The benefits of saw palmetto for women are mostly related to the reproductive system. Saw palmetto, also known as serenoa repens, is one of the most commonly used herbs in alternative medicine, although it is more accepted in Europe than in the United States. There has been little scientific research about the benefits of using saw palmetto for women, although there is evidence that it is beneficial for men with prostatic hyperplasia. Saw palmetto is mostly commonly used by women to relieve menstrual cramps, increase sex drive and promote lactation.
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The use of saw palmetto for women who are breastfeeding is controversial. Traditionally, saw palmetto has been used to increase lactation and aid new mothers in breastfeeding, because it stimulates the production of prolactin in women. However, the National Institutes of Health advises against the use of saw palmetto for women during both pregnancy and breastfeeding. Some tinctures of saw palmetto contain alcohol, making them inappropriate for use while breastfeeding.
One of the biggest potential benefits of saw palmetto for women lies in the relief of menstrual discomfort such as cramps and headache. Women who experience acne breakouts that occur near their menstrual cycles may also use saw palmetto berries to decrease breakouts. The Women's Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine confirms that saw salmetto may help to regulate the androgen levels that cause breakouts. There is some anecdotal evidence that saw palmetto may help to regulate irregular menstrual cycles.
One of the traditional uses of saw palmetto for women is to increase sexual desire and sexual vitality. The Women's Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine classifies saw palmetto as a phytoestrogen, which means that it binds to cells in the same way that the hormone oestrogen does. Saw palmetto berries may help improve sex drive by regulating hormones; if there is too much oestrogen in the body, saw palmetto will block it, but if there is not enough oestrogen, it will create oestrogenic effects, bringing the hormone levels back to normal and promoting a healthy sex drive.
Saw palmetto has been scientifically proven to benefit the urinary tract in both women and men. An article published in The Guardian reports that the anti-inflammatory effects of saw palmetto berries may be one reason they are effective in increasing urine flow or relieving bladder irritation. Saw palmetto is normally recommended for men with urinary problems related to their prostate, but saw palmetto may also benefit women experiencing urinary problems.
Because saw palmetto berries have a mild oestrogenic effect, the National Institutes of Health points out that they could potentially interfere with birth control pills or hormone therapy. NIH also lists minor side effects caused by Saw palmetto, including bad breath, diarrhoea, dizziness, headache or nausea. You should not take saw palmetto if you have a bleeding disorder, heart disease, liver disorder or asthma. Saw palmetto is considered an alternative remedy and its benefits and effects have not been thoroughly studied.
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