Used for centuries by the Native American peoples, then transferred into Western culture with the arrival of European settlers, Saw Palmetto is a great herbal cure for many problems related to the reproductive system.
Saw Palmetto has been the subject of an increasing number of medical and scientific studies. Its most popular use these days is as a herbal supplement for prostate health, although you may also recognize it as an ingredient in herbal cures for baldness.
Both as a supplement for urinary tract health, and as a baldness remedy, Saw Palmetto has actually had some very positive clinical trials.
Saw Palmetto is a fan palm native to the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains of The United States. The flowers are yellowish-white, blossoming into a reddish-black fruit. If you look down, you may recognize it while walking around pine forests or coastal areas - as its name suggests, it resembles a 'little palm tree'.
In its role as herbal remedy, Saw Palmetto was widely used from the time of European settlement of North America, right up until World War II. At that point it drifted out of the public consciousness, before returning to great acclaim in the 1990s after several very positive clinical studies.
The North American Seminole Indians used Saw Palmetto for infertility, PMS and other reproductive or urinary tract problems. Today, herbalists use Saw Palmetto primarily to treat, and relieve the symptoms of, urinary tract infections.
It is used especially for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), a common ailment amongst older men which involves an inflamed and enlarged prostate. Saw Palmetto relieves the frequent urination caused by BPH.
It has been noted by many men that Saw Palmetto extract acts faster than most prescription drugs. This is a common ailment as men get older. Of course, before starting any herbal treatment for urinary tract problems, be sure to discuss this option with your doctor.
Saw Palmetto has been a very versatile remedy among Native Americans. At times it has been used for stomach aches, indigestion and dysentery.
In addition to Saw Palmetto's effects on the urinary system, it has also been long associated with an increase in libido. Although this aspect of Saw Palmetto has been subject to less research than other remedies, many men swear by the naturally increased sex drive they experience shortly after taking it.
In women, it can boost fertility and libido, plus it is an effective delaying agent for the symptoms of menopause.
But what about Saw Palmetto's other promising use? As a cure for Androgenetic Alopecia (a type of baldness), Saw Palmetto has been shown to be extremely effective. It works by curtailing the production of the nasty chemical that causes this baldness (dihydrotestosterone, or DHT). Strangely enough, this chemical is also instrumental in many cases of enlarged prostates.
Saw Palmetto is usually available as an extract, which should be taken in doses of approximately 300mg per day. Alternatively, some people prefer to take 2 grams of the crushed Saw Palmetto berry, which is where the medicinal value is held. Unlike other herbal remedies, it cannot be made into a tea.
Always be careful to follow the manufacturer's instructions, and consult your doctor before starting any course.