The Natural Way

Wednesday, January 8, 2003

When I was a kid tromping around the Everglades I was careful to step around the Saw Palmetto plant. It wasn't for the reason of protecting the hardy plant, which is in the palm family, but because the Diamondback Rattlesnake would often wrap itself under the low fronds and be very difficult to see. Little did I know then the benefit promised by those odd looking berries the Saw Palmetto produced.

Saw Palmetto (Seronoa repens) is a well-studied, long-used herbal. The old ones would make a tea of the berries or simply chew them. These days we have standardized tablets or capsules, which swallow better and avoid the bitter taste. It was used for and has been medically proven as beneficial for irritable bladder in both men and women, as well as for reducing the size of an enlarged prostate gland. The medical comparative studies were well done and very strong -- gaining approval for use by the German Commission E.

The technical explanation is complex and well understood. The herb causes a blocking of certain byproduct steroids that are naturally produced in men. This in turn leads to preventing the buildup of the steroid and that decreases the chances and effect of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

BPH creates symptoms of having to urinate frequently with urgency, though very little urine is released from the bladder. This is particular bothersome at nighttime. Use of Saw Palmetto results in more normal urination with a much stronger stream. The herb also lowers the ability of estrogen to lock in. This is beneficial to both men and women as we get older.

The herb contains antispasmodics to reduce the irritability of that cranky bladder. If you've ever had a cranky bladder or knew someone who did, then you know what a Godsend this is. Just imagine driving from Springdale arguing with a cranky bladder just as you reach the Leatherwood curves... get the idea?

Saw Palmetto is used topically to regrow hair in both men and women for the same reasons I've already mentioned. The dosage of a standardized product is around 300mg/day. Whole herb is different. A good product will also include Pygeum and Pumpkin Oil.

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