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Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Saw Palmetto
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Saw palmetto is a type of palm tree that grows in the southeastern United States.
The berry of the saw palmetto plant contains a compound that may reduce the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. Symptoms of an enlarged prostate include dribbling after urination and getting up many times during the night to urinate. Some people also use it for chronic pelvic pain, hair loss, migraine, and other conditions.
From the 1870s until 1950, saw palmetto was a common treatment for prostate and other urinary problems. After 1950, saw palmetto was no longer recognized as a drug in the United States. It is still used in Europe as a treatment for BPH.
In the United States, saw palmetto is available as a dietary supplement.
Saw palmetto is most often used for symptoms of an enlarged prostate (BPH). Experts disagree on whether saw palmetto improves symptoms of BPH.
Few problems have been reported among men taking saw palmetto. But some people may experience stomach problems.
Men who have problems urinating should see a doctor to rule out prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is treatable, but treatment may be more successful when you find and treat the cancer as early as possible.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements in the same way it regulates medicines. A dietary supplement can be sold with limited or no research on how well it works.
Always tell your doctor if you are using a dietary supplement or if you are thinking about combining a dietary supplement with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on a dietary supplement.
When using dietary supplements, keep in mind the following:
Current as of:
March 17, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: March 17, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
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