The berries of the saw palmetto plant have been used traditionally to enhance male urinary and reproductive health. Saw palmetto is a natural treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a common condition in men over 50. BPH can cause urinary problems and is a risk factor for prostate cancer.
Nearly every man over the age of 45 has some enlargement of the prostate gland, the small male sex glands that encircle the urethra. Enlargement and inflammation of the prostate can hinder urine flow and affect sexual function. Frequent nighttime urination, pain, burning and difficulty with urination are all symptoms of BPH. Conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone is a chemical reaction that contributes to prostate enlargement and its symptoms. Saw palmetto extract may inhibit this chemical reaction.
Although primarily used for prostate problems in men, this extract may also benefit women who have conditions caused by excess androgen, such as hirsutism (excess facial hair) and polycystic ovarian disease.