HerbalGram publishes extensive review on saw palmetto

The review, "The Historical Interplay of Plant Biology, Trade, and Human Interactions with Saw Palmetto," explores the plant’s history of use, trade, conservation concerns, ecology, and biology, as well as its historical food uses and medicinal uses.

The American Botanical Council (ABC; Austin, TX) published an extensive review of saw palmetto in the winter issue of HerbalGram by herbal expert, author, and photographer Steven Foster. The review, "The Historical Interplay of Plant Biology, Trade, and Human Interactions with Saw Palmetto," explores the plant’s history of use, trade, conservation concerns, ecology, and biology, as well as its historical food uses and medicinal uses.

“Saw palmetto is one of the most important native American medicinal plants in the United States and international herb trade,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of ABC and editor-in-chief of HerbalGram, in a press release. “This fascinating and detailed article covers almost every aspect of saw palmetto, except for much of the scientific and human clinical research. This article does not deal with the many clinical trials and at least 10 meta-analyses, as they have appeared in numerous other peer-reviewed publications. Steven Foster’s information-rich article covers other ground, and it includes information never before published elsewhere. It is the seminal article which most future saw palmetto articles should cite. ABC salutes our good friend Steven for his massive undertaking and unprecedented contribution to the botanical literature.”

Foster explains in his article about supply being wild harvesting, reaching nearly seven million pounds of dried berries annually, making it North America’s highest volume wild-harvested herbal ingredient. He says the long-term effects of climate change, rising sea levels, and various human activities leading to habitat loss, may impact the long-term sustainability of harvest.

“My decades-long intrigue with saw palmetto was inspired and encouraged by my late friend Marlin Huffman (1938–2002) of Plantation Botanicals, Inc., Felda, Florida to whom I dedicate the article,” Foster said in a press release. “As a saw palmetto entrepreneur, in the 1990s he did more than almost anyone else to stimulate research on the plant and its biology.”