Serenoa Repens, more commonly known as Saw Palmetto, is a plant traditionally used in herbal medicine.
It has been used in the treatment of a host of conditions, most namely benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and has been shown to some degree to be effective in treating this condition giving a mild to moderate improvement in urinary symptoms and flow. It is also reportedly useful as a nerve sedative and reportedly beneficial for the digestive tract while improving appetite, digestion and assimilation.
Saw Palmetto inhibits both forms of 5 alpha reductase and therefore has also been linked to possible benefits with regards to Male Pattern Baldness, although there appears to be no definitive data to prove this. It also purportedly blocks receptor sites on cell membranes required for cells to absorb DHT.
Saw palmetto is considered safe for most people. Side effects are usually mild. Some people have reported dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea. Some concerns have been raised over libido or impotence issues, however, these side effects have been reversed once administration of the herb has ceased. These symptoms also do not seem to occur any more often with saw palmetto than with a placebo.
Saw palmetto seems to decrease estrogen levels in the body. Taking saw palmetto along with estrogen pills might decrease the effectiveness of estrogen pills. Saw palmetto might also be deemed an anti-coagulant and slow down blood clotting.
Saw Palmetto is taken in tablet/capsule form of usually between 320mg or 450 mg daily, although up to 2000mg is deemed safe to take. The lower dosage, however, being the normal range for hair loss treatment.