You Thought You Knew Saw Palmetto?? Here are More Potential Uses
Saw Palmetto is commonly known as a remedy for BPH, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia and other male uro-genital issues. While the research is still on going and further consensus regarding efficacy when Saw Palmetto is used to treat BPH, several other and less well known actions of Saw Palmetto have emerged. There has been little research done on the actions of the varying forms of the medicinals, whether they are tinctures, powder, raw or processed. That being said, there is room for further study, but some very promising uses for Saw Palmetto are coming forth.
The first rather unusual use is in the inhibition and dispersal of bacterial biofilms. A study published in the June 2021 issue of Microbial Biotechnology revealed that the oil of Saw Palmetto berries inhibited the formation of bacteria and fungi. This particular study showed that the particular microbes the Saw Palmetto Oil blocked from forming the biofilms were Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and the fungus Candida albicans. When it comes to chronic disease and depressed immune function, this action of preventing biofilms is very helpful. The three microbes mentioned are opportunistic and oftentimes come about when there is suppression of immune function as seen in many chronic illnesses. Some examples would be: Chronic Lyme Disease, Myalgic Encephalomyopathy, Chronic viral illnesses and most cancers.
It is encouraging that there is a potentially expansive use for Saw Palmetto Oil. While there are other herbs and products that could pair with Saw Palmetto for this use, the side effects of the majority of these herbs can cause digestive disruption and side effects of possible nausea, malaise and difficulty digesting certain foods. Saw Palmetto has less of a risk of these side effects and is considered innocuous when it comes to it’s safety and usage.
Another study that was done by the University Hospital of Zurich opened the door to the possibility that Saw Palmetto has the action to cause apoptosis of cancer cells. In other words, the Saw Palmetto functions to kill cancer cells in most cancers except Lung cancer. It worked especially well in hormone sensitive cancers like breast and prostate cancers. While this is encouraging, there is still a great deal of research and evidence needed to create a scientifically sound argument for the use of Saw Palmetto for this purpose. However, it is encouraging and promising that this powerful, beautiful berry has these properties.
The above two potential actions of Saw Palmetto could explain another action that researchers have claimed about the berry. There has been some evidence that Saw Palmetto could be immune modulating. If indeed the above functions are solidly proven and substantiated, it would be a logical progression that the berry also be an immune modulator. It is claimed by a study in 2007, when Saw Palmetto was compared to other herbs, it actually activated macrophages and natural killer cells. The study was a small scale study, but achieved the goal of opening the door to many other possible uses of Saw Palmetto.
Hopefully in the future, we will see more research and study done to expand the actions of Saw Palmetto even further. While the fatty acids and plant sterols are generally healthy and beneficial, it would be fascinating to see even more uses that we are currently unaware of. People taking Saw Palmetto for alopecia, BPH and other urogenital issues, may soon discover that this single ingredient supplement has helped them with a great deal more than what they took it for.