Extracts from fruits of saw palmetto (Sabal serrulata) and roots of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica): viable alternatives in the medical treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia and associated lower urinary tracts symptoms

Planta Med. 2001 Aug;67(6):489-500. doi: 10.1055/s-2001-16496.


Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and associated lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) are very common disorders in aging men. Despite the great clinical importance, many aspects of their aetiology remain uncertain although it is generally accepted that advanced age and testicular androgens are important requirements for the development of these complaints. The currently available therapeutic options include watchful waiting, changes of life style, medical treatments and invasive therapies. In many European countries the use of phytopharmaceuticals for the management of BPH and related LUTS is common and these products represent up to 80 % of all drugs prescribed for this disorder. In particularly, extracts from the fruits of saw palmetto (Sabal serrulata, syn. Serenoa repens) and the roots of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) are popular. During the last years numerous papers have been published which elaborated on the pharmacological activities and the clinical assessment of these herbal remedies. These investigations have not only broadened the scientific basis for the rational use of phytotherapeutics but have also provided evidence for their therapeutic efficacy and favourable safety profile.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Lectins
  • Magnoliopsida
  • Male
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Lectins
  • Plant Roots
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / drug therapy*
  • Serenoa
  • Urologic Diseases / drug therapy*


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Lectins
  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Lectins
  • stinging nettle lectin
  • saw palmetto extract