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Saw Palmetto Shrinks Enlarged Prostate Tissue

Many European studies have shown that saw palmetto improves symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), an enlargement of the prostate that causes uncomfortable urinary symptoms as men get older. Now the first American randomized clinical trial of saw palmetto shows that the plant also reduces swelling in enlarged prostate tissue. The study was published in the March issue of the peer-reviewed journal Urology, followed by a presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Urological Association in Dallas, Texas from May 1-6, 1999. The study was also chosen from among 1500 others as the feature article in the June issue of Urology Times, a leading magazine for urologists.

During the six-month double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers randomly assigned 44 men to take either 320 mg of saw palmetto and nettle root or placebo daily. The herbal treatment led to a modest reduction in symptoms of BPH, such as difficult urination, incomplete emptying of the bladder, and a frequent urge to urinate. The most novel finding in the study was saw palmetto's effect on prostate swelling which improved to a statistically significant degree. Using two different tests (Prostate MRI and ultrasound-guided biopsy), researchers concluded that the most marked effects were on the epithelial tissue, especially in the inner part of the prostate. Although researchers have not determined exactly how saw palmetto works, a hormonal action has been ruled out. This is especially good news for men who have tried conventional therapies for BPH and experienced a decline in sex drive and performance.

According to Dr. Leonard Marks, the study's lead investigator and clinical associate professor in the Department of Urology with the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine, "The 21 participants who supplemented their diet with saw palmetto were satisfied with the results. In fact, 19 elected to continue supplementing after the study concluded. I believe urologists may now consider saw palmetto a viable, natural, alternative treatment for many men with BPH."

Krista Morien, Herb Research NewsSaw Palmetto Shrinks Enlarged Prostate Tissue

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