Serenoa serrulata/S. repens
Saw Palmetto is a creeping palm that is native to Florida, parts of Mexico and the Caribbean. Native Americans used it as food and medicine and made medicine collection baskets from the leaf stalk fibres. The leaves were also used to thatch houses and for weaving mats and hats. The olive like berries provided deliciously sweet treats that were appreciated by wo/man and animals alike. For medicinal purposes, Native Americans mostly used the root bark and leaves, unlike modern phytotherapy, which utilises the berries. The uses of the berries have mostly been studied in Europe rather than the US. Saw Palmetto has recently caught the attention of the press as some questionable US studies claim that Saw Palmetto does not live up to its reputation to alleviate the symptoms of benign prostate enlargement (which is in stark contrast to dozens of European studies).
Native Americans used the roots of Saw Palmetto as a lotion for sore eyes, or made a decoction for kidney trouble. The dried root was used for high blood pressure. Boiled with bramble briar it was a remedy for stomach ache. They also considered it aphrodisiac. Modern phytotherapy has discovered a whole different range of applications for the berries, which have long been used as an effective remedy for stage I and stage II benign hyperplasia of the prostate gland, a condition which affects 50% of men over 50 and 80% of men over 80. It is marked by frequent urge to urinate, yet inability to completely empty the bladder. Saw Palmetto fruit eases these symptoms, though the effects are not immediate. Rather, they become noticeable after about 45 days of continued use. The effectiveness is said to be the same as that of standard medication. Side effects are rare, but some individuals have reported minor digestive troubles. Saw Palmetto can also help women: Due to hormonal substances present in the fruit it is said to reduce uterine cysts, increase breast size and reduce female facial hair growth (hirsutism). Men may also benefit from the aphrodisiac effect. It has been used for bronchitis and cough and is also given as a tonic for general malaise or as an aid for convalescence. It should be noted that the active compounds are not water soluble.
Saw Palmetto berries can be enjoyed as an aphrodisiac. In the Caribbean an aphrodisiac liqueur is made by macerating the berries in Gin. Various spices may be added and sweetened with honey. Liqueurs like this can be enjoyed as a ritual cup for sex magic or tantric rituals. The berries may also be used in charms for love and lust.