Stinging Nettle Health Benefits
Stinging nettle is a plant with the scientific name Urtica dioica and it is native to western North America as well as northern Africa, Asia, and Europe. This perennial plant has an extensive history of use and the nettle leaf benefits are extensive. Historically, it has been used for gout, arthritis, eczema, anemia, and general joint pain. It has current uses as well. It is used to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (an enlarged prostate gland) which causes difficulties with urination. It can be used to treat other urinary issues tht are not symptoms of BPH including urinary tract infections and urinary tract inflammation. It has also helped people suffering from hay fever; over half of the patients in one study said it was effective, and almost half said it was more effective than allergy medications.
In one study, stinging nettle improved patients’ scores about 70% when assessing acute arthritis symptoms and stiffness. In another study, participants using nettle leaves reported less pain than the placebo group and this difference remained for a week after treatment. A study done at the University of Plymouth showed a significant reduction in pain for arthritis sufferers.
Stinging nettle contains prostaglandins as well as high levels of protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, calcium, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, B, C, and D…it’s no wonder it has such extensive health benefits! Prostaglandins stimulate healing and also help regulate the female reproductive system. The high levels of iron make it a wonderful supplement for people with anemia and for women (who tend to have lower iron levels than men). Magnesium helps keep inflammation levels low and keep blood pressure in a healthy range. Phosphorous plays an important role in macronutrient usage and works together with B vitamins. Calcium is important for bones and teeth, as well as muscle function, nerve transmission, and muscle function. Beta-carotene can decrease asthma symptoms and to prevent certain cancers. The vitamins A, B, C, and D all play different roles in the body including, protecting cells from damage, producing energy, and regulating cell and tissue growth.
Stinging nettle can be utilized in many forms, including as a tea, tincture, fluid extract, and creams depending on what you’re interested in treating. Although stinging nettle has many benefits, it can also interact with medications so it is important to consult a doctor before use. Some medications it can interact with are blood thinning drugs such as aspirin, blood pressure drugs, diuretics, Lithium, diuretics, and NSAIDs.