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Saw palmetto extract

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Saw palmetto extract is an extract of the fruit of the saw palmetto. It is marketed as a dietary supplement that may help with benign prostatic hyperplasia, but there is no clinical evidence that it is effective for this purpose.[1][2][3][4]

Uses and research[edit]

Saw palmetto extract is commonly sold as a dietary supplement intended to improve symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)—also called prostate gland enlargement—which is a common condition among men as they age.[1][5] An enlarged prostate may cause increased frequency or urgency of urination, difficulty initiating urination, weak urine stream or a stream that stops and starts, dribbling at the end of urination, and inability to completely empty the bladder.[5]

Saw palmetto extract has been studied in clinical trials as a possible treatment for people with prostate cancer and for men with lower urinary tract symptoms associated with BPH.[1][3] As of 2023, there is insufficient scientific evidence that saw palmetto extract is effective for treating cancer or BPH and its symptoms.[2][3] A 2023 review found that saw palmetto extract "provides little to no benefits for men with lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic enlargement."[4]

One 2016 review of clinical studies with a standardized extract of saw palmetto (called Permixon) found that the extract was safe and may be effective for relieving BPH-induced urinary symptoms compared with a placebo.[6]

Folk medicine[edit]

Saw palmetto was used in folk medicine to treat coughs or other disorders.[1]

Precautions and contraindications[edit]


The use of saw palmetto extract is not recommended in children under 12 years old because it may affect the metabolism of androgen and estrogen hormones.[7]

Pregnancy and lactation[edit]

Saw palmetto extract should not be used during pregnancy because it may affect androgen and estrogen metabolism.[3][7] As there is no rationale for using saw palmetto during pregnancy, it should be avoided when pregnant or while breastfeeding.[3]

PSA test interference[edit]

Saw palmetto has been shown to reduce the levels of PSA in the blood, a hormone produced by the prostate and used as a marker by healthcare providers to evaluate the presence of prostate cancer. Taking saw palmetto can artificially reduce the levels of PSA, interfering with test results.[8]


Saw palmetto extract has interactions with other medications.[3] When used in combination with an anticoagulant or anti-platelet drug, saw palmetto extract can increase the risk of bleeding by enhancing the anticoagulation or anti-platelet effects.[3] Some examples of anticoagulant and anti-platelet drugs include aspirin, clopidogrel, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and warfarin.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d "Saw palmetto". National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, US National Institutes of Health. 1 May 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Spotlight on saw palmetto: What the science says". NCCIH Clinical Digest for Health Professionals, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, US National Institutes of Health. 1 May 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Saw palmetto". Drugs.com. 30 November 2022. Retrieved 12 June 2023.
  4. ^ a b Franco, Juan Va; Trivisonno, Leonel; Sgarbossa, Nadia J.; et al. (2023-06-22). "Serenoa repens for the treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic enlargement". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2023 (6): CD001423. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001423.pub4. ISSN 1469-493X. PMC 10286776. PMID 37345871.
  5. ^ a b "Benign prostatic hyperplasia". Mayo Clinic. 2 March 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  6. ^ Novara, Giacomo; Giannarini, Gianluca; Alcaraz, Antonio; et al. (2016). "Efficacy and safety of hexanic lipidosterolic extract of Serenoa repens (Permixon) in the treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials". European Urology Focus. 2 (5): 553–561. doi:10.1016/j.euf.2016.04.002. PMID 28723522. S2CID 19219564.
  7. ^ a b "Fructus Serenoae Repentis". WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants. World Health Organization. Archived from the original on June 16, 2009. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  8. ^ Murugusundram, Sundaram (2009). "Serenoa Repens: Does It have Any Role in the Management of Androgenetic Alopecia?". Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery. 2 (1): 31–32. doi:10.4103/0974-2077.53097. ISSN 0974-2077. PMC 2840915. PMID 20300369.