Saw Palmetto

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Saw Palmetto

Botanical Name: Sarenoa serrulata (HOOK, F.)
Family: N.O. Palmaceae

Synonyms: Sabal. Sabal serrulata.
Part Used: Partially-dried ripe fruit.
Habitat: The Atlantic Coast from South Carolina to Florida, and southern California.

Description: The plant grows from 6 to 10 feet high, forming what is called the 'palmetto scrub.' It has a crown of large leaves, and the fruit is irregularly-spherical to oblong-ovoid, deep red-brown, slightly wrinkled, being from 1/2 to 1 inch long and about 1/2 inch in diameter. It contains a hard brown seed. The taste is sweetish and not agreeable, and the panicle containing it may weigh as much as 9 lb. It has no odour.

Constituents: Volatile oil, fixed oil, glucose, about 63 per cent of free acids, and 37 per cent of ethyl esters of these acids. The oil obtained exclusively from the nut is a glyceride of fatty acids, thick and of a greenish colour, without fruity odour. From the whole fruit can be obtained by pressure about 1 1/2 per cent of a brownishyellow to dark red oil, soluble in alcohol, ether, chloroform and benzene, and partly soluble in dilute solution of potassium hydroxide. The fixed oil is soluble in alcohol, ether, and petroleum benzin. The presence of an alkaloid is uncertain.

The following formula will give elixir of sabal with terpinhydrate. Dissolve 1.75 gram of terpinhydrate in 40 mm. of Ruid extract of sabal and 10 mm. of alcohol. Add 1 mm. of tincture of sweet orange peel, 0.2 mm. of solution of saccharin, 40 mm. of glycerin, and 100 mm. of syrup. This preparation will contain 8 grains of terpinhydrate and 184 grains of sabal in each fluid ounce.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Diuretic, sedative, tonic. It is milder and less stimulant than cubeb or copaiba, or even oil of sandalwood. Like these, it has the power of affecting the respiratory mucous membrane, and is used for many complaints which are accompanied by chronic catarrh. It has been claimed that sabal is capable of increasing the nutrition of the testicles and mammae in functional atony of these organs. It probably acts by reducing catarrhal irritation and a relaxed condition of bladder and urethra. It is a tissue builder.

Dosages: Of fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Of solid extract, 5 to 15 grains.