This herb is gaining popularity with alternative practitioners for the treatment of prostrate disorders. This is due to the herb's apparent ability to strengthen the neck of the bladder and reduce an enlarged prostrate gland by regulating hormones. It also helps redirect testosterone from sex organs to muscle building, making it useful in treating wasting disorders as HIV/AIDS. Saw palmetto berries contain free fatty acids and plant sterol compounds described as phytosterols or sitosterols, especially beta-sitos-terol and some related chemicals. These ingredients appear to modify estrogen receptors and block the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a more active chemical. Some animal research indicates that the berries may also have anti-inflammatory activity that can help reduce allergic reactions. Saw palmetto has been used traditionally as a diuretic and to stimulate immune response. The well-known nourishing and tonic effects of this herb can be seen in the reproductive system, and it is a valued remedy for atrophy of the testes, low libido, impotence, prostate enlargement and inflammation of the reproductive tract. Saw palmetto has also been used as a reproductive tonic for women, increasing sexual energy, fertility and increasing breast milk. It has also been used to
relieve painful periods
, and to regulate menstrual cycles. Saw palmetto can also be taken to relieve
and fluid retention, as well as for incontinence and bed-wetting. This herb is also useful for relaxing the nervous system and soothing tension and
. Its toning action on the mucous membranes throughout the body, are helpful in treating
, catarrh, and sinusitis. The expectorant properties of this herb also make it a good remedy for
. The berries are used medicinally as tablets and tinctures.
This herb can cause
. It should be avoided by pregnant and lactating women and those wishing to conceive.