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Saw Palmetto Berry, (Serenoa repens (syn. S. serrulata)) Cut and Sifted Bulk
Arecaceae (Palm Family)
The genus name Serenoa was given in honor of American botanist Sereno Watson (1826-1892). The species name, repens, is Latin for "creeping."
Range of Appearance
Saw palmetto is a small evergreen palm native to the southeastern United States. It grows to about 6 to 10 feet in height. Its leaves have fifteen to thirty divisions, with sharp edges like a saw, that branch out in a fanlike shape, radiating from a central point. The flowers are whitish green with three to five petals. The reddish to dark purple berries resemble black olives and have a hard brown seed within. Be careful when harvesting this plant from the wild, as its native habitat is often also habitat for diamondback rattlesnakes.
Alterative, anabolic, antiandrogenic, anticatarrhal, antiestrogenic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aperient, aphrodisiac, decongestant, diuretic, expectorant, galactagogue, muscle-building tonic, nutritive, phytoestrogenic, rejuvenative, restorative, sedative (in small amounts), stimulant, thyroid tonic, urinary antiseptic, uterine tonic, yang tonic, yin tonic
Saw palmetto was an official herb in the United States Pharmacopoeia from 1905 to 1926 and the National Formulary from 1926 to 1950. Its berry prevents the development of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) by increasing the breakdown and elimination of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is thought to promote cellular growth in the prostate; the berry inhibits the production of the enzyme testosterone- 5-alpha-reductase, which converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and also inhibits DHT from adhering to the receptor sites. Saw palmetto berry also strengthens the reproductive organs, prevents atrophy of the genitals and bladder tissue, enhances sexual arousal, and reduces inflammation. Saw palmetto is used in the treatment of acne (cystic), asthma, bronchitis, cancer, catarrh, colds (head colds), cough, cystitis, dysuria, epididymitis, erectile dysfunction, failure to thrive, genital atrophy, hirsuitism, HIV, incontinence, irregular menses, low libido, low sperm count, malabsorption of food, migraine, mucous-membrane inflammation, nocturia (excessive nighttime urination), polyuria, premature ejaculation, prostatitis, orchitis, sexual debility, sore throat, urinary infection, urinary hesitancy, and wasting diseases. It also can be used to encourage convalescence, enhance breast size, and possibly initiate sexual maturation when it has been slow to start. Saw palmetto berries also can be mixed with cocoa butter and used as a bolus to treat uterine or vaginal problems.
Native Americans of the southern United States, especially the Seminole, have long used the berries as a food source. They have also used them to create a fermented beverage that was considered a love tonic. Animals that eat the berries grow plump. The "hearts" at the base of the leaf stalks can be cut out and eaten raw. The bases of the terminal buds can also be prepared as a vegetable.
Various parts of the plant, including the leaves and stems, have been used to make roof thatching, baskets, mattresses, hats, scrub brushes, and paper.
Carotene, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, essential oil, fatty acids (caproic, capric, lauric, oleic, palmitic, stearic, myristic), tannin, phytosterols (beta-sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol), polysaccharides, dextrose, resins
Avoid during pregnancy and while nursing, at least until further research has been done to ascertain its safety during these times. Mild gastrointestinal disturbances are a rare side effect.
Plant details were provided by iPlant by Brigitte Mars.
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