Saw Palmetto- The multifunctional

From being used as a diuretic (promoting urine production) to being used as a sedative (promoting relaxation) and then, as an aphrodisiac (enhancing sexual drive), saw palmetto means different things to different people. While the American Indians take it as food and medicine, the Seminoles use the berries as expectorant and the Mayans take it as tonic.

Saw palmetto is a small palm tree with maximum height of 7-10 feet. It is common in the coastal regions of the South-eastern United States and the West Indies. Its fruits are enriched with phytosterols and fatty acids.

Saw palmetto extract is a remedy for the treatment of benign prostate hypertrophy; it acts by blocking the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. Dihydrotestosterone is important for the enlargement of the prostate. It alleviates difficult and painful urination. It also acts as an expectorant: granting relief from cough, acute catarrh etc by loosening mucus in the lungs.

It lowers the levels of several hormones that can affect prostate cancer. However, while the American Cancer Society does not support claims that Saw palmetto can prevent or treat prostate cancer, the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests otherwise1.

Saw palmetto boosts appetite and aids digestion. It may reduce blood clotting, so should not be taken with blood thinners.

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