The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Archive for the 'Saw Palmetto' Category

    Failure of saw palmetto to reduce BPH symptoms

    Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

    Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) fruit extracts are used for treat lower urinary tract symptoms attributed to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

    Researchers in the Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Urological Symptoms (CAMUS) Study Group report the response to increasing doses. (more…)

    Risk of drug interactions with dietary supplements

    Monday, September 12th, 2011

    Researchers in the US reviewed the incidence and severity of potential interactions between prescription medicine and dietary supplements. (more…)

    Risk of death and the use of supplements

    Friday, June 3rd, 2011

    Researchers at the University of Washington, in Seattle, evaluated whether 13 vitamin and mineral supplements and glucosamine, chondroitin, saw palmetto, Ginkgo biloba, garlic, fish-oil, and fiber supplements were associated with total mortality.

    The results with glucosamine and chondroitin are most interesting. (more…)

    Do we overhype drug-supplement interactions?

    Sunday, March 13th, 2011

    Real and hypothetical concerns exist.

    Dr. Mark Moyad (photo), who is Director of Preventive and Alternative Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, puts it into perspective. (more…)

    Risk of taking herbals in people with heart disease

    Monday, April 5th, 2010

    Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and Arizona collaborated to review the risks of herbal:drug interactions.

    The abstract is a bit skimpy on details, but the American Pharmaceutical Association has a nice summary, which will be summarized further here. (more…)

    Drug-herbal interaction review

    Saturday, March 20th, 2010

    Prof. Ernst reviewed popular herbal medicines.

    It’s a long list. (more…)

    Does published research affect supplement sales?

    Friday, October 9th, 2009

    It depends on what’s being reported.

    Researchers from the National Institutes of Health and Mayo Clinic reviewed sales of 5 popular supplements in light of emerging negative evidence. (more…)

    Supplements and prostate health

    Sunday, August 16th, 2009

    Is there benefit in prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and prostatitis? (more…)

    Safety review of popular herbal products

    Saturday, July 25th, 2009

    Dr. Darrell Hulisz from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio reviews popular herbals.

    Let’s focus on safety issues. (more…)

    Key points about commonly used herbals

    Sunday, July 5th, 2009

    Dr. Darrell Hulisz from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio has written a continuing education article on herbals.

    Here are the author’s take-away points, with additional references added. (more…)

    The STEP report on saw palmetto safety

    Saturday, January 24th, 2009

    STEP stands for “Saw palmetto for Treatment of Enlarged Prostates.” (more…)

    Most commonly used natural products

    Sunday, January 18th, 2009

    Here’s a follow-up to an earlier post on the use of CAM in the US in 2007 as surveyed by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). (more…)

    Review of herbal medicines in gynecology

    Thursday, August 28th, 2008

    Dr. Cathi Dennehy from the Department of Clinical Pharmacy at the University of California San Francisco has reviewed the evidence.

    I was surprised by her assessment of black cohosh for menopausal symptoms.

    Here’s a summary of her findings.


    Saw palmetto-induced pancreatitis?

    Thursday, July 10th, 2008

    A case of pancreatitis in a 55-year-old man with alcoholism who had been sober for more than 15 years was published in the Southern Medical Journal. The authors make a circumstantial case for his ongoing use of saw palmetto and the occurrence of pancreatitis.


    The next big issue facing dietary supplements — You be the CEO

    Thursday, August 9th, 2007

    Dr. Mark Moyad (photo) is Director of Preventive and Alternative Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor. His thoughts about the FDA’s plan to establish good manufacturing regulations for dietary supplements are published in Urology Times.

    He also looks to the next big issue that will confront the supplement industry.

    Once you know the issues, you can play the role of the pharmaceutical executive and decide if your product “Best Prostate Health” should be withdrawn from the market. (more…)

    A critical review of herbals to treat anxiety and depression

    Monday, July 16th, 2007

    In 2003, Professor Edzard Ernst writing on the Cochrane Collaboration website concluded, “Compared with placebo, kava extract is an effective symptomatic treatment for anxiety although, at present, the size of the effect seems small.” (more…)

    The most commonly used vitamins and herbals

    Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

    These data are from a telephone survey of more than 2500 randomly sampled noninstitutionalized Americans, which was published in 2002. The tables can also be found here. (more…)

    Saw palmetto withdrawn from the market in Denmark

    Friday, October 27th, 2006

    In February, the Danish Ministry for Family and Consumer Affairs withdrew food supplements containing saw palmetto because of concerns about its effect on the hormone system coupled with a lack of data about its safety in long-term use.

    Dr. Kirsten Pilegaard, PhD, senior advisor for the Danish Institute for Food and Veterinary Research stated, “On the basis of the information available, it is not possible to establish a dose that does not give rise to concern.”


    More criticism of NCCAM

    Monday, July 31st, 2006

    Earlier this year a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine reported, “saw palmetto did not improve symptoms or objective measures of benign prostatic hyperplasia.” The results were interesting in light of the fact that the weight of the medical literature supports the value of saw palmetto for this condition.