The palmetto shrub is a small American palm. Its fruit resembles small dates and has been consumed for a long time in Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, and other states of southeastern America. Ancient native inhabitants of the region already knew the medicinal properties and even used its fruit as an aphrodisiac. Recently some fascinating active components have been discovered in the fruit, which is part of several pharmaceutical preparations.
Palmetto Shrub Scientific Facts
- Scientific synonyms: Sabal serrulata Schult.
- Other names: Saw palmetto.
- French: Serenoa.
- Spanish: Sabal, serenoa, palmerita.
- Environment: Sandy soils and coastal regions of southwestern United States, especially Florida. It also grows in some Central American areas.
- Description: Palm of the Palmaceae family, growing up to 3 m high, with ivory-colored flowers. The fruit is date-like, around 2 cm long, which is blackish when ripe.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The fruit when ripe.
Healing Properties and Indications
After being dissolved in a fatty environment, the fatty extract obtained from the fruit of the palmetto shrub contains several phytosterols, especially beta-sitosterol, a triterpenic alcohol (cycloartenol), and fatty aliphatic alcohols of high molecular weight, all of them with anti-inflammatory properties on the prostate. Their action mechanism is of hormonal type and prevents the proliferation of androgens in prostate tissues.
- Prostate. The use of saw palmetto is helpful for prostatic hypertrophy or adenoma. It stops prostate gland enlargement and notably reduces the significant discomforts of the prostatic syndrome: dysuria (difficulty to urinate), pollakiuria (urge to urinate often), and vesicle tenesmus (permanent sensation of desire to urinate). It is also recommended for prostatitis, both acute and chronic.
- Diuretic. Besides its antiprostatic properties, this plant mildly promotes diuresis. It also has mild pectoral properties.
How to use Palmetto
- Ripe fresh fruit. An amount of 50-100 g per day can be consumed.
- Decoction of fruit. 50-100 g per day.
- Extracts which are part of several pharmaceutical preparations.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 610. Print. [palmetto shrub]