©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Saw palmetto can be used to treat impotence,  prostate enlargement and incontinence.

Saw palmetto is a small palm tree indigenous to Florida. It is a striking, large-leaved plant that bears dark red berries the size of olives.

When it comes to herbal remedies, saw palmetto's properties make it a popular choice for treating a number of ailments. From penile dysfunction to incontinence, saw palmetto can help relieve discomfort and some male performance issues.

Uses for Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto has long been considered an aphrodisiac and sexual rejuvenator, although little research supports the claim. Saw palmetto does act on the sexual organs, and many herbalists value it as a treatment for impotence.

The action of saw palmetto has been well studied, and the herb is popular in the treatment of prostate enlargement. Enlargement of the prostate gland affects millions of men older than 50 years of age, causing difficulty with urination and a sensation of swelling in the low pelvis or rectal area.

Research has shown that saw palmetto inhibits one of the active forms of testosterone in the body (dihydrotestosterone) from stimulating cellular reproduction in the prostate gland. Saw palmetto inhibits testosterone from binding to and thereby stimulating prostate cells. This serves to reduce multiplication of prostatic cells and reduces prostatic enlargement.

Saw palmetto is recommended to treat weakening urinary organs and the resulting incontinence that may occur in elderly people or women after menopause. Saw palmetto strengthens the urinary organs and has been recommended for kidney stones.

Saw palmetto has also been touted as a steroid substitute for athletes who wish to increase muscle mass, though little documentation supports this claim. Saw palmetto does affect testosterone, one of the hormones responsible for promoting muscle mass, as described above, but the precise hormonal activities on tissues other than the prostate are not yet understood.

Research on other plant steroids has shown their actions to be complex and diverse. Many plant steroids, for example, enhance hormonal activity in one type of tissue and inhibit it in others. The jury is out on whether saw palmetto will pump you up, but many herbalists agree that it may benefit cases of tissue wasting, weakness, debility, weight loss, and chronic emaciating diseases. However, this may be from improved digestion and absorption, rather than from any hormonal effect.

In the next section, you will learn how to prepare saw palmetto for herbal remedies and some of the potentially dangerous side effects.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies.   Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and each discipline has its own rules about whether practitioners are required to be professionally licensed. If you plan to visit a practitioner, it is recommended that you choose one who is licensed by a recognized national organization and who abides by the organization's standards. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique.