Can Saw Palmetto Treat an Enlarged Prostate?

by Ben Ong
Reading Time: 8 minutes

saw palmetto prostate

What is Saw Palmetto?

Saw Palmetto is a low-growing plant that looks kind of like a palm tree. It produces tiny flowers as well as small berries. The flower itself is of little medicinal benefit, but the berries are largely used in prostate supplements.

This is not a new development. For centuries, berries have been used to treat lots of medical issues.

Nowadays saw palmetto is a widely-recognized treatment for the prostate. This is because saw palmetto contains beta-sitosterol, a substance found to be effective in the treatment of BPH. Beta- sitosterol works to inhibit the activity of an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase, which is a key trigger in the development of BPH and prostate cancer.

Flomax and other common prostate drugs were designed to mimic the way beta-sitosterol works. In fact, these drugs are called 5-alpha-reductase-inhibitor drugs because of it! Significantly, saw palmetto also reduces your level of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone is one of the main causes of prostatitis (inflamed prostate) and BPH (enlarged prostate).

Although beta-sitosterol is the main active ingredient in saw palmetto, some supplements like the well-known Total Health of the Prostate do not include saw palmetto. Instead, its formula uses an extract of the active ingredient, beta-sitosterol. This is to provide a higher concentration of the most active biochemical.

Having said that, saw palmetto is a complex herb that contains many other nutrients which have their own powerful effects.

saw palmetto prostate

How Does It Work?

It’s important to note that palmetto doesn’t shrink the overall size of the prostate. It seems to shrink the inner lining that puts pressure on the tubes which carry urine. This was proven during a study which measured changes in men’s prostate tissues after six months of taking 320mg of saw palmetto every day. It was shown that saw palmetto reduced swelling in the inner lining of the prostate gland which surrounds the urethra.

Other studies have demonstrated similarly positive effects.

During a Chinese study, saw palmetto was given to 165 BPH patients for a period of 3 months. The dose was small (160mg), yet the symptom score of the patients improved significantly after only 6 weeks. It got even better at the 12-week mark. The patients could urinate with a fuller stream. They also had less feelings of retention.

In France, a small saw palmetto extract was shown to reduce the inflammation of the prostate. And in South Korea, scientists tested saw palmetto with a medication for BPH called tamsulosin. The combined treatment, they found, was more effective than with the medication alone.

When saw palmetto shrinks the prostate lining, the most pronounced effects are improved urinary flow speed and a reduced need to urinate at night. These are also 2 of the most common symptoms of BPH. Both of them can significantly affect one’s quality of life.

How does Saw Palmetto Vary?

saw palmetto prostateMost men will have heard about saw palmetto for treating the prostate. It is one of the most well-known and best-branded nutrients for the prostate. But it does vary considerably in its quality and strength. A quick search on Amazon showed many thousands of supplements with saw palmetto as its main ingredient. The price per bottle varied from $5.12 to $129.99.

How can there be such an enormous difference in price for the same ingredient?

That’s because saw palmetto is a natural plant. It is grown in different parts of the world, and there are many subspecies that all fall under the name of saw palmetto. Just as coffee grown in Brazil is very different to coffee grown in Thailand, all natural products have varying qualities depending upon their origin.

It’s also worth noting that manufacturers use different parts of the plant. They use different processes to extract from parts of the plant which are less nutrient dense, and so less effective…and ultimately, less expensive. But regardless of wherever the plant comes from, or which part of the plant is used, or how it has been extracted, it is all described packaged under the same name: saw palmetto.

In other words, there are hundreds of different types of saw palmetto on the market. And even though they are given the same name, they are certainly not the same thing. And its effect on men will also vary enormously. Does anyone really think that a bottle of saw palmetto sold at $5.12 will produce the same beneficial result as a bottle sold at $129.99?

Can Saw Palmetto Treat an Enlarged Prostate?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the most common form of an enlarged prostate. As men get older, the prostate gets bigger and inflamed (prostatitis). Its large size puts pressure on the urethra. This leads to horrible symptoms such as retention, difficult or painful urination, and bladder infections.

As we get older, our hormone levels change and rebalance in our bodies. There are many different causes for this, but what is certain are the effects these changes have on the prostate. Increased levels of estrogen, of DHT, lower levels of testosterone, all contribute to an increased prostate size.

Yet evidence suggests that saw palmetto is able to balance hormone levels, and as such, treat an enlarged prostate.

A 2012 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine analyzed 82 patients with enlarged prostates in the course of 8 weeks. The patients took 320 milligrams of saw palmetto every day. Using the International Prostate Symptom Score, they evaluated its effects. At the end of the treatment, they found scores reduced from 14.4 ± 4.7 to 6.9 ± 5.2.

Can Saw Palmetto Cure Prostate Cancer?

saw palmetto prostateThough there’s not enough evidence to show that it can cure prostate cancer, it can certainly help prevent it.

A 2007 study that was done at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Beijing found that saw palmetto stops the growth of prostate cancer cells.

Saw palmetto supplements work as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, just like Finasteride (Proscar) and Dutasteride (Avodart). Studies showed that men taking these inhibitors were less likely to develop prostate cancer.

This is because they all have some anti-inflammatory effects, and inflammation is always the precursor to cancer.

What are the Side Effects of Taking Saw Palmetto?

Years of research has never revealed any major side effects caused by saw palmetto. Therefore it seems like a good option for men who want to reduce their symptoms of an enlarged prostate.

But let’s not delude ourselves. One plant, or vitamin, or nutrient, is not a cure. Just as Flomax will not cure your BPH, neither will saw palmetto. To have the fastest and most effective natural treatments, herbs and/or vitamins must be combined. I’ll talk more about this towards the end of the article.

Compared to prostate drugs, the side effects of taking saw palmetto are mild. A 2009 review explored the effects of saw palmetto when used for lower urinary tract infections and BPH. Many trials show that its side effects are far less dangerous than most prostate drugs. The most common side effects are rare and mild. These can include stomach pains, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, headache and runny nose.

It’s important to note, however, that saw palmetto might slow blood clotting and increase bruising and bleeding. So don’t take it with drugs which do the same. That includes aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), heparin, and warfarin.

Other than this, saw palmetto doesn’t have a long list of side effects. As said above, this makes it one of the best ways to balance testosterone and improve prostate health in a natural way.

Does Saw Palmetto Cause Impotence?

Saw palmetto does not cause impotence. On the contrary, it treats erection problems brought about by an enlarged prostate. Saw palmetto does the opposite of 5-alpha reductase inhibitor drugs that worsen erection problems rather than reduce them.

A 2012 clinical trial proves this. The study involved 69 men with enlarged prostate symptoms, including sexual dysfunction. After taking saw palmetto capsules daily for 8 weeks, the patients showed a 64% improvement in terms of achieving and maintaining an erection. Their sex drive also improved by 54%.

Does Saw Palmetto Cause Hair Loss?

This is a common cause for concern. But the truth is that it’s the other way around.  Saw palmetto actually helps treat hair loss. It works as a hair loss remedy because it keeps testosterone levels balanced.

As men age, testosterone decreases and DHT increases. Hair loss occurs due to the sensitivity of hair follicles to DHT. This hormone causes follicles to shrink and have a shorter life span. Normally, another hair will start to grow from the same follicle as soon as the old hair falls out. But when DHT levels are high, hair growth decreases.

Saw palmetto helps by preventing the conversion of testosterone into DHT.

A 2002 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine tested 34 men and 28 women, aged 18-48 years, with topically applied saw palmetto extract in lotion and shampoo for three months. Results show that 35% of them had an increase in hair density.

Does Saw Palmetto Affect Testosterone?

Yes it does. And in a good way.

Saw palmetto balances hormones by increasing the levels of testosterone in your body. This in turn decreases the levels of DHT. Because of the damaging effect DHT can have on a number of different processes that occur in your body, increasing testosterone in your body is actually a good thing. It will help to slow down hair loss, boost your libido, and treat the symptoms of an enlarged prostate.

Despite what many doctors and experts will tell you, testosterone is, in fact, good for your prostate. 

A case study published in the American Journal of Medicine explored a 52-year-old man who was having erectile problems, low sex drive and fatigue. He never took medications but was healthy. The study reveals that his health status and sexual function improved by boosting his testosterone levels. After three months, he reported that his sex drive and overall energy improved.

How Rye Flower Pollen Enhances Saw Palmetto’s Effectiveness

saw palmetto prostateNowadays, most prostate supplements contain saw palmetto, if for no other reason than most men recognize that herb as being useful for prostate disease. However, it is normally the case that when using herbal treatments, the effect of each herb is amplified by using them in combinations with others.

For example, let’s say there is a urinary tract infection. There are several different herbs that can help clean out the urinary tract from infectious agents. Some of them include Uva Ursi, Juniper Berry, Gravel Root, Cranberry, Cat’s Claw, among others.

Yet research has shown that certain very specific combinations in very specific dosages can produce better results because there is synergy between the ingredients. So in addition to the variation of origin, quality, and strength, one has to also take into account synergy.

A few years back, I discovered a very specific dosage and quality extract combination of saw palmetto and rye flower pollen has extraordinary synergy.

I formulated that unique combination to make Prostate Power. This supplement makes the resulting prostate urinary symptom alleviator effect faster and more pronounced.

In other words, Prostate Power is a unique combination that helps treat symptoms for BPH and prostatitis. It works by relaxing the urethra, but contracting the bladder, meaning you get exactly the right effects to treat your symptoms. And it has since become a recognized treatment for prostate symptoms. Its success rate is believed to be between 70%-90%.

Click here to find out more about Prostate Power.

I wish you good health,


What do you find works best for your symptoms? Share your remedies below and I’ll give you some advice!

Can Saw Palmetto Treat an Enlarged Prostate?
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About Ben Ong

Ben Ong is a best-selling author and widely regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on natural treatments for metabolic conditions such as prostate disease and type 2 diabetes. He founded Ben’s Natural Health and has worked for over 20 years providing a range of high quality, clinically effective, all-natural supplements for BPH, high PSA, high blood sugar, sexual dysfunction, and others.
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  1. Floyd

    Ben: I have been on Flomax/Tamsulosin for years. My prostate problems have gotten progressively worse. I recently got a new product that has for ingredients–cranberry fruit powder(500mg) saw palmetto (320 mg) beta sitosterol (130mg) and organic pumpkin oil/seed (80mg) For the last few days I have taken only one of these along with Tamsulosin and the result has been nothing short of spectacular. I plan on stopping the Tamsulosin and just take the new stuff for a few days to see if it’s for real. P.S. I also have a bottle of Uva Ursi I’ve had for a while but never opened. I take that now also. So far so good.

  2. Michael Hopkins

    Hi Ben
    I have been taking Saw Palmetto for twenty years but my prostate problems have increased. Tamsulosin over the past four years have definitely helped but I have now had to add Finasteride (four weeks) and now Total Health (two weeks). What I would like to know is if the Saw Palmetto I am taking is strong enough. The bottle label says 3000mg standardised plant extract and the small print says Serenoe Repens – berries (from150mg of 20:1 extract) (standardised to contain 25% fatty acids). What does this mean??

    Many thanks, (Anthony) Michael Hopkins

    • Ben Ong

      Hi Michael, sorry to hear that your prostate problems have increased. If you require any advice please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team on our toll free number +1 888-868-3554. In regards to your question about Saw Palmetto, 25% fatty acids is very low, a good saw palmetto supplement should contain at least 85% fatty acids. This is as the fatty acids in saw palmetto (e.g. beta-sitosterol) are responsible for improving urinary symptoms.

  3. Reuben beren

    I am taking 162mg aspirin a day for APib , can I take the prostate power ?

    • Ben Ong

      Hi Reuben, yes you can still take prostate power. Best of health, Ben’s Natural Health Team.

  4. Bryan Cath

    At last an article agreeing that saw palmetto works. I have been taking saw palmetto for probably 10 or more years. The bottle says it has 20:1 saw palmetto extract at 16mg as well as saw palmetto whole berry at 240mg. It also has a range of other herbal blends included. The urologist has always disregarded the fact that I take this. Yet at the same time he is completely puzzled by me as my prostate is now 180cc/ml, 6 times too big, yet I have no symptoms. I rarely go to the loo in the night, usually going 8-9 hours no problem and the flow is normal during the day, slightly slow first thing in the morning. In fact it was the 2 biopsies that gave me all the awful symptoms that one reads about, taking my poor prostate nearly 3 weeks to get over the onslaught, having found nothing wrong other than far too big.
    I am now taking Total Health as well as continuing with my saw palmetto pills. My prostate is showing no signs of shrinking, but then both these pills don’t claim to shrink it. I am about to try Estro Clear to see if reducing oestrogen might help shrink it, but I am guessing.

  5. Andrew Castle

    Can I take saw palmetto or your prostate power supplement if I take Apixaban ?

    • Ben Ong

      Hi Andrew, yes you can take Prostate Power. If you have any further question please feel free to get in touch with [email protected]. Wishing you good health. The Ben’s Natural Health Team.

  6. Smithk129

    I like what you guys are up too. Such clever work and reporting! Carry on the excellent works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my website beagckgbdbeecace

  7. Marcus

    Hi , can horny goat weed be taken together with saw Palmetto as a supplement to boost libido ? Thanks

    • Ben Ong

      Hi Marcus, afraid we are unsure of that one but will do some research into it. Wishing you good health, Ben.

  8. Scott

    I am interseted in Saw Palmetto to treat a receeding hairline. I am 25 year old male so being young this is a concern of mine. After doing some reading, I was optimistic about Saw Palmetto’s benefits, but have also read it can potentially cause impotence. Since your article says Saw Palmetto can help treat prostate-related sexual difficulties, could this potentially cause impotence/lower libido in individuals who aren’t necesasrily experiencing ED/Low libido already?

    • Ben Ong

      Hi Scott, unsure about the effects of saw palmetto on a receeding hair line but if you could contact [email protected] our support team would be happy to discuss your inquiry in further detail. Wishing you good health.

  9. Den

    I am a hiv positive patients with all so prostate enlargement issue, I was taking dutas t, which got interactions with my antiretroviral medications, i experience a lot of side effect I had to stop dutas, recently someone introduced saw palmatto supplement to me, just started taking but it seems like my constant fever came back again. Please I want to find out if there’s interactions between saw palmatto and efavirenz and tonefovir. Thanks

    • Ben Ong

      Hi Den, very sorry to hear that. If the medication that you are referring to is dutasteride (Avodart), then yes it has a number of terrible side effects which I am very sorry you had to experience. What I would recommend for someone with BPH (an enlarged prostate) is Total Health for the Prostate. It’s made up of 100% natural, high-quality ingredients which have zero side effects. In terms of the interactions between those medications I would have to do some research into that. In the meanwhile please feel free to get in touch with our support team on our toll free number +1 888-868-3554 and they will do their best to advise you. Wishing you good health.

  10. Ken W

    Just started reading your website today after I got my PSA results of 12.4. A years ago it was 4.9. What would cause such a drastic change or could this be a bad test? I am 65.Thanks for your help.

  11. chris

    Can i take saw palmetto and finesteride and Tamsulosin together?

    • Ben Ong

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      They can indeed be taken together while taking saw palmetto you may also be able to lower your dosage and reliance on Tamsulosin.

      Wishing you good health,

  12. James torleyg

    Does ginger root help? I take a mixture of 60 grams ginger,apple cider vinegar,dash of olive oil,lemon juice,mixed berries,apple slice for sweeter taste in a blender,then drink the smoothie…only done it for a week now..wasting my time or what…I am from South Africa taking 0.4 tamsulosin hydrochloride with peeing cancer but PSA high.

    • Ben Ong

      Dear James,

      I hope you are doing well.

      Laboratory studies have demonstrated that the bioactive ingredients in ginger have shown to fight against prostate cancer cells. Ginger is also very effective for nausea so it is definitely worth taking.

      I know that Tamsulosin can alleviate symptoms, but you’re doing it at a long term cost to your body. I set out that information at and

      You can alleviate the symptoms, reduce BPH and get off drugs with side effects – it’s just a matter of getting lifestyle, diet and nutrition right. I’d love to show you what we can do – if you’re interested, send my team an email to [email protected] and we can discuss in more detail.

      Wishing you good health,


  13. Jose A. Garcia

    I’m almost certain I will join your club. Just give me a little bit of time so I know where to start. At the present time I’m taking alfusozin, one pill before bed. I need to know when to stop to do the switching and with what product. Psa was 5.39 six months ago. Two biopsies done last year. Came out negative. One MRI done.
    Thanks. JAG.

  14. Bob Tonge

    I used to eat Life cereal (or Honey-nut Cheery-ohs) for breakfast, with milk and a large OJ.

    Recently, to avoid GMO grains, I have replaced the breakfast cereal and milk with with 2 eggs, over easy, and salsa. I eat my breakfast after exercising for at least one hour.

    This does not seem to have caused an increase in my prostate issues, but I have been building muscle and loosing weight (which was my goal.) I also feel much better. (About the only dairy is milk in my morning coffee.)

    For lunch, I normally have a salad.

    Is there something I should doing differently? I would like to continue building muscle, and loosing weight, but I would like to improve the state of my prostate.

    Also, since I have been taking an L-arginine supplement, my doctor has cut my blood pressure meds in half. Is there a down-side to this supplement?

    • Ben Ong

      Dear Bob,

      I hope you are doing well.

      You may want to consider taking a plant-based protein powder or beef protein powder. If you decide to use plant protein powder then make sure it is a mix of brown rice and pea protein. This will ensure that you are absorbing all the essential amino acids in adequate amounts. You may also want to consume nuts like pistachios or cashews which are rich in protein. Other good protein options would be organic meat and chicken from grass-fed animals or pastured poultry.
      If L-arginine is taken in adequate amounts then there should not be any side effects. It is an amino acid that is required for many functions within our body and it is a great natural treatment for blood pressure.

      Let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with though.

      Wishing you good health,


  15. Bud verdick

    My problem is NOT really enlarged prostrate, it is more OVER-ACTIVE bladder.
    What do you suggest for that
    I take ? tropsium, but it doesn’t seem to help.
    I have to urinate every 2 hours. I haven’t noticed any difference from the Vitamin C I ordered. Thanks

    • Ben Ong

      Hi Bud,

      I checked with my support team and they said they’ve been in conversation with you over email – let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with though.

      Wishing you good health,


  16. Ron

    What is the difference and benefits of the two you sell:- Prostate Power and Total Health for the Prostate???????? – Also, which is better…..I want to get off the Flomax I am taking……I don’t believe it does enough for what you are risking.

    Thank you,


    • Ben Ong

      Hi Ron,

      Prostate Power is primarily a urinary symptom reliever. Total Health, on the other hand, is a comprehensive, multi-vitamin, herb and nutrient formula which is designed to completely heal your prostate.

      Now, while Total Health will get rid of your symptoms, this can take some time, simply because reversing the damage done over many years to your prostate is not a quick-fix. Prostate Power is designed to be more of that, a quick fix, a faster solution to your symptoms. But the truth is that Prostate Power will work best when taken with Total Health along with Prostate Healer.

      Hope that helps!


  17. Patrick Murphy

    I formally took the Trader Joe’s Saw Palmetto but they discontinued the product. do you have a suggestion of a good replacement?

    • Ben Ong

      Hi Patrick,

      My Prostate Power supplement contains saw palmetto as well as rye flower pollen extract, so this could be the replacement you’re looking for. The two ingredients work well together, making it a more effective combination that just saw palmetto on its own. You can check it out here:

      I wish you good health,

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