- Serenoa serrulata L.
- Palm family
Parts Usually Used
Description of Plant(s) and Culture
Saw palmetto is a low, shrubby plant grows to 6 feet; the trunk or
rootstock remains below the ground, producing palmate, green to white-coated
leaves on saw-toothed petioles. Has horizontal creeping stems above
ground. Leaves fanlike, with sword-shaped leaf blades radiating from
a central point. Flowers are whitish green, with 3-5 petals; May to
July. The olive-like, dark-purple to black fleshy berries, 1 inch
long, surrounding one large seed, grow in bunches or clusters, ripening
from October to December.
Found growing in dense stands along the Atlantic coast in Georgia
and Florida. Low pine woods, savannas, thickets. South Carolina, Georgia,
Florida to Alabama, Mississippi.
Antiseptic, cardiac, diuretic, expectorant, sedative, tonic
Essential oil, fatty oil, with capric, caprylic and lauric acids,
fatty acids, carotene, tannin, sitosterol invert sugar, estrogenic
The berries are particularly useful for conditions associated with
asthma, and bronchitis.
Catarrhal problems and mucous congestion respond to a tea made from
the dried berries. The tea has also been recommended as a general
tonic to build strength during convalescence from illness. Used
for colds, coughs, inflammations,
coughs, irritated mucous membranes,
tickling feeling in the throat, migraine.
A suppository of the powdered fruits in cocoa butter was used as a
uterine and vaginal tonic. Saw palmetto is considered by some to have
aphrodisiac powers. Said to improve prostate health (combined with
echinacea). Used to treat "honeymoon
cystitis" in females. Although the FDA does not recognize this
herb as an effective drug, in Germany it is sold over-the-counter
as a treatment for benign prostate problems. Benign prostate enlargement
can cause excessive urination in men, especially annoying at night.
Formulas or Dosages
Infusion: steep 1 tsp. dried berries in 1 cup water. Take
1-2 cups a day.
Tincture: a dose is from 30-60 drops.
Extract: mix 30 to 60 drops in liquid per day.
Fruit extracts, capsules, tablets, tincture.
Any man experiencing pain or swelling of the prostate, or has difficulty
urinating, or passes any blood in the urine, should be examined by
a medical physician ASAP.