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Serenoa repens

Serenoa repens                                       Common name: Saw Palmetto

Family: Arecaceae/Palmae

Part used: Berries

Constituents: Polysaccharides, steroids (beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol), fixed oils/free fatty acids (oleic, caprylic, lauric, palmitic, and stearic), flavonoids (rutin, kaempferol), VO, resins, tannins

Actions: Reproductive tonic (male & female), Adaptogen, anabolic & endocrine agent, urinary antiseptic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, anti-catarrhal, expectorant, nutritive, aphrodisiac, diuretic, antispasmodic

Medical uses: Indicated for BPH (prostatic enlargement). Acts to tone and strengthen the male reproductive system. May “boost” male sex hormones when required, and as considered an aphrodisiac will aid low libido, impotence, sex hormone disorders or deficiency or testicular atrophy. Is of great value in all infections of the genitourinary tract, and will strengthen the bladder in cases of urinary catarrh, bladder inflammation, dysuria, and chronic/subacute cystitis. Is also a tonic to the nervous system as a whole.

Pharmacology:

  • Polysaccharides are anti-inflammatory and immuno-stimulant
  • Inhibits 5-alpha reductase activity and therefore the conversion of testosterone to DHT
  • Liposterol extract inhibits prostatic growth and prolactin
  • Inhibits the binding of androgens (may not in alcoholic extracts)

Pharmacy: Dried fruit: 1/2-1g TID. Decoction of crushed berries: 1/2 tsp/cup, simmer 15 min, TID. Liposterol extract (LESP): ~160ml/2 caps QD. Tincture: (1:2, 45%), 1-2 ml TID. Note: May take 4-6 weeks to see effects.

Contraindications: None known.

Interactions: None reported. Caution with HRT, OCP, prostate cancer medications.

Toxicity: Mild GIT disturbance, vertigo, headache, itchiness. High concentration extracts may affect sperm motility.

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