Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Find a Vitamin or Supplement

SAW PALMETTO

Other Names:

American Dwarf Palm Tree, Baies du Chou Palmiste, Baies du Palmier Scie, Cabbage Palm, Chou Palmiste, Ju-Zhong, Palma Enana Americana, Palmier de Floride, Palmier Nain, Palmier Nain Américain, Palmier Scie, Sabal, Sabal Fructus, Sabal serrulata,...
See All Names

 Overview
 Uses
 Side Effects
 Interactions
 Dosing
Overview Information

Saw palmetto is a plant. Its ripe fruit is used to make medicine.

Saw palmetto is best known for its use in decreasing symptoms of an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hypertrophy, BPH). According to many research studies, it is effective for this use.

Saw palmetto is used for treating certain types of prostate infections. It is also sometimes used, in combination with other herbs, to treat prostate cancer.

Some people use saw palmetto for colds and coughs, sore throat, asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic pelvic pain syndrome, and migraineheadache. It is also used to increase urine flow (as a diuretic), to promote relaxation (as a sedative), and to enhance sexual drive (as an aphrodisiac).

How does it work?

Saw palmetto doesn’t shrink the overall size of the prostate, but it seems to shrink the inner lining that puts pressure on the tubes that carry urine.

Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Possibly Ineffective for:

  • Enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia; BPH). There is conflicting and contradictory research about the benefits of saw palmetto for prostate symptoms. Some research has shown that saw palmetto might modestly improve symptoms such as going to the bathroom at night in some men. But higher quality and more reliable research seems to indicate that saw palmetto has little or no benefit for reducing these symptoms. Any benefit is modest at best.

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Treating prostate infections and chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Saw palmetto doesn’t seem to help prostate infections or chronic pelvic pain syndrome.
  • Prostate cancer. Research studies to date have found that taking saw palmetto doesn’t seem to prevent prostate cancer.
  • Baldness. Some men report that using saw palmetto with beta-sitosterol makes them grow more and better hair.
  • Colds and coughs.
  • Sore throat.
  • Asthma.
  • Chronic bronchitis.
  • Migraine headache.
  • Increasing breast size.
  • Reducing bleeding after prostate surgery.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of saw palmetto for these uses.


Side Effects & Safety

Saw palmetto is LIKELY SAFE for most people. Side effects are usually mild. Some people have reported dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea. Some people have reported that saw palmetto causes impotence. But these side effects do not seem to occur any more often with saw palmetto than with a sugar pill.

There is some concern that saw palmetto might cause liver or pancreas problems in some people. There have been two reports of liver damage and one report of pancreas damage in people who took saw palmetto. But there is not enough information to know if saw palmetto was the actual cause of these side effects.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Saw palmetto is LIKELY UNSAFE when used during pregnancy or breast-feeding. It acts like a hormone, and this could be dangerous to the pregnancy. Don’t use during pregnancy or breast-feeding.

Surgery: Saw palmetto might slow blood clotting. There is some concern that it might cause extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using saw palmetto at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Interactions What is this?

Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination

  • Birth control pills (Contraceptive drugs) interacts with SAW PALMETTO

    Some birth control pills contain estrogen. Saw palmetto might decrease the effects of estrogen in the body. Taking saw palmetto along with birth control pills might decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. If you take birth control pills along with saw palmetto, use an additional form of birth control such as a condom.
    Some birth control pills include ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others.

  • Estrogens interacts with SAW PALMETTO

    Saw palmetto seems to decrease estrogen levels in the body. Taking saw palmetto along with estrogen pills might decrease the effectiveness of estrogen pills.
    Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.

  • Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with SAW PALMETTO

    Saw palmetto might slow blood clotting. Taking saw palmetto along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
    Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.


Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • For benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): 160 mg twice daily or 320 mg once daily.
  • For the treatment of bald spots: 200 mg twice daily combined with beta-sitosterol 50 mg twice daily.

See 84 Reviews for this Treatment - OR -

Review this Treatment

Learn about User Reviews and read IMPORTANT information about user generated content

Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

Search for a Vitamin or Supplement

Ex. Ginseng, Vitamin C, Depression

Today on WebMD

Woman taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
Man taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
 
clams
Quiz
Woman in sun
Slideshow
 
Flaxseed added fiber
Video
!!69X75_Vitamins_Supplements.jpg
Evaluator
 
Woman sleeping
Article
Woman staring into space with coffee
Article
 
IMPORTANT: About This Section and Other User-Generated Content on WebMD

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, reviews, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatment or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD User-generated content as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.