Saw Palmetto For Hair Loss: How To Use, Dosage, And Side Effects

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Shruti Chavan, MBBS Dermatologist
Written by Sindhu Koganti

Have you been using too many chemical-laden products for hair loss but saw no results? How about trying something natural? Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is believed to slow down and even reverse hair fall. The Native Americans had used it centuries ago to treat many ailments. The fruit of this plant is thought to stimulate hair growth in men and women. Here, we discuss what research states about the benefits of saw palmetto for hair loss. We also explore its usage, ideal dose, and potential side effects you must be wary of.

How Does Saw Palmetto Help Curb Hair Loss?

Research on the benefits of saw palmetto for hair loss is limited. In one study, topical products containing saw palmetto extract helped treat male androgenetic alopecia (permanent hair loss on the scalp) (1). Saw palmetto might inhibit the action of 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme that can lead to male pattern baldness by converting testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone)  (2), (3). The formation of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is one major cause of hair loss. DHT attaches itself to the hair follicles and blocks their nourishment. More information on the use of saw palmetto as a drug for reversing hair loss is warranted.

Saw palmetto’s anti-inflammatory properties might also help treat hair loss (4). This herb is available in various forms for use.

What Forms Is Saw Palmetto Available In?

Saw palmetto is available as tablets, powdered capsules, and liquid extracts. It is also available as whole dried fruit or fruit preparations (used in making tea or water extracts) and tinctures.

In the following section, we will explore how you can use this herb for promoting hair health.

 How To Use Saw Palmetto?

1. Saw Palmetto And Olive Oil

An oil massage improves blood circulation and nourishes your hair follicles. Olive oil has excellent nutritional and conditioning properties that can improve hair and follicular health (5). You can use this remedy thrice a week.

You Will Need

  • 6-8 drops of saw palmetto oil
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Process
  1. Mix both the oils in a bowl.
  2. Heat the mixture for a couple of seconds until it is slightly warm.
  3. Rub the oil mixture into your scalp with your fingertips.
  4. Massage your scalp for about 15 minutes.
  5. Leave the mixture on for about another 30 minutes.
  6. Wash your hair with a mild sulfate-free shampoo.
  7. Let your hair air dry.

2. Saw Palmetto Extract

This extract may help minimize the production of DHT and reduce hair loss (3).

You Will Need

  • 4 drops of saw palmetto extract
  • 1 teaspoon of warm water
Process
  1. Dilute the saw palmetto extract with warm water.
  2. Massage the solution into your scalp.
  3. Leave the extract on for an hour
  4. Wash your hair with a mild sulfate-free shampoo.
  5. Let your hair air dry.

3. Pumpkin Seed Oil And Saw Palmetto

Pumpkin seed oil may also help block DHT production (6). It also may help stimulate hair regrowth (7).

You Will Need

  • 6-8 drops of saw palmetto oil
  • 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seed oil
Process
  1. Mix both the oils in a bowl.
  2. Heat the oil mixture for a couple of seconds until it is slightly warm.
  3. Rub the oil into your scalp with your fingertips.
  4. Massage your scalp for about 15 minutes.
  5. Leave the oil on for an additional 30 minutes.
  6. Wash your hair with a mild sulfate-free shampoo.
  7. Let your hair air dry.

4. Jaborandi And Saw Palmetto

Jaborandi is a well-known homeopathic remedy for hair loss. Extracts of jaborandi leaves contain pilocarpine that may help combat hair loss (8). However, more research is warranted in this regard.

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of jaborandi oil
  • 6-8 drops of saw palmetto oil
Process
  1. Mix both the oils in a bowl.
  2. Heat the oil blend for a couple of seconds until it is slightly warm.
  3. Rub the blend into your scalp with your fingertips.
  4. Massage your scalp for about 15 minutes.
  5. Leave the oil on for an additional 30 minutes.
  6. Wash your hair with a mild sulfate-free shampoo.
  7. Let your hair air dry.

5. Saw Palmetto And Aloe Vera

Aloe vera helps maintain the pH balance of your scalp and strengthens your hair follicles. Its antimicrobial properties may help soothe scalp itching or aggravation (9).

You Will Need

  • 2 teaspoons of ground saw palmetto
  • 1 tablespoon of pure aloe vera gel (extracted from the leaf or store-bought)
Process
  1. Mix the aloe vera and this, add 2 teaspoons of ground saw palmetto.
  2. Apply this mixture to the affected areas on your scalp.
  3. Leave the mixture on for 15 minutes and rinse with cool water.
  4. Optionally, you can also rinse your hair with a mild sulfate-free shampoo. Ensure you do not shampoo your hair more than thrice a week.

In addition to topical application, consuming saw palmetto may also help treat hair loss. It is important to take the herb in the right dosage.

Saw Palmetto Dosage For Hair Loss

Saw palmetto seems to be more effective when taken as a fruit or supplement. The recommended dosage of a saw palmetto supplement in adults is 160 mg twice a day (3). Consult your doctor before taking any supplements.

How Long Does Saw Palmetto Take To Treat Hair Loss?

You need to use saw palmetto regularly for 2-3 months to see any significant results. However, in some cases, the results may take up to a year to show. This information is based on anecdotal evidence.

Saw palmetto may also cause side effects in some cases. You must know them before you start using it.

Side Effects And Precautions

Saw palmetto is generally considered safe. A high intake of saw palmetto for a long time may cause mild headaches, nausea, vomiting, and stomach upset (10), (11). It also may increase the risk of bleeding (12). Avoid intake before surgery. Consult your doctor. The safety of saw palmetto during pregnancy or breastfeeding is yet to be studied. Stay safe and avoid use.

There is some concern that saw palmetto might cause liver damage in certain individuals (13). It also may reduce the levels of prostate-specific antigen in males, making the early detection of prostate cancer difficult (14).

Saw palmetto might also interact with a few medications, including blood thinners like warfarin. Do not take the herb along with blood thinners (15).

Conclusion

Saw palmetto is an ancient herbal remedy with many benefits. This traditional medicine can help slow down and even reverse hair fall. It may work in ways similar to certain hair loss medications. However, consult your doctor before using saw palmetto. The herb may cause certain side effects. More importantly, focus on improving your dietary and sleep habits – these can give you sustainable results.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Check out our editorial policy for further details.

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Sindhu Koganti is a Biotechnology graduate and has been in the writing field for over 4 years now. She specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. She has hands-on experience in writing articles and press releases on Life Sciences and Healthcare, Food and Beverages, and Chemicals and Materials. When she’s not writing, she loves watching movies and listening to music. She also enjoys traveling.