Saw Palmetto for Moodiness in Women

Saw Palmetto for Moodiness in Women
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Causes of Moodiness in Women

Mood swings can result from stress and hormonal imbalance. In women, reproductive events, such as pregnancy, menopause, and even menstruation, can cause fluctuations in moods. When estrogen and other hormones reach an abnormal level, the production of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that manipulates mood, is affected. A decrease or increase in serotonin has a direct affect in a person’s mood. For perimenopausal women, moodiness is common because of the menopausal symptoms that can be stressful such as hot flashes, fatigue, and insomnia.

How to Treat Moodiness

There are several ways to improve moodiness. Eating foods rich in complex carbohydrates such as peas and beans helps raise the serotonin levels. Exercising is also one way to curb mood swings. Engaging in physical activities (i.e, yoga, aerobics, sports), can help focus one’s energy and restore unhealthy sleep patterns that usually create anxiety and irritability. Natural medicines such as meditation, massage, accupuncture, and yoga are also preferred by some to get rid of stress and to feel rejuvenated.

New discoveries were made on several herbs that can effectively fight off mood swings. Kava-kava, hops, and black cohosh are some of the herbal medicines that were proven to balance moods. Saw palmetto, a kind of shrub that is native to the eastern part of the United States, is also known to prevent fluctuating moods. The use of saw palmetto for moodiness in women is typically safe, as it does not cause serious side effects unlike some medication.

Uses of Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto is a shrub that grows to a maximum height of 10 feet. It has lush, green leaves that are “saw-toothed”, hence the name. Its leaves form into clusters that are usually up to two feet in length. This shrub has yellow berries that turn bluish-black when ripe. The dried berries are typically used for medicinal purposes.

Since the early 1900s, Native Americans, like the Seminole tribe of Florida, have been using the fruit of saw palmetto medicinally. This small palm tree is proven to offer numerous benefits for the health. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the medical conditions that saw palmetto is used for include:

  • enlarged prostate gland
  • urinary problems
  • chronic pelvic pains
  • hormonal imbalance
  • low libido
  • bladder disorders
  • hair loss

For women who are experiencing mood swings, saw palmetto is helpful in balancing the mood by decreasing the levels of estrogen. However, saw palmetto must not be taken while on estrogen pills. This medicinal plant can counter and decrease the effectiveness of estrogen pills.

Dosage and Precautions

The berries of saw palmetto may be eaten whole, dried or ground. The right dosage should not exceed 2 grams each day. Saw palmetto is also available in capsules, tablets, tea or infusion, and liquid extracts. However, taking it in capsule form is more recommended than the tea or liquid extracts. The fatty acids in saw palmetto are not soluble in water, thus tea may not be effective.

Saw palmetto has similar effects to some hormones; thus, women who are pregnant, nursing, have hormone-related cancer, and those taking oral contraceptives are not advised to take this medicinal plant. The hormone-like effects of saw palmetto can make birth control pills less effective, particularly estrogen pills.

Although there are no serious side effects in taking saw palmetto, it is still best to consult a health care provider before considering this type of medication. Taking it could interfere with other herbal medicines or supplements.


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