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Sabal

Botanical name:

Saw palmetto, Serenoa serrulata, Sabal serrulata. The berry of the saw palmetto, practically unknown in medicine before 1879, came rapidly into conspicuity, both in pharmacy and in medicine, after that date. It had been observed by the settlers of the South that animals feeding on the matured fruit "grew very sleek and fat," a fact that was ascribed to the therapeutic qualities of the berries, reasoning from which they prepared a decoction of the fruit for domestic medication. In 1877, Dr. Reed, of the Southern United States, in an article entitled "A New Remedy," in the Medical Brief, St. Louis (417), stated that several persons in his neighborhood were using a preparation of the berry, giving instances of its use in various directions. This article was reproduced in New Preparations (467), July, 1879, and was followed in the same publication by another article from the Medical Brief, in which Dr. I. J. M. Goss, then of Marietta, Georgia, states that he had been induced to use the remedy and considered it a satisfactory one. After this introduction the drug came repeatedly to the attention of practitioners of medicine. Manufacturing pharmacists gave it especial attention, and at the present time it is one of the most important remedial productions of the South. Thus the experimentation of the people, following its apparent effect on animals, was followed in turn by the investigations of the medical profession, and the remedy was finally introduced to the pages of the Pharmacopeia. In our opinion the volatile oil and its decomposition products are of exceeding interest and will yet be a prolific source of detailed research.


The History of the Vegetable Drugs of the U.S.P., 1911, was written by John Uri Lloyd.



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