The fruits of the saw palmetto are highly enriched with fatty acids and phytosterols, and extracts of the fruits have been the subject of intensive research for the treatment of urinary tract problems.
Historical use of saw palmetto can be traced in the Americas to the Mayans who used it as a tonic, and to the Seminoles who took the berries as an expectorant and antiseptic.
Saw palmetto was listed in the United States Pharmacopeia from 1906 to 1917, and in the National Formulary from 1926 to 1950. Saw palmetto extract is a licensed product in several European countries.
Beta-Sitosterol is the active plant sterol ingredient found initially in saw palmetto berries. Saw Palmetto itself contains a small amount of beta-sitosterol in comparison to the amount of beta-sitiosterol that is made available by manufacturers of beta-sitosterol. It is said that the amount of saw palmetto capsules required to achieve 300 mg of Beta-sitosterol would be in the hundreds.
Saw palmetto is not an effective remedy for enlarged prostate based upon information published by: Bent S, Kane C, et al. "Saw palmetto for benign prostatic hyperplasia." New England Journal of Medicine, 2006; 354:557-66.
From: ABC News
By: SIRI E. NILSSON
February 8, 2006
"Saw palmetto, an over-the-counter herbal therapy used by more than 2 million men for symptoms of an enlarged prostate, may be no more effective than a placebo, according to a study published in this week's issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
The study followed 225 men who had moderate-to-severe symptoms of an enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. Half of the men were given saw palmetto extract twice a day, and half were given an inactive medication, or placebo.
At the end of one year, the men taking saw palmetto showed no significant improvement in their symptoms, nor did the placebo group."
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