Is Saw palmetto compatible with breastfeeding? Do we have alternatives for Saw palmetto?

Saw palmetto

October 9, 2016 (Low Risk)

The fruits from this palm tree with a high content of fatty acids (oleic, lauric, myristic, linoleic and linolenic acids) are used. They also contain flavonoids and phytosterols (beta-sitosterol) that exert both an antiandrogenic and estrogenic action

It is used for treatment of prostate hyperplasia. Also used, however on a poor scientific basis, for treatment of androgenic alopecia and hirsutism (Murugusundram 2009, Rossi 2012, Wessagowit 2016)..

It has been related to some problems such as hormonal disruption when it was used in girls (Morabito 2015), but mostly without serious side effects (Agbabiaka 2009).

At latest update no published data on excretion into breast milk were found.

No likely risk when topically used, whenever it is not applied on the chest.
A moderate consumption would not represent a risk while breastfeeding. It may be prudent to avoid using it during the neonatal period (within first month after birth) and in cases of prematurity.

Cautions when taking herbal teas:
1. Make sure it is obtained from a reliable source: reportedly, poisonings have occurred due to confusion after using another plant with toxic effects, some others contain heavy metals that may cause poisoning and others may cause food poisoning due to contamination with bacteria or fungi.
2. Do not take it excessively. "Natural" products are not always good in any amount: plants contain active substances from which are made many compounds of our traditional pharmacopoeia that can cause poisoning if consumed in exaggerated quantities or for long periods.

Very Low Risk

Compatible. Not risky for breastfeeding or infant.

Low Risk

Moderately safe. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.

High Risk

Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use a safer alternative. Read the Comment.

Very High Risk

Not recommended. Cessation of breastfeeding or alternative.


  • Palma enana americana
  • Palmera de Florida


  • Sabalis serrulatae fructus (Latin, botanical name)
  • Sabal serrulata (Latin, botanical name)
  • Sabal texana (Latin, botanical name)
  • Serenoa repens (Latin, botanical name)
  • Serenoa serrulata (Latin, botanical name)
  • Пальма Сереноа (Cyrillic)


  1. Wessagowit V, Tangjaturonrusamee C, Kootiratrakarn T, Bunnag T, Pimonrat T, Muangdang N, Pichai P. Treatment of male androgenetic alopecia with topical products containing Serenoa repens extract. Australas J Dermatol. 2016Abstract
  2. EMA. Saw palmetto fruit. Herbal medicine: summary for the public. 2016 Full text (in our servers)
  3. Morabito P, Miroddi M, Giovinazzo S, Spina E, Calapai G. Serenoa repens as an Endocrine Disruptor in a 10-Year-Old Young Girl: A New Case Report. Pharmacology. 2015Abstract
  4. EMA. Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC). Serenoa Repens Herbal Monograph. 2013 Full text (in our servers)
  5. Rossi A, Mari E, Scarno M, Garelli V, Maxia C, Scali E, Iorio A, Carlesimo M. Comparitive effectiveness of finasteride vs Serenoa repens in male androgenetic alopecia: a two-year study. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2012Abstract
  6. Murugusundram S. Serenoa Repens: Does It have Any Role in the Management of Androgenetic Alopecia? J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2009Abstract
  7. Agbabiaka TB, Pittler MH, Wider B, Ernst E. Serenoa repens (saw palmetto): a systematic review of adverse events. Drug Saf. 2009Abstract