Saw Palmetto and Androgenic Hair loss

Because of wide spread hair loss problem, people often first turn to home or herbal remedies for tackling hair loss and regrow their hair back.

Saw Palmetto Overview.

Serenoa repens commonly known as Saw Palmetto. Found primarily in the North American region.  Its berries are used to make medicine. Native Americans have been using Saw Palmetto berries for food and treatment of multitude of illnesses.

Best known for its use as a treatment for BPH symptoms and also used for infection. Colds, coughs, sore throat, asthma, erectile issues, and many more urinary tract related symptoms and diseases.

Saw palmetto safety profile is very good and have very few if any side effects. Mild side effects reported are nausea, headache, vomiting, constipation and diarrhea.

Saw Palmetto is not advised in pregnancy or breast feeding because of its hormone like properties.

As with any medicine, always seek expert advice before starting.

How Saw Palmetto Works:

  • Decreases DHT levels by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase. 5-alpha reductase (5AR) converts testosterone (found in both men and women, more so in men) to DHT or dihydrotestosterone.
  • Inhibit binding of DHT to receptors
  • Promote DHT breakdown

The evidence in androgenic alopecia (AGA):

Research in to hair loss prevention and hair growth is ongoing and promising (click here) and here, especially in the area of Androgenic Alopecia (AGA). In AGA one of the main culprit is increase DHT levels.

The main concept behind the hair loss treatment (AGA) is its ability to block an enzyme (5-alpha-reductase) which converts testosterone to DHT. Increase DHT levels increases prostate size in men and increase levels result in hair loss.  One of the explanation is that DHT attaches to androgenic receptors on follicles and result in their miniaturization (click here).

How to use saw palmetto for hair loss

Note; before deciding on any oral medicine, and or vitamins it is always advised to seek expert opinion.

Oral formulations are available as

160 mg to 320 mg a day as quoted by different medical sources. Many recommend starting at low dosage and then daily increasing but never exceeding 320 mg.

  • Dried whole berries
  • Part of multivitamins
  • Tablets
  • Liquid extracts
  • Powder capsules
  • Syrup
  • Tea

Topical forms


Update: Research have shown that topical Saw Palmetto products can be an alternate to oral treatment, especially in male pattern baldness. Research paper found here.