The Saw palmetto is a low-growing, multi-stemmed fan palm whose small, spherical to ellipsoidal blue to black fruits are up to three centimeters long. The fruits of the saw palmetto, which only occurs in the southeastern USA, are used by the pharmaceutical industry to extract the ingredients and market them in the form of extracts against mild prostate ailments and problems with urination (micturition problems).
The saw palmetto is a low-growing, multi-stemmed fan palm, the small spherical to ellipsoidal blue to black fruits up to three centimeters long.
The Saw palmetto is the only representative of the Serenoa to establish its own genus. The low-growing and multi-stemmed fan palm species is similar to the tall-stemmed palms as the mountain pine is to the tall-stemmed pines. The trunks are low-lying or even run in the ground, so that they rarely exceed a height of two meters.
It owes its name to the edge of its pinnate leaves, which look like a serrated saw blade. The saw palmetto occurs exclusively in the southeastern United States, from Florida to South Carolina. It prefers sandy soils and forests, where it usually forms the predominant underplanting and is very well adapted to frequent bush fires, which it not only survives, but which it can even use for growth advantages.
The white flowers of the saw palmetto are inconspicuous with a diameter of four to five millimeters, but give off a pleasant scent. Small spherical to ellipsoidal drupes develop from the pollinated flowers, which ripen in autumn and take on a dark blue to almost black color.
The valuable ingredients of the fruits are used by the pharmaceutical industry for the production of medicines and food supplements. Among other things, they help against mild prostate complaints and urination problems.
The solitary stone fruits of the saw palmetto contain a large variety of health-related secondary plant substances, which, however, are usually not water-soluble and therefore have to be extracted with alcohol or comparable substances. The fruits contain essential oils, bitter substances, tannins as well as di- and triterpenes and valuable flavonoids.
Unlike drugs with only a single active ingredient that targets a specific metabolic process, medicinal plants offer a whole cocktail of ingredients that are offered to the body and the immune system, from which the immune system picks the substances that are currently needed. The overall effect of the ingredients in the composite is greater than the summed up effects of the individual components considered in isolation.
Problems with frequent urination in men are mostly due to mild to moderate benign hyperplasia (enlargement) of the prostate, which surrounds the urethra and constricts a little due to the hyperplasia, so that urination problems arise and too much residual urine remains in the bladder. In the development of benign hyperplasia of the prostate, the conversion of the prohormone testosterone into the sex hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) often plays a decisive role.
The conversion is catalyzed by the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. This is exactly where the extracted active ingredients of the saw palmetto fruits come into play. They have an inhibitory effect on the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, so that excess DHT, which is usually responsible for the enlargement of the prostate, is avoided. The saw palmetto extracts not only inhibit the enzyme 5-alpha reductase.
They also have a decongestant and anti-inflammatory effect, which can help normalize the conditions in the urogenital tract. In addition, the extracts have an inhibiting and normalizing effect on increased leakage of fluids from the blood vessels, which, for example, can lead to excessive urine production and dehydration in the kidneys.
Typical indications that speak for the use of saw palmetto products are benign prostatic hyperplasia, problems with urination and residual urine in the bladder, and inflammation in the urogenital area. The use of saw palmetto extracts can also be helpful in the case of sexual dysfunction, which has set in mainly due to prostate problems. The recommended dose of 320 milligrams of the extract in the form of tablets, capsules or drops is a guideline for daily intake.
Regular intake of preparations that contain extracts of saw palmetto fruits in a defined amount and purity will have a long-term effect. Ultimately, the extracts offer your own immune system and metabolism a decisive aid to self-help. On the one hand, it contains secondary ingredients that enable the metabolism to slowly improve the problems surrounding the prostate - provided it is not a malignant tumor - and normal urination.
Improvements can also result in the sexual area due to the normalization of the urogenital area and due to the inhibition of DHT. In addition, problems with a narrowed urethra and the consequent frequent need to urinate cause psychological problems because the men concerned first have to make sure at events where a urinal can be found quickly if necessary.
The extracts of the saw palmetto serve to improve the problem areas listed above in the long term, but also as a precaution against an enlarged prostate and against the occurrence of further complaints in the urogenital area. The main advantage of long-term use compared to drug therapy with common drugs is that saw palmetto extracts have almost no side effects.
Stomach discomfort has rarely been observed, but it did not go beyond the level that also occurred when taking ineffective placebos. However, it must be borne in mind that the extracts of the saw palmetto can reduce the existing swelling of the prostate, but is primarily aimed at improving the symptoms. For this reason, treatment with saw palmetto extracts should in no way replace the necessary doctor's visit.