Palmier nain, Serenoa repens, Sabal Fructus
Part of the plant used: fruits
Saw palmetto is widely found in the United-States, from the Carolinas to Texas. This small palm tree is 1,8 to 3 meters tall. Its fan-like top is 60 to 120 cm tall and is made of long, dentate leafs. The applicable part of saw palmetto is the fruit.
The saw palmetto berry contains polysaccharides, fixed oils, volatile oil, steroids, including b-sitosterol. Saw palmetto is thought to reduce the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (by inhibition of dihydroxytestosterone binding at the androgen receptors and inhibition of 5-a-reductase activity on testosterone, thus preventing the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone). Anti-inflammatory properties also appear to be involved.
The product is available in capsules containing dried berries or lipophilic extracts containing 80 to 95% fatty acids and sterols.
There is insufficient reliable information to conclude that saw palmetto is effective in any other indication.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
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