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The Advantages of Saw Palmetto for Women

June 19, 2024

Saw Palmetto is traditionally known to be beneficial for men in supporting prostate health.

However, new research is discovering some amazing ways that it can also benefit women, both through topical application for skin improvement, as well as taking as a supplement internally for better health.

A more comprehensive version of this article will appear in the next issue of APJ Journal which will soon be released. However, here is a snapshot of some of the benefits of this amazing plant.

Background information

  • Saw palmetto, a plant originally used by Native Americans for its various health properties, has been gaining recognition for its potential benefits in women’s health.
  • Extracted from the berries of the Serenoa repens tree, this natural remedy has been subjected to various studies aiming to understand its full range of effects.

The active components in saw palmetto extracts that contribute to its reported potential benefits are attributed to its high content of fatty acids, plant sterols, and flavonoids.

The benefits of saw palmetto for women

While it is often associated with men due to its impact on prostrate health, studies are emerging that validate ways that saw palmetto can also benefit women.

  • For this reason, we are seeing a growing number of women interested in the applications of saw palmetto for their own well-being.
  • Several of saw palmetto benefits include its influence on hair growth, its role in balancing hormone levels, and potentially providing relief from symptoms associated with urinary tract discomfort.
  • The spotlight on urinary health is crucial, as in particular, women are prone to urinary issues for various physiological reasons.

Overwhelmingly, saw palmetto’s popularity stems from the belief that it can influence hormone regulation, which is a significant aspect of overall health for women.

Hormonal regulation and PCOS

There are several studies that confirm that saw palmetto has shown great potential in helping maintain hormonal balance in women by influencing oestrogen and testosterone levels.

This can be particularly significant for those suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition where hormonal imbalance triggers a range of symptoms from acne to excessive hair growth.

Saw palmetto extract is believed to inhibit the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, contributing to reduced conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is implicated in PCOS. This hormonal modulation is believed to help alleviate symptoms of hirsutism and help restore regular menstrual cycles.

What about the skin? 

Let’s delve into the benefits that saw palmetto can provide in skincare.

Anti-inflammatory properties

  • Studies confirm that saw palmetto contains active compounds that possess anti-inflammatory properties, making it beneficial for soothing irritated or inflamed skin conditions like acne, eczema, and dermatitis.

Sebum regulation

  • One of the key benefits of saw palmetto is its ability to regulate sebum production.
  • Excessive sebum production can lead to oily skin, clogged pores, and acne breakouts.
  • Saw palmetto helps balance sebum levels, thereby reducing the occurrence of acne and promoting clearer skin.

Antioxidant action

  • Rich in antioxidants, saw palmetto helps protect the skin from free radical damage caused by environmental stressors such as UV radiation and pollution.
  • This can help not just with inflamed and problematic skin conditions, it can also prevent signs of premature ageing, such as wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots.

Hair growth stimulation

  • Saw palmetto is also known for its potential to promote hair growth. When applied topically, it can help strengthen hair follicles, prevent hair loss, and promote healthier hair growth, making it a valuable ingredient in haircare products.
  • Studies indicate that saw palmetto can potentially block DHT which is believed to be a contributing factor in female pattern hair loss, thus saw palmetto supplements might support hair follicle health. This can translate to a decrease in hair shedding and an improvement in hair density for some women.
  • An efficient haircare routine, along with the use of saw palmetto, can be a strategic approach to bolstering hair health.

Anti-androgenic effects

  • Saw palmetto inhibits the activity of 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Excessive DHT levels are associated with acne. By blocking this enzyme, saw palmetto helps maintain hormonal balance, which is crucial for healthy skin and hair.


  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid saw palmetto due to lack of research on its safety in these populations.

Interactions with other medications

Saw palmetto might interact with certain medications.

Close attention is recommended especially with:

Blood Thinners

  • Saw palmetto could potentially increase the risk of bleeding when taken with blood thinners.

Medication Metabolism

  • It may change how medications are broken down in the body.

Saw palmetto offers a range of benefits for skin care, including anti-inflammatory, sebum-regulating, antioxidant, skin renewal, and hair growth-stimulating properties.

For this reason, ongoing studies are continuing to investigate the potential of this amazing botanical for skin and overall health. However, before starting saw palmetto, or any new supplement, consulting with a healthcare provider is essential to mitigate risks and interactions.

Subscribe to the APJ journal for further reading

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