An article in the recent issue of The New England Journal of Medicine (February 9, 2006 Vol. 354, No. 6) is a prime example of an anti-herbal, anti-nutritional attitude exhibited by the editors. They included a study titled “Saw Palmetto for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia” in which the authors claim “…saw pametto did not improve symptoms or objective measures of benign prostatic hyperplasia.” This article is fraught with so many errors that it should make everyone wonder wheather the editors have a nefarious motive to discredit herbal medicine.
I know, its pretty strong language, but when you include a study of such poor quality that would not be published if it was about a drug, you can be pretty sure that the people who accepted this study for publication are anti-herbal.
First off, the dosage, as usual, was below what any naturopath would recomend to their patient. Second, the authors never verified that what they were giving to the study members was really the active ingredient in saw palmetto. Three of the authors (Drs. Kane, Shinohara and Avins) are also all well-paid consultants and/or are paid speaking fees by pharmaceutical companies that make drugs used to treat BPH. Conflict of interest screams quite loudly in my ears.
They came up with some pretty lame explanations for why this study seems to contradict 30 other studies that did find benefits to saw palmetto supplementation.
All in all, it is pretty sad that what the media reports is one negative study and not the 30 other positive ones. Drug company advertising money?