Health Guide

Saw palmetto

What is it?

Saw palmetto is an herbal medicine used to treat an enlarged prostate gland in men. It may also be used to treat prostate cancer and acne.

Other names for saw palmetto include: Serenoa repens , Sabal, Dwarf Palm Tree, Palmetto, Scrub Palm, Cabbage Palm, and Serenoa.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease


Talk with your caregiver about how much saw palmetto you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking saw palmetto. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions:

Do not take saw palmetto without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Warfarin (Coumadin(R)) (6)


  • Before taking saw palmetto, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Do not take saw palmetto if you have a hormone-sensitive cancer, like breast or prostate cancer, without talking to your caregiver

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Nausea (upset stomach) or abdominal (belly) pain
  • Headache, dizziness, dry mouth, tiredness


1. Newall C, Anderson L & Phillipson J: Herbal Medicines. A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. Pharmaceutical Press, London, UK; 1996.

2. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A et al.: The Complete German Commission E Monographs. American Botanical Council, Austin, TX; 1998.

3. Plosker GE & Brogden RN: Serenoa repens (Permixon). A review of its pharmacology and therapeutic efficacy in benign prostatic hyperplasia. Drugs Aging 1996; 9:379-395.

4. Champault G., Patel JC & Bonnard AM: A double-blind trial of an extract of the plant Serenoa repens in benign prostatic hyperplasia. (letter). Br. J Clin Pharmacol 1984, 18:461-462.

5. DiSilverio F, D'Eramo G, Flammia GP et al: Pharmacological combinations in the treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy. J Urol (Paris) 1993; 99(6): 316-320.

6. Yue QY & Jansson K: Herbal drug curbicin and anticoagulant effect with and without warfarin: possibly related to the vitamin E component. J Am Geriatr Soc 2001; 49(6):838.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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