What is Stinging Nettle?
Stinging nettle is an alternative remedy used for various health ailments such as arthritis pain and seasonal allergies. Stinging nettle has sharp hair on its leaves that contain chemicals such as formic acid and histamines that can irritate the skin and cause stinging, redness, and itching. It also contains serotonin, acetylcholine, and a range of other chemicals that can affect humans.
The researches suggesting its beneficial effects are limited and more research are needed.
Stinging nettle contains many nutrients including:
- Vitamins. Vitamin A, C, and K, along with B vitamins
- Minerals, which include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium
- Fats, which include linoleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, and oleic acid
- Essential amino acids
- Polyphenols including kaempferol, quercetin, caffeic acid, coumarins, and other flavonoids
- Pigments including beta carotenes, lutein, carotenoids, and luteoxanthine
5 Amazing Health Benefits of Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle has been used for various ailments for a long and is still being used as medicinal aid today. The benefits of stinging nettle are as follows:
- Relieves Arthritis: Some people claim that stinging nettle can help with inflammation, osteoarthritic pain and gout.(1) Some older studies indicate that stinging nettle extract has anti-inflammatory properties that would be helpful in treating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.(2) More studies on humans are needed to fully assess the effectiveness of stinging nettle on giving relief in arthritis symptoms.
- Helps in Seasonal Allergies: Stinging nettle is a common remedy used in the treatment of seasonal allergies that occur when the pollens trigger the body to produce histamine. Histamine leads to the symptoms of allergic reaction which include inflammation, itching and hives. Studies show that stinging nettle is effective in disrupting histamine production and related inflammation.(3) However, there is insufficient evidence of its effectiveness as some studies indicate no effect of stinging nettle on reducing allergy symptoms.(4, 5)
- Treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: It is a noncancerous growth of the prostate gland in males, which can lead to a range of symptoms mostly involving urinary processes. A review suggests when combined with other medications, stinging nettle can be effective in treating benign prostate hyperplasia symptoms.(6) There are numerous studies that support this benefit of stinging nettle, but more research is necessary to fully assess these benefits.(7) Benign prostatic hyperplasia can lead to emergency symptoms and therefore a doctor should be consulted to treat any serious issue.
- Helps in Managing Diabetes: This benefit of stinging nettle has little evidence. A two-review study found evidence that stinging nettle supplement may help people with type 2 diabetes to manage blood sugar levels.(8) More research is needed to determine the effect of stinging nettle on diabetes. Anyone trying to start nettle rash for this condition should consider speaking to a doctor before going ahead with trying it.
- Helps in Inflammations: Stinging nettle contains various compounds that may help with inflammation. It reduces the level of inflammatory hormones by interfering with their production.(9, 10)
Other Benefits of Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle has various other potential benefits, which include:
- Reduces Bleeding: Medicines that contain stinging nettle are known to reduce bleeding.
- Liver Health: Stinging nettle with its anti-inflammatory properties can help in protecting the liver against damage caused by toxins.
- Natural Diuretic: Stinging nettle helps the body in shedding excess salt and water and thereby helps in lowering blood pressure.
How to Use Stinging Nettle?
How stinging nettle is consumed depends on the condition it is being used for.
Stinging nettle can be the made into tea, can be taken in the form of capsules, tablets, or cream form. Stinging nettle leaves can be moistened and used on the skin as a natural topical solution.
Side Effects of Nettle Rash
Stinging nettle is generally safe to consume but can include the following side effects:
- Hives and rashes
- Urinary issues
- Stomach problems
It may interact with certain medicines, including blood thinners, treatment for high blood pressure, heart disease medication and diabetes medication. There are official safety guidelines for using it on pregnant and breastfeeding females and children.