Saw palmetto is a type of palm tree. Its berries contain an oily compound, which is extracted and formulated into capsules and softgels. The extract from saw palmetto berries has been used extensively for the relief of urinary symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a non-cancerous swelling of the prostate gland in men. It occurs in greater than 50% of men over the age of 50. Common symptoms of BPH include decreased force of urine stream, hesitancy, post-void dribbling, sensation of incomplete bladder emptying, overflow incontinence, inability to stop urine flow, increased urinary frequency, and irritation.
Nettle root is derived from the root of the nettle plant. Although it has been studied less, nettle root exhibits activity similar to saw palmetto. A recent study published in the World Journal of Urology reported that men who took a supplement twice daily containing a combination of saw palmetto extract and nettle root extract for 24 weeks had a greater reduction in urinary symptoms than men who took a placebo. The incidence of side effects was low and similar in both groups.