Saw Palmetto Complex The saw palmetto is a short, scrubby palm that grows in the coastal plain of Florida and other southeastern states. Its fan-shaped leaves have sharp, saw-toothed edges that give the plant its name. Dense clumps of saw palmetto can form an impenetrable thicket. The abundant 2-cm-long berries are harvested from the wild in the fall and are dried for medicinal use. While native medicinal use of saw palmetto is not recorded, it was introduced into Western medical practice in the 1870s. It is used primarily for its activity in benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Saw palmetto is used to treat symptoms of BPH, including reducing urinary frequency, increasing urinary flow, and decreasing nighttime urination. Saw palmetto may delay the need for prostate surgery. The mechanism of action of saw palmetto is unknown.