dioica AKA Stinging Nettle
Stinging Nettle has a long history of use. The tough fibers from the
plant stem have been used to make cloth, and cooked Nettle leaves were
eaten as vegetables. From ancient Greece to the present, Stinging
Nettle has been documented for its use in treating coughs, tuberculosis
and arthritis, as well as stimulating hair growth. Medieval monks would
flagellate themselves with Stinging Nettles for penance, and this same
action had been employed by Roman soldiers to warm themselves and to
help them better adapt to the cold, damp, English climate during their
occupation. During World War II, Stinging Nettles were used in green
Called Stinging Nettle because of the needle like hairs on the leaves
that inject a mixture of histamine and formic acid. This same mix
is an aid to treat the pain of arthritis and rheumatism.
Nettle is an herb very high in vitamin K, which guards against excessive
bleeding. Nettle improves kidney function neutralizes uric acid,
preventing its crystallization,
aiding in its elimination from the system,
thus relieving gout and arthritis. Nettle is useful as a tea for
anemic children, due to its nutritive value. Nettle is also high in
minerals such as iron, calcium, sulfur, sodium, copper, manganese,
chromium, and silicon. Nettle is also used as an astringent to help
stop bleeding and to reduce menses flow. Nettle is also a blood
purifier and assists in lowering blood pressure.
Nettle can be used in tincture form for hypothyroid conditions to
increase thyroid function thus reducing obesity.
arthritic and rheumatic problems nettle can be used internally and
externally. As a tea, nettle reduces inflammation in the joints.
Externally, fresh nettles brushed over painful areas are effective in
reducing pain. A tea of nettles also helps relieve the symptoms of
asthma, diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoids, hemorrhages; a diuretic for
mucous conditions of the lungs and scorbutic affections (scurvy).
has been a great deal of controversy regarding the identity of Nettle's
active constituents, but primary chemical constituents found in Stinging
Nettle are said to include formic acid, betaine, histamine,
acetylcholine, glucoquinone, chlorogenic acid, mucilage, tannin, silica,
beta carotene, calcium, iron, chlorophyll and choline. Currently, it
is believed that polysaccharides (complex sugars) and lectins (large
protein-sugar molecules) are probably the most active constituents.
Stinging nettle root is attracting new
research interest. German health authorities allow root preparations of
stinging nettle to be used for symptomatic relief of urinary
difficulties associated with early stages of benign prostatic
hyperplasia (BPH), although they don't decrease enlargement of the
prostate. The root preparation increases urinary output and decreases
the urge to urinate at night. Studies suggest that the root extract may
inhibit interaction between a growth factor and its receptor in the
prostate. Patients must consult a physician regularly for proper
monitoring of the treatment.
Little Herb Encyclopedia, by Jack Ritchason; N.D., Woodland Publishing Incorporated, 1995
Nutritional Herbology, by Mark Pedersen, Wendell W. Whitman Company, 1998
Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania 1987
Planetary Herbology, Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., Lotus Press, 1988