The fruit of Serenoa serrulata, Bentham and Hooker (Nat. Ord. Palmacae). Atlantic Coast from Florida to South Carolina. Dose, 10 to 60 grains.
Common Name: Saw Palmetto.
Principal Constituents.—An aromatic oil (Oil of Saw Palmetto) and sugar.
Preparation.—Specific Medicine Saw Palmetto. Dose, 10 to 60 drops.
Specific Indications.—Relaxation with copious catarrhal secretion; lark of development or wasting of testicles, ovaries, or mammae; prostatic irritation with painful micturition, and dribbling of urine, especially in the aged; tenderness in the glands and other parts of the reproductive organs.
Action and Therapy.—Saw Palmetto is a nerve sedative, expectorant, and a nutritive tonic, acting kindly upon the digestive tract and tending to improve the appetite, digestion, and assimilation. Its most direct action appears to be upon the reproductive organs when undergoing waste of tissue; in some nutritional way it is asserted to enlarge the breasts, ovaries, and testicles, while the paradoxical claim is also made that it reduces hypertrophy of the prostate. This can only be explained, if, indeed, it has such opposite effects, by assuming that it tends toward the production of a normal condition, increasing parts when atrophied, and reducing them when unhealthily enlarged. Evidence is forthcoming that it alleviates much of the prostatic suffering of the aged, and this is probably due to its relieving urethral irritation, thereby reducing a swollen condition not really amounting to hypertrophy. It is asserted to increase the tonus of the bladder, and help to better contraction and more perfect expulsion of the contents of that viscus. Tenesmic pain especially is relieved. It is further, and rationally, indicated to relieve dull aching, throbbing pain in the prostatic urethra and to control excessive mucoid and prostatic discharges. The gleety results of a badly treated gonorrhea sometimes yield to it. As it tones relaxed tissue this probably explains its asserted value in so-called uterine hypertrophy, the latter being more properly a large, loosely relaxed and flabby organ, actively leucorrheal. It has been recorded also that it increases the sexual appetite and restores lost power from excesses, in both man and woman; and to have given relief in ovaritis, ovaralgia, orchitis, orchialgia, and epididymitis. Its best action is that of a nutritive tonic to wasting organs and to control irritation and mucoid discharge.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.