Stinging Nettle Does Not Have to Sting
The health benefits of stinging nettle can be attributed to its rich profile of potent antioxidants such as phenolic acids and flavonoids. These compounds promote the health of the cardiovascular system, liver, and reproductive system. Stinging nettle leaves may help reduce inflammation, boost wound healing, and may help conciliate hay fever, allergies, and asthma. Additionally, they strengthen and promote hair growth. You can reap the benefits of stinging nettle by drinking its herbal tea, applying ointment, or taking its supplements. However, excess consumption may lead to a few side effects. Since the safety standards have not been determined, pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult a doctor before consuming it.
Is stinging nettle good for the kidneys?
Yes. The stinging nettle can therapeutic effects toward urinary tract ailments and kidney stones. The flavonoids, anthocyanins, and saponins present in stinging nettle can help inhibit calcium and oxalate deposition
Does stinging nettle interact with medications?
Yes. Using herbal medicines like nettle leaves with anti-inflammatory drugs is not recommended as they may interact with synthetic drugs. Do not take these leaves when you are on painkillers or similar medications without consulting your doctor.
Stinging nettle has been in our herbal medicine repertoire for centuries! And with the advances in modern science, we’ve been able to prove the efficacy of many of the traditional stinging nettle health benefits and medicinal uses.
Today, stinging nettle is most commonly used as the following:
- Nutritive Tonic (very high in minerals!)
- Alterative (works to optimize our processes of metabolism to increase overall health and vitality)
- Alkalinizing Agent (helps to manage low pH and the health effects of having a low body pH)
- Vulnerary (wound healing)
- Urinary Tract Tonic
Here’s a sneak peak into some of the research behind stinging nettle’s more common medicinal applications.
Nettle & Inflammation
Used either internally (as an extract) or externally as a topical cream or ointment, stinging nettle has been used as an anti-inflammatory in the treatment of sprains and strains, joint pain, and even insect bites.
Studies have also shown that nettle acts in a similar way that pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories do in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, suggesting that it may be a safer (without side effects) alternative to traditional arthritis treatments.
And perhaps one of the most interesting uses of stinging nettle is the practice of urtication. Urtication is a traditional therapy that involves applying fresh leaves topically. The welts caused by the sting and irritation of hairs left behind in the skin stimulate circulation and an immune response that may bring healing and pain relief to stiff, rheumatic, or paralyzed limbs.
Nettle & Seasonal Allergies
Beyond its incredible nutrition, stinging nettle’s most well-known use might just be as an anti-allergy. While much more research is needed to understand the exact mechanism, studies have shown that stinging nettle’s anti-inflammatory properties may play a big roll in helping with seasonal allergies.
Stinging nettle’s natural histamine content also works to prevent certain inflammation pathways that can lead to allergy symptoms.
One 2017 study, however, showed nettle to have positive effects on allergy symptoms, but not much more so than the placebo. Albeit, the study was very small (40 people) and only lasted for 30 days. The researchers concluded that the positive results were enough the conduct further studies that were bigger and for longer periods of time.
Nettle is used in a variety of ways to treat seasonal allergies. For example, it can be used as an infusion or tea, freeze-dried in capsules, and as an elixir (an alcohol extract). How much and how often depends on the person and the severity of their symptoms. Alternatively, many herbalists use stinging nettle as a preventative, for a few months or so leading up to the start of allergy season.
Nettle & Prostate Health
Studies have also shown nettle to be an effective treatment for reducing the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH is an enlargement of the prostate gland and is a common condition that effects 90% of men over age 60.
Nettle root has demonstrated to help reduce the obstruction to urinary flow, as well as to decrease the need for nighttime urination.
Nettle & Kidney Health
As a diuretic, nettle may help to promote healthy urination. Accordingly, it’s often used to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs), as well as to help prevent kidney stones.
And in addition to its natural diuretic properties, nettle’s anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory also make it an ideal herbal remedy for UTIs.
Nettle is rich in several different types of antioxidant polyphenols, vitamins A, C, and K, and minerals including iron, manganese, potassium, and calcium. Based on data, stinging nettle is likely one of the richest sources of minerals amongst the plant foods.
Often compared to spinach in taste and versatility, nettle meets all the essential amino acid needs for us humans. Nettle is often referred to as “nature’s vitamin” and it’s not hard to see why.
Soups, stews, wild green pestos, and quiches are all great ways to incorporate nettles into your diet. Nettle also makes delicious tea and it’s easy to sneak into chocolate cake too. It’s a nutrient dense spring tonic uniquely designed by nature to replenish your winter-weary cells.