Saw palmetto

Historical note Saw palmetto was used traditionally as a treatment for urogenital irritations, impotence and male infertility, among other conditions, and was described by the American Eclectic physicians as the 'old man's friend'. Between 1 906 and 1 917 saw palmetto was listed in the US Pharmacopoeia and between 1 926 and 1 950 it was in the National Formulary as a treatment for urogenital ailments; however, it fell out of favour for several decades as pharmaceutical medicines came to the forefront of mainstream medicine. Not so in Europe where, in the 1960s, French researchers began to chemically analyse the saw palmetto berry, and a breakthrough lipophilic preparation was eventually developed and subjected to countless clinical trials.

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