Saw Palmetto

SAW PALMETTO (Serenoa repens, a.k.a. Serenoa serrulata, Sabal serrulata)

Family: Arecaceae

Parts commonly used: Berry.

Properties/energetics: Nutritive, diuretic, expectorant, urinary antiseptic/Warm; sweet, oily, spicy.
Systems predominantly affected:  Genitourinary, nervous, digestive.

Uses: This is a nourishing, fatty, anabolic fruit. Seemingly a specific tonic for the sexual glands of both men and women, it is appropriate in atonic, weak, or wasting-away conditions. Known to regulate the size and function of reproductive organs, it has been used to reverse the wasting of testes in the early stages. Sustained use of Saw Palmetto greatly benefits women who manifest ovarian enlargement that elicits tenderness and dull, aching pains with weakened sexual activity. Taken over a long period, Saw Palmetto can add strength and vitality to weak, debilitated individuals, and along with this general strengthening, it may decrease nervous irritability due to weakness or exhaustion. Saw Palmetto berries, when used regularly, directly influence the entire male reproductive apparatus, but especially the prostate gland. The berry is specific for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH); it effectively reduces prostatic swelling and alleviates many associated symptoms, such as dribbling urine, slow initiation of urination, and incomplete bladder evacuation. Saw Palmetto berry extracts have been shown to prevent the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the prostate gland (and the scalp and hair follicles) and increase the breakdown and excretion of DHT. Male reproductive-organ symptoms that indicate this herb’s use are enlarged prostate with throbbing, aching, dull pain, discharge of prostatic fluid, and discharge of mucus or a yellowish watery fluid, accompanied with weakened sexual power. Saw Palmetto is also appropriate where there are symptoms of testicle infection (orchitis) when associated with an enlarged prostate.

Combinations: Combines exceptionally well with Echinacea, Oregon grape, Calendula, and Buchu for treating prostate infection and inflammation of the genitourinary tract. Use in equal parts with Echinacea to use in suppository form for treating inflamed and enlarged prostate, with Hydrangea and Horsetail for treating an enlarged prostate, and with Damiana and American Ginseng for treating general debility associated with an unhealthy atonic reproductive system. Use with nervine herbs such as Skullcap and Valerian to help relieve anxiety impotence.

Affects on specific body types: As a general tonic, Saw Palmetto is an ideal nutrient for the Seer constitution. The warm, sweet, spicy energy of this berry improves digestion and assimilation, which promotes weight gain and increases strength. It relieves irritation of respiratory mucus structures and is a tonic that shows great power in stimulating the nutrition of the nerve centers, upon and through which it operates. For its specific use as a prostate medicine, Saw Palmetto can be used by anybody in conjunction with herbs more specific for an individual’s particular constitutional nature.

Preparations/dosage: The ripe berry is best used when only partially dried or as a tincture of partially dried berries. Decoction: 1 cup three times a day. Tincture: 25 to 50 drops three times a day. (It helps to mix this tincture in a little water with 1/4 teaspoon of sour vitamin C crystals for flavor enhancement.) Capsule: 2 #00 capsules full of powdered berry three times a day. Suppository: Inserted rectally after each bowel movement.

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal, 2nd Edition