Uses of Saw Palmetto
While saw palmetto is most commonly used for treating prostate problems, it can also be used for other conditions. For example, it may be used for the treatment of nonbacterial prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome, hair loss, acne, and low sex drive. Of all the possible uses, however, only enlarged prostate treatment has convincing scientific evidence proving the supplement's effectiveness.
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is an herbal supplement most often used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as an enlarged prostate. In addition to this use, saw palmetto is sometimes claimed to be useful for the following conditions:
- Nonbacterial prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (problems caused by long-term inflammation of the prostate not caused by bacteria)
- Prostate cancer
- Hair loss (known medically as alopecia)
- Low sex drive
Of all the possible uses for saw palmetto, only enlarged prostate treatment has convincing scientific evidence supporting this use. As with many supplements, claims for the benefits of saw palmetto are sometimes exaggerated, and these claims must be evaluated critically. In addition, it is essential to remember that natural products should not be used carelessly, as many can be quite toxic (for instance, many poisons are natural products).
Even though there is little scientific evidence supporting the use of saw palmetto for hair loss, it may work for this use, based on the way that the supplement works. In particular, saw palmetto may work for male pattern baldness.
There is little reason to believe that saw palmetto would work for a low sex drive. In fact, it may actually decrease sex drive, based on the way it works.