Saw palmetto is a plant with small berries found in nature across the U.S. For years, it was used by Native Americans as food and medicine. It is believed that saw palmetto treats hair loss, bladder infections, and enlarged prostates.

Evidence on the effectiveness of saw palmetto for hair loss is limited. But the initial research and reviews are promising.

So how does it work?

Saw palmetto may block the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. If you are unfamiliar with DHT, DHT is responsible for scalp hair loss in many individuals. You can read more about DHT here.

Saw palmetto works similarly to prescription medications that work to block DHT, such as finasteride.

If you are interested in trying saw palmetto, you can find it in four different forms: whole dried berries, tablets, liquid extract, and powdered capsules. The research studies that have been done used tablet and capsule forms of the natural medicine in their patients.

Due to the increased research on saw palmetto for treating hair loss, there are now some shampoos and conditioners that contain the plant extract.

Because of the side effects of saw palmetto, you should be cautious of drug interactions. Because the natural remedy acts similarly to finasteride, therefore the two should not be taken together. Additionally, saw palmetto may cause the blood to thin which causes increased bleeding. Make sure to inform your doctor before any procedures or new medications are prescribed.

Should you use it?

Saw palmetto may be a great natural remedy option to halt hair loss and promote hair growth. This plant extract works similarly to finasteride but is not as strong as the hair loss prescription drug.

Don’t expect a miracle. If you have just recently begun noticing hair loss or thinning, then saw palmetto may be a good option for you. But if you’ve been experiencing hair loss for some time, the plant extract is unlikely to be beneficial. Remember that once a hair follicle dies, there is no bringing it back to life.

For those with prolonged hair loss, you may need to take a more aggressive course of action. Read up on alternative methods of hair restoration here.