Saw palmetto berries are a rich source of fat-soluble sterols (such as ß-sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol) plus antioxidant polyphenols, including flavonoids. Saw palmettoberries are a traditional herbal medicine to improve symptoms caused by enlargement of the prostate gland (benign prostate hyperplasia, or BPH) and prostate inflammation (prostatitis).
BPH causes two types of male lower urinary tract symptoms: obstructive or voiding symptoms and irritative or filling symptoms.
The obstructive symptoms of BPH include:
• Hesitancy (difficulty starting to urinate)
• Straining (having to force urine out)
• A weak urinary stream
• Stopping and starting mid-flow
• Dribbling of urine after voiding
• Urinary retention (inability to completely empty the bladder)
The irritative symptoms of BPH include:
• Urgency (a sudden need to go to the toilet)
• Nocturia (waking to pass urine at night)
• Urinary discomfort
• Urinary incontinence
• A feeling of not having emptied the bladder fully.
Saw palmetto berry extracts are most effective against the irritative prostate symptoms, especially nocturia, which are often more troublesome than the obstructive symptoms.
Clinical trials have found that Saw palmetto usually takes around six weeks for benefits to become noticeable.