You are scheduled for surgery in the next two weeks. Saw palmetto might increase the risk of bleeding.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Birth control pills (Contraceptive drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

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.



Estrogens
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

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.



Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

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.

Dosing considerations for Saw Palmetto.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • For benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): 160 mg twice daily or 320 mg once daily.
  • For the treatment of bald spots: 200 mg twice daily combined with beta-sitosterol 50 mg twice daily.

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