In our time formulating plant-based supplements that help support hair health, we’ve come across some interesting names. Case in point: saw palmetto. This incredible, natural ingredient is used in a variety of hair care products and supplements — including ours.
What is saw palmetto, anyways? Is it sawdust? Palm oil? No, neither!
In this post, we’ll give you all the details on saw palmetto, including where it comes from and what it can do, specifically for women’s bodies.
What is Saw Palmetto?
Saw palmetto is an herbal medicine with a long history. Derived from the berries of the saw palmetto plant, this natural extract is becoming increasingly popular as an herbal supplement for combating hair loss and supporting hair growth.
Native to the southeastern regions of the United States, saw palmetto is a small shrub with fan-shaped leaves and clusters of dark purple berries. The berries, also referred to as palmetto fruits, are rich in essential nutrients, which contribute to their hair-boosting properties. To harness these benefits, palmetto fruit extract is carefully extracted from the berries — that’s what you’ll find in saw palmetto supplements or when saw palmetto is included within a multi-ingredient formula, like ours.
Also known as serenoa repens extract, saw palmetto extract derived from palmetto berries is a mild ingredient for most users, not known to interfere with any other medications. That’s what makes it such an attractive herbal medicines resource for hair growth because while it is mild, it is exceptionally hard working.
What Can Saw Palmetto Do For Hair Growth?
On that note, let’s unpack some of the key benefits of saw palmetto. Now, saw palmetto fruit extract is frequently targeted toward men, because of its potential to alleviate lower urinary tract symptoms brought on by an enlarged prostate. There is a growing amount of evidence supporting the idea that saw palmetto can both alleviate urinary symptoms and treat benign prostatic hyperplasia by shrinking the prostate gland.
But how about saw palmetto in women? What can this compound do for women’s hair loss?
Inhibits the Production of DHT
One of the key reasons why saw palmetto is gaining recognition in the realm of women's hair health is its potential to inhibit the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), one of your androgen hormones and one that is specifically linked to hair loss. By blocking the conversion of testosterone into DHT, palmetto extracts may help prevent hair follicle shrinkage and promote healthier, fuller hair growth.
Blocking DHT production is key in cases of female pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia), which are just as common as cases of male pattern hair loss, but less talked about. In both conditions, saw palmetto can be just as effective as the widely prescribed finasteride — but when it comes to the palmetto herbal blend, it can do so without the sexual side effects.
What’s more, saw palmetto extracts are believed to possess anti-inflammatory properties, which can be beneficial for the scalp. An irritated scalp can impede hair growth and contribute to hair loss, making the soothing effects of palmetto extract particularly valuable.
When it comes to the hair growth cycle, inflammation, stress, and friction can do sincere damage to both hair follicles and future growth. So by reducing inflammation and calming the scalp, saw palmetto can help create a favorable environment for stronger, more resilient hair.
What that means is whether you’re dealing with genetic hair loss from androgenic alopecia or stress-related hair loss from injury or inflammation, the saw palmetto herb can help bring you back to neutral.
Is It Safe For Women to Take Saw Palmetto?
Like we said, the saw palmetto berry extract has been studied more thoroughly for men, rather than women because of its potential to treat symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. But there’s growing evidence that saw palmetto can help with female pattern baldness, hormonal acne, and a number of other conditions specific to women’s bodies.
For most women, saw palmetto is well tolerated and perfectly safe.
However, we do want to caution that pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take saw palmetto. As this traditional herbal medicine specifically targets hormone health, saw palmetto has the potential to interfere with the natural hormones your body needs to be producing during that time.
Last Thoughts on Saw Palmetto
Wondering how much saw palmetto you should take as a natural hair supplement? We’re partial to seeking out products that include saw palmetto at safe volumes, so you can reap the benefits of this fruit extract, with peace of mind that you’re not overdoing it.
Both Wellbel Women and Wellbel Men contain saw palmetto and every day we hear encouraging stories from our community about what this powerhouse ingredient can do, alongside our full formula of plant-based, clean ingredients for hair health. For more information, check out our FAQs here.