Using saw palmetto to treat prostate problems isn't news: Heaps of research has proven its effectiveness in treating an enlarged prostate and has shown that it's even more effective than conventional drugs.
But what you may not know is that breakthrough research proves there's a way to make this already proven remedy even more effective in treating an enlarged prostate (also known as benign prostate hyperplasia or BPH).
BJU International published an analysis in 2004 on the effect of saw palmetto in BPH. The analysis combined the results of 17 trials involving more than 4,000 men. The researchers found that an herbal treatment of raw palmetto increased peak urinary flow by 15 to 20% (2.22 ml. sec).
Although the effects on nocturia (getting up to urinate throughout the night) weren't quite as striking, saw palmetto was associated with an average reduction of one bathroom trip per night that's at least a step in the right direction.
Saw palmetto put to the test. An analysis from a 2002 French study compared saw palmetto with the alpha-blocker tamsulosin (Flomax). The one-year study involving 704 patients found the two treatments to be equally effective for BPH.
What makes this newsworthy though, is that saw palmetto has no adverse effects in the body, while Flomax has a long list of side effects,
including back pain, chest pain, diarrhea, dizziness, headaches, nausea, sinus problems, sleepiness and a sore throat
In 2004, researchers did another analysis of the same study, comparing the use of saw palmetto vs. tamsulosin for severe lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) of BPH. The severity of LUTS is often determined by the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS).
In this study, severe LUTS was determined as a score greater than 19. Out of 124 patients with severe LUTS, 59 received saw palmetto while 65 received tamsulosin.
After only three months, it was clear that saw palmetto was superior to tamsulosin in reducing irritating symptoms such as difficult urination and urinary frequency. By the end of the year-long study, the IPSS in patients with severe symptoms had decreased by 7.8 points with saw palmetto and 5.8 with tamsulosin.
Finally, another study showed that saw palmetto significantly reduces the bleeding that often occurs after prostate surgery.
n fact, the amount of bleeding was so much lower that it reduced the need for blood transfusions. The saw palmetto treatment also reduced the need for catheterization to help urination.
Fewer symptoms, better health
Results like these certainly would improve your quality of life if you suffer from BPH. But why stop there? You can get even more relief from your symptoms when you combine saw palmetto with another well- known herbal treatment for BPH - nettle root.
Researchers tested the efficacy and tolerability of a saw palmetto and nettle root combination (320mg per day of oil extract of saw palmetto and 240mg per day of nettle root extract) in 257 elderly, male patients suffering from LUTS caused by BPH.
After 24 weeks of double-blind treatment, patients treated with the saw palmetto nettle root combination had a substantially higher reduction of their IPSS than patients in the placebo group (six points vs. four points). This drop in the IPSS of six points is much better than the drops seen in trials using saw palmetto alone.