The medicinal properties of saw palmetto are found in the fat-soluble extract obtained from the blue-black berries of this small palm tree that grows wild from Texas to South Carolina. The name is derived from the saw-toothed stems located at the base of each leaf. The Native Americans used it to treat urinary tract disorders.
The major benefit of this herb is relief from symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland – a condition very common among men over the age of 45 years. This condition, also known as BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia or hypertrophy), can cause the prostate gland to press on the urethra, resulting in frequent urination (especially problematic at nighttime), weak urine flow, painful urination and incomplete voiding.
Saw palmetto alters the levels of various hormones, that cause prostate cells to multiply and also helps curb inflammation so that tissue swelling is reduced.
In addition, this herb boosts the immune system’s ability to kill bacteria, making it helpful in treating prostate and urinary tract infections. It has also been found helpful in relieving symptoms of prostatitis, an inflammation of prostate tissues. This condition can occur in younger men and has similar symptoms to BPH.
Women can also benefit from taking Saw Palmetto. In women, preliminary studies reveal that this extract can help in relieving pain in women suffering from uterine and ovarian irritations. This extract may also benefit women who have conditions caused by excess androgen or hormones such as testosterone, which can cause hirsutism (excess facial hair).
Pygeum, like saw palmetto, supports prostate and urinary tract health. This herb is extracted from the bark of an evergreen tree native to Sub-Saharan Africa. Its anti-inflammatory properties reduce swelling of the prostate, thereby supporting healthy bladder function for regular and complete urination.
Enlargement and inflammation of the prostate can hinder urine flow and affect sexual function. Frequent nighttime urination, pain, burning and difficulty with urination are all symptoms of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia BPH. The berries of the saw palmetto plant have been used in holistic medicine for years to enhance male urinary and reproductive health.