Saw palmetto, a widely used herbal preparation, may be no more effective than placebo in reducing the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), according to a US study. Bent and colleagues conducted a year-long, randomised controlled double-blind study in 225 men, aged over 49 years of age, with moderate-to-severe symptoms of BPH, comparing the effects of a saw palmetto extract (160 mg twice a day) with placebo. Both placebo and saw palmetto led to a similar small, clinically insignificant reduction in lower urinary tract symptoms. The researchers could not address the possibility of whether the level of active ingredient in the extract used was insufficient in this study as this ingredient, if it exists, has not been identified.
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