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Saw Palmetto for Hair Loss: Side Effects and Precautions

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Specialty: Dermatologist ,Hair, Skin, and Nail Disorders

Dr. Shruti Chavan is a consulting dermatologist at Dr.Sheth's Skin and Hair Clinic since 6 years. She is a co-committee member of CDSI (Cosmetic dermatologist Society of India). She is highly skilled in non-surgical facial skin rejuvenation... more

  • How Does Saw Palmetto Help Curb Hair Loss?
  • What Forms Is Saw Palmetto Available In?
  • How To Use Saw Palmetto?
  • Saw Palmetto Dosage For Hair Loss
  • How Long Does Saw Palmetto Take To Treat Hair Loss?
  • Side Effects And Precautions

How Does Saw Palmetto Help Curb Hair Loss?

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No.501 - Frizzy Hair

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) (26010505/' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' >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 palmettos 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

For strong and hydrated hair

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An oil massage improves blood circulation and nourishes your hair follicles. 5' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' >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

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

3. Pumpkin Seed Oil And Saw Palmetto

ishonest No.374 - Blackheads

No.374 - Blackheads

Pumpkin seed oil may also help block DHT production (7725/' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' >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

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

5. Saw Palmetto And Aloe Vera

Volume and structure for your hair

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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)

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?

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No.313 - Prevent Acne

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).

Activates the microcirculation of scalp and strengthens the hair follicles to stimulate hair growth

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


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.

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