Saw Palmetto is one plant that you are sure to have at least heard about if you have searched for natural remedies for hair loss. The reason why hair loss remedies are so popular is that no one wants to be bald. Even having thin hair can make many feel self-conscious and depressed.
Because of this popularity, there are many hair loss treatments that are fake and falsified. These usually tell you all about how amazing a certain product is, and then end with telling you to buy it from them.
This can make almost all hair loss treatments seem suspicious, and a little suspicion is a good thing. Saw Palmetto may have been slightly exaggerated, but it really can do wonders for your hair. Before I go into depth on exactly what this plant can do for you, let’s see what saw palmetto is.
About Saw Palmetto
Saw palmetto, less frequently known as serenoa of serenoa repens, is a type of palm tree. Its maximum height being 7–10ft., it is neither the tallest nor the shortest palm. It is, however, the only one classified in the serenoa genus.
The saw palmetto tree comes from the subtropical Southeastern United States, mostly along the coasts, in plains, and in sandy areas. Palmettos like company, and so are often found in clumps or dense thickets, sometimes even as undergrowth for pine or other taller trees.
This tree grows very slowly but lives for a long time, some examples of it growing for hundreds of years. Of course, that is only with the right conditions, but it is very hardy in most cases.
The leaves of the saw palmetto look pretty much exactly how you probably expect palm leaves to look. These 3ft. fan leaves do have spines on them, which means you must wear protection when working with the plant.
The flowers of the saw palmetto are white with a slightly yellowish tint and grow in clusters. The fruit that follows is a large reddish-black drupe, and it is this part that has the most uses. When you see a product that has saw palmetto in it, it is most likely the fruit of the plant.
Native Americans used this type of palm for many things. It went into making their homes with the leaves, and the fruit may have even been used by them in a certain case of mild food poisoning.
Today, saw palmetto has had many studies done on it to see if it helps with all sorts of things. The three most common of these are prostate cancer, urinary tract symptoms, and hair loss. This palm is showing promise for other things too.
What Saw Palmetto Does
Saw palmetto is used to treat and to help all sorts of problems and medical conditions. Whether this palm actually helps with some of these or not is up for debate, but it is worth trying. Some remedies that saw palmetto is used for seem quite random, but most are connected in some way.
For starters, saw palmetto helps with bladder infections, prostate cancer, enlarged prostate problems, and a decreased sex drive are all linked to one very specific area. A couple of these affect men more, but saw palmetto has also been tested on men more.
Still, saw palmetto can be helpful with a number of both reproductive and urinary issues. Remember, it is your urinary system that is part of what helps get toxins and things out of your body. So, essentially, saw palmetto is also good for those who want to detox or who have things they wish to get out of their system.
Next, this plant also helps with inflammation a little. Inflammation is sometimes caused by too many toxins, so this is more of a beneficial side effect than a direct help. Even so, any inflammation that sticks around is bad for your body in far too many ways to list.
So, any assistance getting rid of said inflammation is equally good. Finally, the last, more random things that saw palmetto can potentially help with include acne, the prevention of the growth of cancer cells, and a few others.
For Your Hair
Saw palmetto has a ton of ways that it can benefit your hair. The reason why saw palmetto is causing such a stir in the hair loss circles is for one reason in particular. This is the DHT blocking ability that this plant has.
Considering the fact that androgenetic alopecia affects so many people, both men and women, having a treatment option like saw palmetto is a great help. Other types of non-genetic hair loss are much easier to treat, more often than not.
Testosterone is the main culprit of genetic hair loss, interacting with an enzyme known as 5 alpha-reductase (5AR). This turns it into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which blocks up the cells of your scalp, suffocating them and leading to hair loss.
So, when saw palmetto inhibits the activity of 5AR, thereby preventing your testosterone from being converted to DHT, that is a huge help for your hair. But saw palmetto even does more than that in its fight against DHT.
The other thing saw palmetto does is it blocks the receptors of your follicles from being open to DHT. This means that the DHT that is still made by your body can’t latch onto your follicles. In some cases, saw palmetto can even go the extra mile and unblock cells that have been blocked up.
This allows the follicle to start growing hair again in that spot. Though it takes a while for saw palmetto to get in your system enough to make these changes—usually between two and four months for most—the results of it can be remarkable.
Finally, saw palmetto’s slight help with inflammation and your overall health also helps your hair. Inflammation is a well-known hair killer, after all, all by itself.
Cautions Of Saw Palmetto
Even great things are never perfect, and saw palmetto is the same in this respect. While the daily dose of palmetto is 1000mg to 2000mg two times daily, using more than that will put you at risk for side effects.
All in all, the possible side effects of saw palmetto are rarely very serious. Unlike some other herbs people take medicinally, saw palmetto has no trace of toxicity. Still, with saw palmetto, there are a few you should keep a lookout for.
Mild headaches, nausea, a slightly upset stomach, and similar temporary mild discomforts are uncommon but possible. Stomach pains are more common when the saw palmetto is taken internally without food, so it is sometimes avoidable. Though I didn’t see anyone claiming an allergy to saw palmetto, this is possible.
Next, saw palmetto does have some properties that make it thin your blood a little. Like with any other natural blood thinner, you should never take it before surgeries or with any other blood thinner. Liver damage, vertigo, pancreatitis, and other things are suspected in rare cases, but not proven.
Saw palmetto also affects your hormones in a variety of ways. It can decrease sex drive instead of helping it, can interfere slightly with other hormones – such as hormone therapy – and can interfere with hormone-based contraceptives.
Saw palmetto can also interfere with a few medications. Though this interference has not been proven, being on the lookout is a good idea. Things like Finasteride that have the same effects should be avoided, or you may overdo it.
Finally, while there are no conclusive that saw palmetto is dangerous, there are also none that show it is safe for children, breastfeeding, and pregnant women. However, it is thought that, in pregnant women, it might prevent male babies from forming correctly.
How To Use Saw Palmetto
You can easily get saw palmetto in many different forms. As mentioned, the part of the palmetto plant you use is the fruit, and this gives you many options that other plants don’t have.
First, whole berries from the palmetto is a great place to start. Dried is easier to get but, if you live in the right area, fresh palmetto berries are possible to obtain. Either way, the palmetto berries can be eaten as a snack.
However, that said, palmetto berries don’t exactly have the most appealing taste. The dried berries supposedly have texture somewhat similar to cardboard. Even fresh, some say these berries taste like oily blue cheese, with a peppery aftertaste. Other descriptions of the taste are equally unflattering.
So, eating saw palmetto berries by themselves is possible, but it is not likely something you will want to try. The same goes for adding palmetto berries in smoothies, unless the other smoothie ingredients have enough flavor to overpower the unpleasant taste.
This is why saw palmetto is most often consumed, when it is consumed at all, in a pill form. Palmetto can be by itself or mixed with a variety of different herbs or vitamins in a supplement.
Palmetto comes in a lot of other forms as well. The liquid extract or oil of it can easily be added to hair masks, applied to your hair by itself, and brushed in. A few other less common saw palmetto forms are tea you can drink, creams you can apply topically, and a few other random things.
Topically or internally, saw palmetto is good for your hair. Feel free to use this plant in a combination of different ways to get the most out of it for your hair. Combining it with things that increase circulation is also helpful.
All in all, saw palmetto is a great plant that has been proven to be effective for helping minimize hair loss. True, saw palmetto won’t help for all causes of hair loss, but it can help a surprising amount. Even with the multitude of hair loss products, saw palmetto is still a good choice.
As something you can leave in your hair or take internally, this plant product is easy to work in with whatever else you are probably already doing or want to do with your hair.
On the scalp, it is directly to the point, but it can be washed away. Internally, it sticks around longer, but with a greater chance of side effects. Though saw palmetto does take longer than medications to work, it is much better for you.
There is, after all, a reason why saw palmetto was listed in 2019 in the Archives of Dermatological Research as one of the best plants for alopecia. All the more reason saw palmetto is something you should try for yourself.
You can also try out saw palmetto in other great products like Folexin, which has some saw palmetto mixed with a variety of other things to help you get the most of it.