It is not really a known plant in Nigeria, but those who take herbal supplements must have read about it in their prescription. Saw palmetto, or Serenoa repens, is a palm-like shrub or small tree native to the Southeastern United States. The plant, with its white flowers and berries, which is yellow in colour, turns blue-black when ripen. Native Americans, value the berries for their nutritional and medicinal benefits because it is used in the treatment of urinary and prostate problems.
Medical experts through their research, have discovered that Saw palmetto may have several health benefits for men as it may help treat benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, which is commonly known as an enlarged prostate. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, UMMC, the herb’s chemicals influence testosterone levels and reduce the enzyme that encourages prostate cell growth. Other scientists think it shrinks the actual size of the prostate. For example, the Mayo Clinic, a non-profit medical research group based in Rochester, Minnesota, USA, in its report, says that consuming Saw palmetto might benefit men undergoing prostate surgery by speeding recovery and reducing the risk of bleeding. While Saw palmetto seems to improve the overall health of the prostate, the Mayo Clinic notes that the supplement has no significant long-term effects on chronic pelvic pain syndrome or prostatitis, which is inflammation of the prostate.
Saw palmetto supplements come in capsule, dried berry, tincture and tablet forms. While most men can take it without any problem, it is noted that side effects may include dizziness, nausea, headaches, diarrhoea and constipation. Saw palmetto supplements sometimes interact with prescription BPH drugs and blood thinners, so it is advisable to talk to the doctor before its usage.