Saw palmetto is a small palm tree that can grow to a height of up to 3 meters. They are common in the subtropical areas of Southeastern United States.
According to the study conducted by the The Australasian College of Dermatologists on May 25, 2015, saw palmetto may work for hair loss [R].
Male androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss in men, affecting 30 to 50 percent of the male population over 50 years of age. 5-α reductase inhibitor drugs are administered in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia, and the extract of Serenoa repens or saw palmetto has been found to inhibit two types of 5-α reductase, resulting in increased hair growth.
The clinical trial involved 50 male volunteers between the ages of 20 and 50 years old who were asked to apply topical products containing saw palmetto extract for about 24 weeks. There was no placebo testing done. The effectiveness of the extract was primarily measured by hair count in a 2.54 cm square area after 24 weeks. Additionally, it was also observed if the extract had no adverse side effects or if the patients felt increased hair growth with its usage.
At the end of the clinical study, it was found that the average and terminal hair count of the patients have significantly increased at weeks 12 and 24. This shows that saw palmetto extract can be a viable alternative treatment because it does not have the adverse side effects of synthetic and standard androgenetic alopecia medication. However, continued use of more than 4 weeks is necessary to sustain the effectiveness of the extract.