The November 11, 1998 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association
published a comprehensive review article regarding the herbal therapy of
benign prostate enlargement. This condition is common in men aged 50 and
older. The enlarged prostate leads to frequent urination and nighttime
awakenings. Standard therapy has been the use of a medicine called finasteride
which helps to shrink the prostate.
Over the past two decades, several studies in Europe with extracts from the
saw palmetto berry have shown benefits with this herbal therapy. The JAMA
review article pooled the results of 18 of these studies totaling 2,939 men.
Compared to placebo, or dummy pill, those who received saw palmetto were twice
as likely to have improved urinary symptoms compared to those on placebo. The
benefits with the herb were actually comparable to finasteride. One side
effect of finasteride is erectile dysfunction. Saw palmetto did not cause this
Los Angeles physician Ray Sahelian, M.D., author of Saw Palmetto: Nature's
Prostate Healer (Kensington Press, 1998), says, "I find saw palmetto very
helpful in improving symptoms of prostate enlargement. At least two-thirds of
patients find that they visit the bathroom less frequently overnight. At a
fraction of the cost of finasteride, saw palmetto is an excellent first line
therapy for any male who has mild to moderate symptoms of prostate
enlargement. Improvements are most often noticed after two weeks of therapy.
Finasteride can always be added later if saw palmetto does not produce
Ray Sahelian, MD, does not sell or endorse products. For further information,
see his bio at www.raysahelian.com