Saw palmetto or dwarf palm is a tree native to northern Mexico and the southeastern United States. It has a height of up to 3 meters, with leaves 1 meter and a half long. In addition, it is known for its fruits which, when ripe, are used for medicinal purposes. What are the benefits of the saw palmetto plant?
In general, dietary supplements with saw palmetto help relieve the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and male baldness. Similarly, it appears to prevent complications during prostate surgery.
Currently, the plant is available in the form of nuts, capsules and liquid extracts, among others. What is the dwarf palm tree recommended for? What are the possible side effects? Below, we will answer these questions.
Uses and benefits of saw palmetto (dwarf palm)
Although there is little scientific evidence, it looks promising. Studies suggest that dwarf palm fruit extract may inhibit the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, known to convert testosterone to DHT, a molecule that leads to hair loss and prostate growth.
A study published in the Turkish Journal of Dermatology found that 50% of men who applied this topical extract, mixed with 10% Trichogen ™ VEG, had almost 12% more hair after just a few months of treatment.
According to research published in Research and Reports in Urology, saw palmetto may be an additional treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also called “prostate enlargement.”
Similarly, a study of 82 patients showed that those who took a 320 mg capsule of this extract significantly reduced the symptoms of the disease. Therefore, it is believed that in the future it could be the starting point for new treatments.
An analysis of existing studies found that saw palmetto supplements are among the top five complementary treatments used by prostate cancer patients.
As mentioned, these supplements are able to block the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, linked to enlarged prostate and therefore prostate cancer. Although it is not clear how it works, it has been observed that men who take inhibitors of this enzyme tend to be less prone to developing this disease.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Oncology, the dwarf palm is able to stop the development of LNCaP, DU145 and PC3 cells of prostate cancer. However, it should be noted that it can cause impotence and reduce libido.
Saw palmetto: safety and recommendations
Although it is considered safe in most healthy adults, its intake is not recommended for children, pregnant women and infants. Saw palmetto can cause side effects such as mild headaches and stomach aches. The latter can be avoided as long as the extract is taken with food.
It is a good idea to talk to your doctor if you are taking these supplements and are close to surgery or treatment. It should be borne in mind that certain compounds may cause excessive bleeding or interactions with drugs such as anticoagulants.
Finally, because it has similar effects to finasteride, a medicine that treats hair loss and BPH, it should not be taken at the same time unless directed by your doctor. Also, saw palmetto may reduce the efficacy of oral contraceptives.
Benefits of the saw palmetto plant: conclusion
Saw palmetto or dwarf palm is a plant from which extracts and other medicinal derivatives are obtained. Although it is popular for relieving coughs and other cold symptoms, there is no evidence to support such uses. Even so, there are studies that suggest that its benefits against conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and hair loss are great.
In any case, you need to take precautions when using these types of supplements. Not recommended for pregnant and lactating women or children. It is best to consult your doctor before ingesting this herbal product on a regular basis.