Nettle: The Stinging Plant with Surprising Health Benefits

Urtica dioica AKA Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle has a long history of use. The tough fibers from the plant stem have been used to make cloth, and cooked Nettle leaves were eaten as vegetables. From ancient Greece to the present, Stinging Nettle has been documented for its use in treating coughs, tuberculosis, and arthritis, as well as stimulating hair growth. Medieval monks would flagellate themselves with Stinging Nettles for penance. This same action had been employed by Roman soldiers to warm themselves and to help them better adapt to the cold, damp, English climate during their occupation. During World War II, Stinging Nettles were used in green camouflage paint.

Called Stinging Nettle because of the needle-like hairs on the leaves that inject a mixture of histamine and formic acid. This same mix is an aid to treat the pain of arthritis and rheumatism.

Herb With High Vitamin K

Nettle is an herb very high in vitamin K, which guards against excessive bleeding. Nettle improves kidney function by neutralizing uric acid, preventing its crystallization, and aiding in its elimination from the system. Thus relieving gout and arthritis. Nettle is useful as a tea for anemic children, due to its nutritive value. It’s also high in minerals such as iron, calcium, sulfur, sodium, copper, manganese, chromium, and silicon. Do you know what could help stop bleeding and to reduce menses flow? Nettle as an astringent! Nettle is also a blood purifier and assists in lowering blood pressure.

It can be used in tincture form for hypothyroid conditions to increase thyroid function thus reducing obesity.

Nature’s Way Nettle Leaf – Get Yours Here.

For arthritic and rheumatic problems nettle can be used internally and externally. As a tea, nettle reduces inflammation in the joints.  Externally, fresh nettles brushed over painful areas are effective in reducing pain. A tea of nettles also helps relieve the symptoms of asthma, diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoids, and hemorrhages; a diuretic for mucous conditions of the lungs and scorbutic affections (scurvy).

Nettle’s Active Constituents

There has been a great deal of controversy regarding the identity of Nettle’s active constituents, but primary chemical constituents found in Stinging Nettle are said to include formic acid, betaine, histamine, acetylcholine, glucoquinone, chlorogenic acid, mucilage, tannin, silica, beta carotene, calcium, iron, chlorophyll, and choline. Currently, it is believed that polysaccharides (complex sugars) and lectins (large protein-sugar molecules) are probably the most active constituents.

Stinging nettle root is attracting new research interest. German health authorities allow root preparations of stinging nettle to be used for symptomatic relief of urinary difficulties associated with early stages of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), although they don’t decrease enlargement of the prostate. The root preparation increases urinary output and decreases the urge to urinate at night. Studies suggest that the root extract may inhibit interaction between a growth factor and its receptor in the prostate. Patients must consult a physician regularly for proper monitoring of the treatment.


Little Herb Encyclopedia, by Jack Ritchason; N.D., Woodland Publishing Incorporated, 1995
The Ultimate Healing System, Course Manual, Copyright 1985, Don Lepore
Planetary Herbology, Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., Lotus Press, 1988
Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, by James A. Duke, Pub. CRP Second Edition 2007
The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Published by Dorling Kindersley

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