Saw Palmetto

March 21, 2017

Saw Palmetto

Botanical name(s):

Sabal, Sabal serrulata, Serenoa repens

Common names:

Saw palmetto, shrub palmetto, dwarf palm

General description

The saw palmetto tree is native to North America. It grows 4–10 feet tall. This depends on its region. The medicinal part is the ripe, dried berry. It’s also called Sabal fructus. Both the berries and seeds of the saw palmetto plant are used.

Saw palmetto may reduce the symptoms of an enlarged prostate. It’s widely used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).

Medically valid uses

There are many studies looking at the effects of saw palmetto on treating symptoms of BPH. But the results are inconsistent and contradictory. 

Unsubstantiated claims

Please note that this section reports on claims that have not yet been substantiated through studies.

Saw palmetto is said to stimulate the appetite. It may also tone and strengthen the male reproductive system. It’s also claimed to reduce prostate inflammation. There are claims that saw palmetto extracts may enhance sexual desire and functioning, especially due to older age.

Dosing format

Saw palmetto berry extracts come in tablet, extract, tea, and capsule forms.

Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

Talk to your healthcare provider before starting herbal therapy.

The saw palmetto berries and extract are considered safe. There are few side effects. In rare cases, they may cause mild headaches and stomach problems.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to their healthcare providers before taking any herbs.

There are no known food or drug interactions with saw palmetto.


March 21, 2017

Reviewed By:  

Poulson, Brittany, RD,Wilkins, Joanna, R.D., C.D.