Alopecia is a common condition that affects both men and women. Women experience hair loss all over their scalp while men experience an M-shaped pattern of hair loss called the male-pattern baldness. Saw Palmetto is a popular herbal remedy that people use to manage the process of hair loss.
An overview of the herbal plant
Saw Palmetto is got from the berries of Serenoa repens' fruit. Serenoa repens is a fan palm that commonly grows in warm climates. The name of the Saw Palmetto is derived from its "saw-toothed" leaves. The plant produces white flowers which in turn yield yellow berries that turn black when they ripen. The beans are harvested and dried before being used for their medicinal purposes.
Saw Palmetto has been used by various communities around the world for its medicinal importance. The Native Americans used it in the management of the urinary tract infections and other conditions of the reproductive system. Studies also show that Saw Palmetto can be utilized in the management of benign prostatic hypertrophy in men. The plant has various active ingredients including fatty acids, flavonoids, and plant sterols such as phytosterols.
Saw Palmetto for hair loss
Saw Palmetto is regarded as one of the most efficient herbal cure for hair loss. The problem of hair loss is related to the hormone testosterone. Hair loss results from the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone causing the shrinkage of the hair follicles. The enzyme involved in the conversion of testosterone hormone to dihydrotestosterone is 5-alpha reductase enzyme. The dihydrotestosterone molecule is the one responsible for hair loss and prostate cancer in men. The active ingredient derived from the fruits of Saw Palmetto acts by inhibiting the enzyme involved in the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone.
Although there is no sufficient scientific backing for the effectiveness of Saw Palmetto in hair loss, the research is quite promising. The active ingredients in the Saw Palmetto work through the same mechanism of action seen in synthetic ingredients found in prescription medicines. A small study conducted among ten participants showed positive results among six of the participants. Male participants with moderate male pattern baldness were given an oral dosage form of the Saw Palmetto supplement. They were then asked to rate their baldness before and after taking the herbal remedy which they reported an improvement.
Saw Palmetto Dosage forms
The Saw Palmetto supplement is formulated in various dosage forms that are convenient to the end users. The following are some of the common dosage forms:
· Saw Palmetto capsules: capsules are the most common dosage form among individuals using the herbal remedy to manage hair loss. The capsules come in 160mg and 320mg dosage strengths. The 160mg strength should be taken twice a day as will be directed in the inserts. The 320mg dosage strength should be administered once daily.
· Saw Palmetto gels: most soft gels come in the 320mg strength. The dosage form is small in size making it easy to swallow. Saw Palmetto gels are easily absorbed increasing its bioavailability.
· Saw Palmetto Tablets: the tablet form of the herbal remedy is taken twice daily. It is not popular among individuals suffering from hair loss due to its delayed onset of action.
· Saw Palmetto Liquid: the active ingredients can be extracted in liquid form. The liquid extract contains between two and four milliliters of the active ingredients. The liquid dosage form should be taken twice daily.
· Saw Palmetto oil: the Saw Palmetto oil for hair loss in for external use as one rubs the oil into the affected areas of the scalp. The National Institutes of Health directs that two tablespoons of the oil should be applied to the scalp and massaged into the skin for more than ten minutes. The oil should be left to sink into the skin for one hour before washing the remnants away. The oil should be used every day to get the best results.
Side effects associated with Saw Palmetto
· Saw Palmetto can result in stomach disturbance. The problem can be managed by taking the supplement with food.
· Individuals who have undergone surgery or dental work should take the herbal remedy with a lot of caution.
· Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not use the medication due to its effect on the body’s hormonal balance.
· Saw Palmetto has tannins which can prevent the absorption of iron in the body.
· Some Saw Palmetto tinctures have high concentrations of alcohol.