Author: Jodi Helmer
A dwarf palm with purple berries doesn’t sound like a masculine plant, but it may help promote prostate health. Saw palmetto is best known for its effectiveness in treating symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate. Its success in treating BPH, which is characterized by an overgrowth of cells in the prostate gland, is not well understood. Researchers suspect that saw palmetto inhibits cell growth and promotes the death of excess cells.
“It has multiple effects that independent of each other are quite weak but together are quite effective,” explains Eric Yarnell, ND, assistant professor of botanical medicine at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington, and president of the Botanical Medicine Academy. “It has the same actions as [prescription drugs] but none of the unpleasant side effects.”
Two 160mg doses or one 320mg capsule per day has been shown to provide benefits for patients with mild BPH. Recent research published in the September 25, 2005 issue of the World Journal of Urology found that men with mild symptoms of bladder outlet obstruction, commonly caused by BPH, who took saw palmetto were able to halt the symptoms’ progression.
“The fact that it is cheap, safe and effective makes it a good choice for BPH,” Yarnell says, proving that despite its diminutive size, saw palmetto packs a big health punch.