Herb: Saw Palmetto
Latin name: Serenoa repens
Synonyms: Sabal serrulata
Medicinal use of Saw Palmetto:Saw palmetto berries are a tonic herb that is used in the treatment of debility, urinary tract problems and for reducing enlarged prostate glands. The partially dried ripe fruit is aphrodisiac, urinary antiseptic, diuretic, expectorant, sedative and tonic. It is taken internally in the treatment of impotence, debility in elderly men, prostate enlargement and inflammation, bronchial complaints associated with coldness, and wasting diseases. Saw palmetto is one of the few Western herbs that are considered to be anabolic (strengthening and building body tissue and encouraging weight gain). The fruit pulp, or a tincture, is given to those suffering from wasting disease, general debility and failure to thrive. The fruit also has a beneficial effect on the urinary system, helping to reduce the size of an enlarged prostate gland and strengthening the neck of the bladder. The fruit has a probable oestrogenic action, it is prescribed in the treatment of impotence, reduced or absent sex drive and testicular atrophy in men and to stimulate breast enlargement in women. The fruit is also used in the treatment of colds, coughs, irritated mucous membranes, asthma etc. A suppository of the powdered fruits, in cocoa butter, has been used as a uterine and vaginal tonic.
Description of the plant:
(9 3/4 foot)
Habitat of the herb:Low pine woods, savannahs and thickets, where it often forms substantial thickets. Also found on coastal sand dunes.
Edible parts of Saw Palmetto:Fruit - raw or cooked. A sweet flavour but with a soapy taste and a strong vanilla-like aroma. Regular consumption of the fruit is supposed to be very beneficial to the health, improving the digestion and helping to increase weight and strength. Seed - raw or cooked.
Other uses of the herb:The leaf stems have been used in making baskets. The plant has been used to make brushes and cordage.
Propagation of Saw Palmetto:The seed is best sown in a warm greenhouse as soon as it is ripe. It usually germinates freely. Stored seed is more difficult to germinate, it should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in warm water before sowing in a warm greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first two winters. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Although the plant forms suckers, these do not usually transplant well and so seed is the only sure method of propagation.
Cultivation of the herb:Low pine woods, savannahs and thickets, where it often forms substantial thickets. Also found on coastal sand dunes.
Known hazards of Serenoa repens:None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.