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You might have seen saw palmetto supplements made especially for women in your local health stores. To start with, saw palmetto is a palm-like tree that grows in some areas in the Americas. It grows berries, the oil extracts of which have been used for various therapeutic uses.
The effects of saw palmetto are attributed solely to its ability to suppress the production of dihydrotestosterone or DHT from testosterone. Testosterone is a naturally occurring androgen which is needed by the body, while DHT is a more potent hormone produced from it. Testosterone is converted into DHT through an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase which is inhibited by saw palmetto.
Saw palmetto is primarily used therapeutically for treating enlarged prostate or prostatitis in men. However, they are also seen to provide benefits in women, such that saw palmetto standardized extract
Below are the reported potential effects of saw palmetto for women:
One of the predominating causes of hair loss is excess DHT production. More than 98% of DHT is formed at the hair follicle so that as a growth remedy, saw palmetto oil extract should be applied and massaged directly onto the scalp.
Saw Palmetto and PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome)
Women with PCOS usually have abnormally higher levels of testosterone than most women. Thus, saw palmetto berries are theorized to work in treating PCOS. Also, saw palmetto reportedly has anti-estrogenic effect to counter high estrogen levels. Similarly, it also helps in alleviating PCOS symptoms such as hirsutism (growth of too much hair at the wrong places)
Excessive DHT production usually results to acne. By regulating the production of hormones, saw palmetto is a potential cure for acne. However, this positive effect of saw palmetto is yet to be proven scientifically.
Saw palmetto has been reported to be diuretic in nature as it contains anti-androgen properties to decrease water retention and control blood pressure. It has been used as a natural remedy for relieving high blood pressure or hypertension due to its diuretic effect.
Aside from its DHT inhibiting effect, saw palmetto has also been seen to stimulate the production of the female hormone prolactin which promotes breast enlargement as well as milk production and lactation in breastfeeding women.
Saw palmetto is available in oral capsule, tablet, tea and natural berry forms. There is no fixed dosage that is recommended for all women. Each woman is unique so what is best for you may be too little for another. Generally speaking, a dosage of 160 mg of saw palmetto standardized extract, or a gram of crushed berry daily is enough to produce the mentioned positive benefits.
There are still no scientifically proven uses of saw palmetto for women, but the number of women who attest to its effectivity is somehow convincing enough. If you want to go natural, you can try it out and experience the positive effects for yourself.