Saw Palmetto [berries (1) broken]
Usage / Preparation
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Serenoa repens, Sabal serrulatum, Saw palmetto, Palmier de l’ Amerique du Nord, Sagepalme, Zwergpalme, Palmetto di Florida, Zaagpalmbes.
Sabal serrulata, also known as Serenoa repens and more commonly Saw Palmetto is a small palm found commonly in the Southeastern United States. It is a fan palm of the Arecaceae family that grows to be about 2m in height. It is particularly known for its large (30mm) fruits or "berries". Saw Palmetto is a common source of food and shelter for a variety of animals and insects of the Southeastern United States making it an ecologically important plant. Saw palmetto fruits have been reported to have been eaten by American natives for centuries. Today it is an economically important crop because of its supposed medicinal properties (1).
Seronoa repens is listed as a Traditional North American medicine and Traditional European medicine. Seronoa repens and its extracts is mentioned in various pharmacopoeias, it has a positive monograph by the German Commission E., a monograph in the World Health Organization volume 2, and in the U.S. is sold as a dietary supplement. (2)
The seed oil is an abundant source of short chain fatty acids and their glycerides. The major one being lauric acid. The fruit is also a rich source of phytosterols such as sitosterol, campesterol, and cycloartenol (2).
Saw palmetto has a long history of human use both as a food crop and medicinal herb. The fruits were a common food source for natives of the Southeastern United States. In the 1800’s the first description of its medicinal use came into being. (1). Even today the fruits of Saw Palmetto are widely used to support the health of the prostate and the urinary tract. 2-4 g of dried fruits or equivalent tincture helps maintain a good function of the prostate and supports peak urinary flow. (3)
Saw palmetto is for the most part stemless and grows to be about 2 meters in height. It has fan shaped leaves with teeth along the edges of the stalk. It forms clusters of small flowers with form fruits that can reach up to 30mm in length. The berries turn black as they mature (2).
(1) George W. Tanner, J. Jeffrey Mullahey and David Maehr. "Saw-palmetto: An Ecologically and Economically Important Native Palm". Circular WEC-109. University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service. (July 1996).
(2) Ben-Erik van Wyk, Michael Wink. "Medicinal Plants of the World". Timber Press, 2004.
(3) BHC 2006 p.345-52; BHP 1996 p.166-7; Canadian government (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/alt_formats/hpfb-dgpsa/pdf/prodnatur/mono_sawpalmetto-palmiernain_e.pdf); Commission E monograph; ESCOP monograph; Hager Drogen P-Z p. 681-7; WHO monograph.
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Broken Saw Palmetto berries, wild-cultivated in the United States.
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