Urtica dioica L. Family: Urticaceae
common nettle, greater nettle, stinging nettle
Stinging nettle is a harmful plant. It has tiny stinging hairs covering its surface.
Contact with the plant produces a stinging or burning sensation in your skin. It also
causes swelling and flare at the site of contact. This reaction is due to histamine
from the plant that’s released when the hairs pierce your skin.
There are several species of stinging nettle. These include Urtica dioica, Urtica
urens, and Urtica pilulifera. Nettle grows wild in temperate regions. It can reach
2 to 3 feet in height. Nettle has a long reputation in folk medicine. It’s used to
treat asthma. It’s also used as an expectorant, astringent, tonic, anti-spasmodic,
Medically valid uses
Nettle is used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). It’s used with other treatments.
Nettle extract may help BPH by binding to sites on sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG).
This decreases testosterone's effect on the prostate. But studies conflict on how
well it works. Further studies are needed.
Please note that this section reports on claims that have not yet been substantiated
Nettle extract may get in the way of inflammation. Inflammation plays an important
role in pain and joint damage due to arthritis. But there’s little evidence to support
how well this herb works for this condition. More studies are needed.
Nettle is also said to help manage the following conditions:
Nettle comes as a juice or herb you can mix into a tea. The average dose is 4–6 grams
per day. You should take it with at least 2 liters of liquid each day.
Side effects, toxicity, and interactions
This herb doesn’t cause side effects when you use it correctly. Allergic reactions
only happen in rare cases. Nettle may cause stomach cramps or diarrhea. If this happens,
stop using it or use less of it.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding shouldn’t take this herb. This is because
it can act like a diuretic.