Saw palmetto extract comes from the flower of the fan palm. It is the extract of this flower that is used to treat ailments such as a lackluster sexual appetite and kidney stones.
1. Sexual Health
Saw palmetto extract has been used for years to address impotence in men. While research isn’t clear about why it works, it is obvious that it does indeed work to boost sexual performance. It not only works for men, saw palmetto is also an effective aphrodisiac for women.
2. Kidney Health
Saw palmetto can help address urinary incontinence by strengthening the bladder and urinary tract, which will also help keep the kidneys functioning properly. If you are suffering from or at increased risk for kidney stones, try incorporating saw palmetto into your diet.
3. Prostate Health
Prostate cancer is often related to prostate enlargement, and saw palmetto helps to reduce prostate enlargement that occurs naturally over time. Saw palmetto, therefore, helps keep the prostate healthy and reduces your chance of becoming a victim of prostate cancer.
4. Muscle Mass
Saw palmetto has increasingly been used as a workout supplement to help weightlifters put on more weight and increase definition. While more research needs to be done, a positive link has been shown between saw palmetto intake and an increase in testosterone production, which makes it very likely that the supplement could help one increase muscle mass as well.
5. Healthy Hair
Saw palmetto is also used to increase hair growth, another side effect of its effect on testosterone production. If you are male and balding, saw palmetto may be a good option for you to increase hair growth. Studies support the belief that consuming saw palmetto supplement can slow or reverse male-pattern baldness.
If you are female, however, beware, as the increase in testosterone may also cause hair to grow where you don’t want it (e.g. the face).
6. Boosts Immune System
Serenoa repens provides general support to the immune system, helping strengthen it against minor colds, coughs, and flu viruses. Some that suffer from migraines or regular headaches also claim that saw palmetto has helped with their symptoms.
How to Use Saw Palmetto
Many natives consume saw palmetto berries as they are found in nature, and some prefer to use it in a brewed tea.
To make saw palmetto tea, gather 1/4 cup of the fresh berries and put them into a small pan that is not aluminum. If using dried saw palmetto berries, use 2 teaspoons. To the pan add 2 cups of boiling water and stir well. Cover the pan and let it sit for 15 minutes. Add in 1 tablespoon of honey and 1/4 teaspoon of almond or vanilla extract. To add a little sweetness, add a pinch of stevia. This will make the tea a bit more palatable. Pour the tea through a strainer. Transfer the tea into a cup and then consume it. The berries can be reserved and reused or a second batch.
While saw palmetto does have many positive health benefits, it can also cause some negative side effects. If you are on blood thinners or any prostate medication, it is imperative that you discuss the possible side effects with your doctor or herbalist before incorporating saw palmetto into your regimen.
Some side effects of consuming saw palmetto include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and dizziness. If you experience any of these side effects, stop using saw palmetto right away and consult your physician.