Stinging nettle has a long medicinal history. It has fine hairs on the leaves and stems that contain irritating chemicals that are released when the plant comes in contact with the skin. Nettle is available as dried leaf, freeze-dried leaf, extract, capsules and as a root tincture. The root appears to have different pharmacological effects than the leaves.
Features & Benefits
- Widely used in Europe to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
- Studies suggest nettle, in combination with other herbs (particularly saw palmetto), may be effective at relieving symptoms of BPH such as reduced urinary flow, incomplete emptying of the bladder, post urination dripping and the constant urge to urinate
- Helps to reduce seasonal allergy (hay fever) symptoms. Researchers believe this may be due to nettle’s ability to reduce the amount of histamine the body produces in response to an allergen
- May help to improve endurance, boost energy and fight fatigue
- Leaves and stems of nettle have been used historically to treat arthritis and for sore muscles
Suggestions & Precautions
- For Hay Fever, some practitioners recommend taking a freeze-dried preparation well before hay fever season starts
- Occasional side effects include mild stomach upset, fluid retention, and hives or rash (mainly from topical use)
- Because nettle can alter the menstrual cycle and may contribute to miscarriage, pregnant women should never use nettle
- Stinging nettle may affect the blood’s ability to clot and could interfere with blood-thinning drugs
- There may be additional interactions with other drugs. It is always advisable to consult a health care professional before taking nettle.