Saw palmetto is taken to ease the symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy, according to WebMD. It is also taken for infections of the prostate. When used with other herbs, saw palmetto is used to treat prostate cancer.
Some medical professionals believe that saw palmetto shrinks the prostate's inner lining and relieves the pressure that's put on the ureters, claims WebMD. Researchers claim that a patient who takes saw palmetto for two months before prostate surgery has a lower rate of complications. He also spends less time in the hospital.
Saw palmetto may delay the need for a man to have prostate surgery in the first place, according to Drugs.com. Western medicine has used saw palmetto since at least the late 19th century. Most people tolerate saw palmetto well.
People also take saw palmetto for respiratory maladies such as coughs, colds, asthma, sore throat and chronic bronchitis, according to WebMD. It's also taken for chronic pelvic pain and to ease the pain and other symptoms of migraine headache, though there's not enough evidence as of 2015 to claim that saw palmetto works with these conditions. Saw palmetto is also used as a sedative, an aphrodisiac and as a diuretic. Some people take this supplement to treat baldness.