Nettle Leaf (Uritca doica) A Men’s Health Herb
Nettle Leal has a rich history of use to support health and wellness.* While Nettle leaf is most commonly used in Western herbalism The leaves support a healthy inflammatory response and natural histamine levels. Item No: 1460-50
Urticaria dioica; urticaria urens
Stinging nettle is well-known to country hikers and anybody unfortunate enough to brush up against a plant and feel its sting. Despite its unpleasant burn (or sometimes, because of it), nettle has been used historically for many conditions (internal and external bleeding, gout, paralysis, bites, cholera, rheumatism, shingles, constipation, to stimulate circulation) — especially since it is so widely grown. Nettle also makes a very durable fibre and is once again being promoted as a textile material. DuringWorldWar I when the German Army was facing a shortage of cotton, they turned to nettle fibre to create the material for their uniforms. Since it is so rich in chlorophyll, it was often used as a dye for food (where it is widely used in Germany today) and was used in theWorldWar II by the British Army to color their uniforms an earthy green. Nettle is most-commonly used today as a diuretic and to reduce inflammation, although it does make a great addition to most dishes as well! Nutritionally, the fresh leaves contain about as much vitamin C and carotene as spinach leaves, as well as vitamin K, potassium, calcium, beta-sitosterol and some flavonoids (quercetin, rutin and kaempferol). Be careful when handling fresh leaves, as the they contain histamine, acetylcholine and serotonin that can cause irritation or urticaria (hives).
Stinging nettle leaves contain analgesic, local anaesthetic, anti-inflammatory, hemostatic, antibacterial and antiviral properties — this explains why nettle is used for such a diverse range of conditions. Nettle leaf (and an extract of nettle leaf) shows promise for treating inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis and some musculoskeletal conditions as some studies have found that the “sting” of the nettles actually hyper-stimulates the inflamed region and the area is somewhat anaesthetized. Similar to capsaicin, constituents of nettle deplete Substance P such that pain is greatly moderated and the sensation of the nettle sting is felt instead. Sometimes nettle leaf is recommended in conjunction with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs) and often, a lower dosage of the drug is required. Another study involving twenty-three patients with osteoarthritis found relief of symptoms when a cream containing nettle leaf extract was applied twice daily. The above-ground parts of the plants have been found to inhibit adrenergic stimulation, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and platelet activation factor (PAF) – lending further support for their use in treatment. Quercetin (contained in the leaves) also reduces histamine release from mast cells and basophil cells in the body, lessening the inflammatory response and acting as an immuno-modulator. Indeed, nettle is sometimes used in cases of allergic rhinitis (hayfever) where the body’s immune system creates an inflammatory response that makes breathing difficult. Studies involving nettle for this purpose find that people subjectively feel that their symptoms are improved.
Nettle is also used, often in combination with saw palmetto and pumpkin seed, to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men and studies have found that these herbs generally reduce symptoms of urinary tract discomfort. Beta-sitosterol (contained in the leaves) has shown to have anti-proliferative effects on the prostate in animal studies, and an extract of nettle may also inhibit prostate tissue growth. As a well known diuretic, nettle leaf increases urine output and may even reduce systolic blood pressure and body weight in some people with venous insufficiency. Thus it is also used in treating UTIs, kidney stones and gout where the desired outcome is to “flush out” the bacteria, stone, or uric acid causing the problem. Since nettle seems to interact with the Central Nervous System (the CNS), it be promising as an anti-seizure agent, and lower body temperature slightly. As an anti-oxidative agent used in animal studies, nettle reduces the effects of oxidative stress in muscles tissues deprived of blood and oxygen for short periods of time encouraging blood flow and the health of body tissues.
Use one heaping tablespoon per 10 ounce cup of dried leaf for infusing as a tea. Steeping your infusion for 7 to 10 minutes brings out a significant plant benefits. Nettle has a pleasant taste, is a little astringent & refreshing, brewing up a lovely golden color in the cup. Use 1-2 gram of powdered nettle per serving for additions to smoothies, yogurt, cereals. Add to your cuisine in soups, salads or as an enhancement to cooked green vegetables.
CLINICAL STUDIES USING STINGING NETTLE HAVE SHOWN IT TO BE SAFE FOR CONSUMPTION FOR A PERIOD OF UP TO 6 MONTHS. ALTHOUGH THE ABOVE GROUND PARTS OF THE STINGING NETTLE PLANT ARE TYPICALLY WELL TOLERATED, TOPICALLY FRESH NETTLE LEAF CAN CAUSE HIVES, BURNING AND ITCHING. ORALLY, THE ROOT CAN CAUSE GI COMPLAINTS, SWEATING, AND ALLERGIC SKIN REACTIONS. NETTLE IS THOUGHT TO HAVE HYPOTENSIVE AND HYPOGLYCEMIC EFFECTS, SO PLEASE EXERCISE CAUTION WHEN COMBINING WITH HERBS OR ANTI-HYPERTENSION AND ANTI-DIABETES MEDICATIONS THAT ALSO HAVE THESE EFFECTS AS THE INTENDED RESULTS MAY BE INTENSIFIED. SINCE NETTLE ALSO INTERACTS WITH THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM, IT MAY THEORETICALLY INTERACT WITH CNS DEPRESSANT MEDICATIONS AND ALCOHOL. NETTLE ACTS AS A DIURETIC, THUS LITHIUM MEDICATION DOSAGES MAY ALSO NEED TO BE ADJUSTED. BECAUSE NETTLE ALSO CONTAINS VITAMIN K, THERE IS A THEORETICAL CONCERN THAT IT MAY INTERACT WITH ANTICOAGULANT DRUGS SUCH AS WARFARIN.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Canadian Food & Drug Administration.
Research compiled and summarized by Keila McCullough BHSc, ND (cand.) Distinctly Tea Inc.
“Aqueous extract of Urtica dioica makes significant inhibition on adenosine deaminase activity in prostate tissue from patients with prostate cancer”. Durak I, Biri H, Devrim E, et al. Cancer Biol Ther 2004;3:855-7.
“Combined sabal and urtica extract compared with finasteride in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia: analysis of prostate volume and therapeutic outcome”. Sokeland J. BJU Int 2000;86:439-42.
“Effect of beta-sitosterol on transforming growth factor-beta-1 expression and translocation protein kinase C alpha in human prostate stromal cells in vitro”. Kassen A, Berges R, Senge T, et al. Eur Urol 2000;37:735-41.
“Long-term efficacy and safety of a combination of sabal and urtica extract for lower urinary tract symptoms–a placebocontrolled, double-blind, multicenter trial”. Lopatkin N, Sivkov A,Walther C, et al.World J Urol 2005;23:139-46.
“Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy”. Mills S, Bone K. London: Churchill Livingstone, 2000.
“Quercetin”. Anon. Alt Med Rev 1998;3:140-3.
“Randomized, double-blind study of freeze-dried Urtica dioica in the treatment of allergic rhinitis”. Mittman P. Planta Med 1990;56:44-7.
“Randomized controlled trial of nettle sting for treatment of base-of-thumb pain”. Randall C, Randall H, Dobbs F, et al. J R Soc Med 2000; 93:305-9.
“Stinging Nettle” Monograph. Natural Medicine Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com
“Stinging nettle cream for osteoarthritis”. Rayburn K, Fleischbein E, Song J, Allen B, Kundert M, Leiter C, Bush T. Altern Ther Health Med. 2009 Jul-Aug;15(4):60-1.
“Stinging nettle dermatitis”. Anderson BE, Miller CJ, Adams DR. Am J Contact Dermat. 2003 Mar;14(1):44-6.
“Stinging Nettle: The History of Stinging Nettle”. Vance K. Herbal Legacy. http://www.herballegacy.com/ Vance_History.html
“The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines”. Blumenthal M. Trans. S. Klein. Boston, MA. American Botanical Council, 1998.
“The role of urtica dioica (urticaceae) in the prevention of oxidative stress caused by tourniquet application in rats”. Cetinus E, Kilinc M, Inanc F, Kurutas EB, Buzkan N. Tohoku J Exp Med. 2005 Mar;205(3):215-21.
Research compiled and summarized by Keila McCullough BHSc, ND (cand.)