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Saw palmetto fruits, raw? (organic?)

Extracts or powders from raw saw palmetto fruits are used as medicines or dietary supplements - also available organically.
Given the lack of nutritional information for this ingredient, we did not include it in the calculations for the nutrition table.
Macronutrient carbohydrates 0%
Macronutrient proteins 0%
Macronutrient fats 0%

The three ratios show the percentage by weight of macronutrients (carbohydrates / proteins / fats) of the dry matter (excl. water).

Ω-6 (LA, <0.1g)
Omega-6 fatty acid such as linoleic acid (LA)
 : Ω-3 (ALA, <0.1g)
Omega-3 fatty acid such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
 = 0:0

Omega-6 ratio to omega-3 fatty acids should not exceed a total of 5:1. Link to explanation.

Values are too small to be relevant.

Saw palmetto fruits are beneficial for prostate health and help with benign prostatic hyperplasia. The sharply serrated leaves give the saw palmetto ( Serenoa repens ) its name. Usually as an extract or powder, also in organic quality, but rarely raw available.

Use in the kitchen

The black, olive-sized saw palmetto fruits are rarely or never used in the kitchen. Due to their medicinal properties, saw palmetto fruits are mainly used as medicine or food supplements. More on this in the ingredients chapter. They are not used as an ingredient in cooking that we know of.

Saw palmetto fruits can be eaten raw. 1 Native Americans used the fruits as food, but they have an unpleasant taste. It is said to be initially sweet and then reminiscent of blue cheese, followed by an intense peppery note.

However, the dried fruits and fruit powder can be consumed with meals. They are suitable for rounding off smoothies made from fresh fruit and vegetables, such as cucumber , celery , bananas , strawberries or kiwis . Porridge with linseed or oat flakes , such as poppy seed and lemon porridge , vegan yoghurts ( soy yoghurt ) and muesli can also be combined with the saw palmetto fruits. For a healthy breakfast option, we recommend Erb-Müesli .

Vegan recipes with saw palmetto fruits

We are not aware of any recipes for using saw palmetto fruits as an ingredient.

You can make a tea from the saw palmetto fruit, but this method of preparation is not recommended because the fat-soluble ingredients of the fruit hardly pass into the tea. 2

Vegan recipes with saw palmetto fruit can be found under the note: " Recipes that have the most of this ingredient ".

Not only vegans or vegetarians should read this:
Vegans often eat unhealthily. Avoidable nutritional mistakes

Purchasing - Storage

Supermarket chains such as Coop , Migros , Denner , Volg , Spar , Aldi , Lidl , Rewe , Edeka , Hofer or Billa do not usually stock saw palmetto fruits. They are often available as dietary supplements in health food stores, pharmacies, drugstores and online shops. Saw palmetto fruits can also be found in organic supermarkets such as Denn's Biomarkt and Alnatura , usually in the health and dietary supplements section.

They can be purchased in various forms, with lipid/sterol extracts and oily extracts of the dried fruit being the most common. These extracts are commercially available as capsules or tablets, either alone or mixed with other plant extracts, such as pumpkin or nettle . Other forms available include the dried fruit, whole or in powdered form (as tablets or capsules), and tinctures. The dried fruit is suitable for making tea and water extracts. 3 The ripe fruit is dark red when fresh, which turns to black when dried.

Storage tips

Saw palmetto fruit in the form of tablets, capsules or powder should be stored in cool, dry and airtight conditions to ensure optimal shelf life. Specific storage recommendations for the different forms of the dietary supplement must be taken into account.

Ingredients - Nutritional values - Calories

Saw palmetto fruits are rich in lipids, including triglycerides, free fatty acids and sterols, with a proportion of 15-20%. The dominant fatty acids include myristoleic acid, myristic acid, lauric acid and palmitic acid. Stigmasterol, campesterol,beta-sitosterol , beta-sitosterol glucoside and beta-sitosterol esters are the predominant sterols. In addition to polysaccharides, the fruits contain secondary plant substances such as triterpenes, flavonoids (isoquercitrin, kaempferol-3-O-beta-D-glucoside and rhoifolin) and carotenoids. 4

Health Benefits

Saw palmetto fruit has been shown to promote prostate health. It contains compounds that may act as natural antiandrogens: they block the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which catalyzes the conversion of the male sex hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. Dihydrotestosterone is an active form of testosterone and plays a role in regulating the growth of the prostate. By blocking this conversion, saw palmetto fruit may potentially help treat prostate conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). 4

Studies show that saw palmetto fruit extract has an inhibitory effect on the androgen receptor. In addition, the fatty acids contained in saw palmetto fruit, including myristic acid, lauric acid and linoleic acid, can bind to alpha-1 adrenoceptors and inhibit them, which explains a relaxing effect on the smooth muscles of the prostate. This means that saw palmetto fruit has the same effect as alpha blockers, which also reduce muscle contraction and are used in the treatment of BPH. 4

Another positive property of saw palmetto fruits is their antiphlogistic (anti-inflammatory) effect. They help to limit the formation of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes. The inhibition of these inflammatory factors supports the treatment of BPH and speaks in favor of the use of saw palmetto fruits. 4

Clinical studies support the effect of saw palmetto fruit on benign prostatic hyperplasia. In a Korean study, 120 men with BPH were given either 0.2 mg of the drug "Tamsulosinum" or 320 mg of saw palmetto fruit extract. A significant improvement in symptoms was observed in the group that received both active ingredients. 5

Saw palmetto fruits have also been shown in studies to be effective in treating androgenic alopecia (hair loss). They help with prostatitis by relieving symptoms such as pain and problems with urination. The fruits can also provide relief for sexual dysfunctions such as loss of libido. 4

It should be noted that clinical results are mainly derived from studies in male subjects. There is limited data on safe use in women.

The potential use of saw palmetto fruit to treat prostate cancer, androgenetic acne and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is also currently being investigated. 6

Dangers - Intolerances - Side effects

The use of saw palmetto fruit can sometimes cause headaches and stomach problems. Nausea, gynecomastia (enlarged breasts in men) or skin rashes can also occur rarely. Caution should be taken when taking blood-thinning medication, as saw palmetto fruit extract can increase its effect. 4

When examining the labels of saw palmetto products, it was found that consumers should seek advice before use if they have prostate problems, hormone-dependent cancers, are taking prescription medications, are pregnant or breastfeeding. Consult a healthcare professional before taking saw palmetto fruit. Some products also carry warnings to stop use two weeks before surgery. 3

Although there are no documented cases, it is suspected that the risk of birth defects in male offspring increases if the mother takes saw palmetto products during pregnancy. 3

Use as a recognized medicinal plant

The dried, ripe saw palmetto fruits (Sabalis serrulatae fructus) or saw palmetto fruit extract (Sabalis serrulatae extractum) are used medicinally.

According to the HMPC ( Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products ), the extraction agent used is relevant. A thick extract of saw palmetto (DEV 7–11:1, solvent: n-hexane) has been classified as a medically recognized herbal medicinal product ("well-established use") for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

For complaints of the lower urinary tract resulting from PHB, the HMPC has recognized a thick extract with ethanol as a solvent as a traditional herbal medicinal product. 4,6 It should be noted that the use of medicinal plants that fall under "traditional use" for the specified indication is based exclusively on many years of experience.

The European Federation of Phytotherapy ( ESCOP ) and Commission E have also approved saw palmetto fruits for the symptomatic treatment of micturition problems, such as painful and difficult urination, frequent urination, nocturnal urinary urgency and urinary retention, in benign prostatic hyperplasia. 2

Folk medicine - natural medicine

Traditionally, saw palmetto fruits were used to treat stomach pain and diarrhea, as well as being a diuretic and sexually enhancing agent. 7 They were used to treat various diseases of the reproductive organs and to relieve colds and chronic bronchitis in pulmonary asthma. 9

Ecological footprint - animal welfare

Despite extensive research, we do not have any data on the ecological footprint of the saw palmetto fruit. Medicines or nutritional supplements require many production steps that leave a large carbon footprint . Here is an example of a vitamin mix that has a very high carbon footprint of 15 kg CO 2 eq/kg. 10

We were also unable to find any significant figures for water consumption for saw palmetto fruit. With regard to processed products, such as food supplements, it should be noted that water consumption in the pharmaceutical industry is very high worldwide. 11

Saw palmetto can be planted to protect watersheds, prevent erosion and reclaim phosphate mines. 9

For detailed explanations of various sustainability indicators (such as ecological footprint, CO2 footprint, water footprint), see our article: What does the ecological footprint mean? .

Animal welfare - species protection

In years with heavy flowering, saw palmetto is a valuable source of honey production and thus important for bees and other pollinating insects. Saw palmettos serve as nesting sites and shelters for over 100 species of animals. In addition, the fruits serve as a food source for many species of wild animals, such as black bears, deer, raccoons, turkeys, quail, gray foxes and gopher tortoises. 8,9

Worldwide occurrence - cultivation

The saw palmetto and its fruits originate from the southeast of the USA, where they are mainly cultivated. 4,6 They are found mainly in Florida, but also in parts of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina. 6 They are also cultivated in Central America, particularly in the Caribbean, including Cuba and the Bahamas. 3,4

Some sources incorrectly attribute Egypt as the country of origin of the saw palmetto fruit. 6

The saw palmetto grows in a variety of habitats, including coppices, prairies, understory forests, wetlands, coastal forests, swamps and sand dunes. 9

Cultivation - Harvest

As a fan palm, the saw palmetto has characteristic leaves and leaf stems. These have fine teeth, which gives the saw palmetto its name. It has a creeping rhizome (lat. repens = creeping) - a characteristic that can be found in its Latin name Serenoa repens . As with other palm species, the mycorrhizal roots allow the saw palmetto to grow easily on nutrient-poor soils. 9 The palm has multiple trunks, is evergreen and grows in a bush-like manner up to a height of 1 to 3 meters. 4

Saw palmettos reproduce mainly vegetatively by forming offshoots that branch off from the main trunk. The trunk of the saw palmetto grows very slowly: it is estimated that it lengthens by 0.6-2.2 cm per year. 8

The saw palmetto is a particularly robust, long-lived palm species that can reach an age of 500 to 700 years. 1.8 It is highly resistant to pests and diseases, as well as environmental influences. It thrives easily in drought, excessive moisture and low temperatures, as well as in acidic and alkaline soil conditions. 8.9

After a fire, it sprouts again and new leaves are continuously growing. Although fires usually destroy all of the saw palmetto's above-ground leaf material, new green leaf tissue can grow just a few days later. 8,9 Not only does the saw palmetto thrive in fire-prone environments, but fire also activates its reproduction by stimulating growth. The better light conditions stimulate the formation of flowers. 9

New leaves begin to sprout in March and April and can reach a length of up to one meter. 8,9 Typically, 3-7 new leaves emerge from a meristem each year. The leaves have a lifespan of 18 to 24 months. 8

In its range, the saw palmetto grows in shady and sunny conditions. It can take a decade for saw palmettos to produce a flower. In most cases, saw palmettos need to be at least 0.6 m tall to flower. After they have reached this height, the likelihood of flowering increases significantly with the height of the plant. The flowers are pollinated by insects. 8

The flowering period lasts from April to July. During this time, it bears small, white flowers that grow in panicle-like inflorescences and later develop into the saw palmetto fruits. The flowers give off an intense scent. As they ripen, the fruits turn dark red and later black. 1 They are single-seeded drupes that have the shape of an ellipse. The ripe fruits are harvested in South Florida between August and October. 8,9 They are either picked by hand or the entire fruit-bearing panicle is cut off. 9

After harvesting, the ripe fruits are dried either in the sun or in a drying container or tobacco barn. There they remain at 54 °C for about 3 days. During the drying process, the workers turn the fruits every 12 hours. 8

Further information

The saw palmetto ( Serenoa repens ) is the only species of the genus Serenoa , which belongs to the palm family (Arecaceae).

The term Sabal fruits or Sabal Fructus is sometimes used to describe the fruits of the saw palmetto. This term comes from the indigenous people of North America, who called the saw palmetto Sabal. 4 The saw palmetto is, however, an independent plant that does not belong to the genus Sabal . This use of the name often leads to confusion with the palmetto palm ( Sabal palmetto ).

Alternative names

Sometimes less common botanical names are used for the saw palmetto, including Serenoa serrulatum , Serenoa serrulata and Sabal serrulata. The fruits of the saw palmetto are sometimes referred to as berries in literature, and the term "saw palmetto berry" is used in English. From a botanical point of view, this is not correct, as it is not a berry, but a stone fruit. 3

Other uses

In the cosmetics industry, saw palmetto fruits are used in preparations for scalp and hair care. 1 The saw palmetto and its plant material are also used to produce fibers, oil and wax, as well as for thatched roofs and baskets. 6 Indigenous tribes in North America make dance fans and rattles for ceremonies, as well as toy dolls for children, from saw palmetto leaves. 9