Serenoa repens is a small palm growing in the southeastern United States, along the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal areas. The plant of about 60 to 130 cm in a height is usually known as saw palmetto in the southern Arkansas. It grows very slow and is characterized by a very long life. In Florida there are some palms known to live about 700 years. Saw palmetto has been used in traditional medicine. The palm fruits are used for food as well as in the treatment of a variety of urinary and reproductive system disorders. The Native Americans used it as a tonic, brewing its berries to obtain an expectorant and antiseptic effect. The palm berries are reported as a remedy used in the treatment of women’s infertility, to increase lactation during a breast-feeding period, to relieve painful menstruations, to treat hypoplastic breasts, to reduce prostate, and increase appetite when required.
Modern clinical trials in Europe have revealed that Serenoa repens helps in the treatment of chronic prostatitis and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) by stopping the 5-dehydrotestosterone transfer into testosterone. The palm berries have a mild effect on the hormone production preserving male potency and provides wide effects to treat various conditions. In prostate infection, the berries stimulate urination process, making the infectious microorganisms to be excreted through the kidney with urine.
Other notable applications are enlargement of breast in natural way, and for the treatment of hair loss.