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Using Saw Palmetto for Enlarged Prostate

by Ron Kurtus (revised 5 January 2016)

You may be able to use saw palmetto to relieve an enlarged prostate gland.

As most men get older, their prostate gland enlarges, often resulting in urination problems such as having to go several times at night. Although there are medications to relieve the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, taking saw palmetto may be a natural or herbal alternative.

The extract from the saw palmetto plant is usually taken in capsule form. Although evidence is mixed on its effectiveness, it might be worth trying.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions. Health Disclaimer

Urination problems from prostate gland

The prostate gland in most men can become enlarged as they get older. The medical name for it is benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH).

One symptom of an enlarged prostate gland is that you may have to urinate often, especially at night. There are other symptoms—some more serious—but we are mainly concerned with the urination problem right now.

As the prostate gland enlarges, it can partially obstruct the urine flow or cause pressure on the bladder that increases the urge to go. Also, an enlarged prostate can prevent all of the urine from leaving the bladder, resulting in the need to urinate again in a short while.

Interestingly enough, the size of the prostate gland is not a predictor of the symptoms that you may experience, but it is factor.

Natural solution

Physicians and urologists often prescribe medications or drugs for BPH or an enlarged prostate to prevent the annoying urination problems. A natural alternative is taking saw palmetto capsules.

What is saw palmetto?

Saw palmetto, also known as Serenoa repens or Sabal serrulatum, is an herb that is commonly used to treat problems related to BPH. The active component of saw palmetto is taken from the fruit of the American dwarf palm tree.

What does it do?

Saw palmetto is best known for its use in decreasing symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Studies suggest that saw palmetto lowers the levels of several male sex hormones, which can reduce the need to urinate in the night and improve urinary flow and painful urination.

Multiple studies concluded that saw palmetto produced similar benefit to finasteride, a drug for enlarged prostate, and was better tolerated.

How much do you take?

The usual recommended dosage of saw palmetto is 160 mg twice daily or 320 mg once daily. You can purchase saw palmetto capsules at most stores selling supplements or online through

How long for it to work?

It may take four to six weeks for saw palmetto to have a noticeable effect.

What are side effects?

The primary side effect occurring in humans is an upset stomach, which is mild and can be minimized by taking saw palmetto with food.

There are no known drug interactions with saw palmetto and reported side effects are minor and rare. No data on its long-term usage is available.

Effectiveness of saw palmetto

There are conflicting reports about the benefits of saw palmetto for prostate symptoms.

Some research states that saw palmetto might modestly improve symptoms such as having urinate often at night. But other research seems to indicate that saw palmetto has little or no benefit for reducing these symptoms. Any benefit is modest at best.

On the other hand, medications for prostate symptoms also vary in effectiveness from one person to another.


An enlarged prostate gland often results in urination problems, such as having to go several times at night. A natural remedy may be taking saw palmetto. The extract from the saw palmetto plant is usually taken in capsule form. Although evidence is mixed on its effectiveness, it might be worth trying.

Of course, you should consult with your physician to find the best course of action.

Know your body

Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


Order Saw Palmetto Online - from

Saw palmetto - MedlInePlus

Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens, Serenoa serrulata) - Mayo Clinic

Saw Palmetto - WebMD

Saw Palmetto for Prostate Disorders - American Family Physician

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