Saw palmetto extract
Saw palmetto comes from the yellow berries of a tall plant that grows in warm climates. It's a source of natural oils, fatty acids and other compounds that appear to reduce inflammation. Native Americans used the berries for food. In addition, the berries have been used medicinally for hundreds of years to treat urinary tract symptoms. Today, some practitioners use saw palmetto extract to treat symptoms and conditions associated with an enlarged prostate gland in men. Men with this health condition, that becomes more common with age, experience symptoms like increased urination, difficulty passing urine, frequent trips to the bathroom at night and burning with urination. Some research shows that saw palmetto improves these symptoms. On the other hand, some studies fail to show benefits. Most research shows saw palmetto doesn't shrink an enlarged prostate. On the other hand, it may improve some of the symptoms associated with this condition such as frequent urination and burning. It may also reduce nighttime trips to the bathroom. More research is needed to confirm whether saw palmetto extract is beneficial for men with an enlarged prostate. Saw palmetto has also been used for symptoms of asthma, cold and bronchitis symptoms, migraine headaches and to boost sexual desire. There isn't enough evidence to confirm that it's effective for these problems.
Is Saw Palmetto Extract Safe?
Most people who take saw palmetto herbal supplements experience only mild medical side effects. The most common are stomach upset, constipation, diarrhea and headache. There have been isolated cases of liver and pancreas problems in people taking saw palmetto. It's not clear whether saw palmetto or some other herb or medication was the cause. Saw palmetto also has the potential to interact with some medications including birth control pills and herbs and medications that thin the blood. If you plan on taking saw palmetto extract for an enlarged prostate, see your doctor first to make sure you're a good candidate. If you take it, your doctor can watch you closely for any side effects.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of purity, strength, or safety of the products. As a result, effects may vary. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking a supplement as supplements may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking a supplement. Consult a healthcare provider if you experience side effects.