- Alternative & Natural Medicine
What You Must Know About Saw Palmetto as a Herbal Treatment for Prostate Disease
Saw Palmetto as the Herbal Treatment for Prostate Disease
What is Saw Palmetto
Saw Palmetto is one of the most widely used herbs. It is used for symptoms of benign prostate hyperplasia. The plant has many names including Sabal serrulata and sabal. Its proper scientific name is Serenoa repens. The plant stands an average height of ten to twenty feet when fully grown. It is a palm with fan-shaped configuration and saw-teethed leaves. It grows in the Caribbean and the southeastern United States.
The Active Ingredients in Saw Palmetto
For almost half a century it has been used in Europe for symptoms related to the aging prostate gland (a disease called benign prostatic hyperplasia). It is now considered a standard first line treatment in the European continent. Its use outside Europe is rapidly increasing and its popularity has lately spread to North America, Australia and even Asia. When used as a herbal medicine, an extract is made of the berries of the plant. This extract is rich in sterols and fatty acids. Sterols are molecules similar in structure to the notorious cholesterol and hormones derived from cholesterol. Fatty acids are usuallly found in meats and some plant. They are the active biochemical components in the extract. The use and effects of Saw Palmetto for benign prostatic hyperplasia has been studied for years in patients as well as in the laboratory. There is abundant evidence about its efficacy as a medicinal herb, as well as some initial scientific information regarding the biochemical mechanisms by which it works.
The Europeans' Favorite Prostate Treatment
In Europe, and notably in Germany, herbal remedies are often preferred to pharmaceutical preparations. Even though the same cannot be said in the other continents, there has been a established trend towards using herbal medicine to treat mild prostate symptoms. The herb’s relative lack of side effects has contributed to this rising popularity.
Beware of Wrong Diagnosis
Even though the herb can be purchased over the counter or at health supplement stores, a firm diagnosis of benign prostatic hyperplasia by a medical practitioner should be made before a patient starts to treat himself. This is because the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia and other more serious urological conditions including bladder cancer, bladder stone and cystitis, exhibit considerable overlap. Misdiagnosis and delay in treatment of the latter conditions can lead to diastrous consequences.
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