Saw Palmetto Extract

Written by Sierra Rein
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The saw palmetto plant is small, palm-like, and a native to the North American continent. Native American herbalists and medicine men have long used the extract made from the saw palmetto berries for medicinal benefits. They used the oils and herbs made from the saw palmetto plant to treat problems found in the gastrointestinal, reproductive, urinary tract, and genital systems. It is only quite recently that the powers behind the extract have been scientifically proven.

The oily extract itself is comprised of fatty acids and phytosterols. Fatty acids within the saw palmetto extract include oleic acid, lauric acid, palmitic acid, and myristic acid, and polysaccharides. Phytosterols, which are unsaturated solid alcohols of the steroid group found in plant materials, have been proven to curb the cell growth rate of prostate cells. These two chemicals in the saw palmetto extract can become instrumental in helping men reduce the pains commonly affiliated with prostate cancer.

The saw palmetto herb extract has long been marketed in Europe as an aphrodisiac for men and women. In North America, it is being touted for its healing properties in the male prostate, and for women experiencing extreme effects of menopause (night sweats, insomnia, vaginal dryness, irritability, depressed mood, fluid retention, hot flushes, and loss of libido). Saw palmetto extract can also be effective for women who consistently have dysmenorrhoea (period pains).

Standard and Non-Standard Saw Palmetto Extract Doses

The most standardized dose of saw palmetto extract usually contains 80 percent to 95 percent sterols and fatty acids (liposterolic content). A common dose is typically 160 milligrams twice daily, or 320 milligrams once daily. Standardization involves measuring the amount of certain substances in products to try to make different preparations similar to each other. More than 320 milligrams of saw palmetto extract is not recommended; be sure to talk to your health care provider or specialist before taking saw palmetto as a daily supplement.

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