Drugs like finasteride (Proscar) and tamsulosin (Flomax) are often prescribed. Debate has gone back and forth about the benefits of these drugs when compared to the natural herb, saw palmetto (Serenoa repens). But a new meta-analysis of 27 studies published between 1983 and 2016 involving 5,800 men firmly demonstrates the benefit of this herbal treatment over pharmaceutical approaches.
All of the studies employed 320 mg of saw palmetto extract. This berry fruit was compared to a placebo, alpha-blockers like tamsulosin and to 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors like finasteride. Compared to the placebo, saw palmetto significantly reduced the number of times men woke up during the night to urinate (64% less often) and urine flow increased significantly. Compared to alpha-blockers, the International Prostate Symptom Scores (IPSS) improved more with saw palmetto than the drug. Compared to the 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, the saw palmetto extract significantly improved IPSS, urine flow, night time awakening, quality of life, and actually reduced (shrunk) the enlarged prostate. A huge benefit associated with the berry is that there was no sexual functioning side effects (loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, etc.) as is common with the drugs.
Researchers recommended that the natural herb "be considered as a treatment option in the next update of LUTS (Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms associated with BPH) treatment guidelines." Recommending a natural, herbal solution for a disease over a drug approach is something the medical community seldom does, so this is a milestone! For more information on ways disease can be prevented, see chapter 23 in my book, There's An Elephant in the Room--Exposing Hidden Truths in the Science of Health.