Urtica dioica – The Common Stinging Nettle
Until this year I was completely unaware that be nice to nettle week even existed!
So there we are, we have a national appreciation for this wonderful plant which provides Medicine, Food and even Textiles.
Butterflies and Bee’s love them too, and we all know how important these creatures are for our ecosystem.
The traditional Keynote for Nettle is Kidney, but it’s gifts and actions are far reaching into many systems of our bodies.
In my dispensary I have:
Dried Nettle Leaf
- Hayfever or Allergic Rhinitis ( anti histamine) maybe I would blend with Elderflowers and Plantago for this
- Highblood pressure ( diuretic) maybe with Yarrow and Hawthorn flowers
- Iron deficiency Anaemia just as a simple tea as Nettle is rich in Iron and has just the right amount of Vitamin C for the absorption of the Iron
- Gout to assist in clearing Uric acid from the joints with an anti-inflammatory action, can also be combined with Celery seed. The dried leaf can also be made into a compress and placed on the affected joint to bring relief.
- High blood Pressure – Hypotensive action
- The main reason for me prescribing nettle root is for gentlemen with BPH or commonly known as enlarged prostate.
A study looked at the use of Nettle Root and Saw Palmetto together with very positive results:
The trial initially enrolled 543 subjects and the major outcomes were measured at 24 and 48 weeks. The main outcomes that were measured included maximum urinary flow rate and the International Prostate Symptoms Score (IPSS). The IPSS is a questionnaire that rates the degree of negative impacts on urination (voiding) caused by prostate inflammation as well as on quality of life.
At the end of the trial, both groups showed improvements in the measured outcomes and there was no significant difference between the groups. What is more, a sub-group analysis showed that these results were consistent regardless of prostate size at baseline.
Differences emerged upon safety analysis, which showed that patients in the drug group experienced more adverse events during the trial compared to the subjects receiving the combination of plant extracts.
The results of the trial compelled the researchers to suggest that:
“As [saw palmetto/nettle root extract] was better tolerated, it might be preferable to treat patients with early BPH by Phytotherapy as a first choice.”
- A part of the Nettle that I am only recently beginning to get to know and use in practice, I have made a lovely soothing hand gel for a lady with Rheumatoid Arthritis with Nettle Seed, Mullein Oil and Rosemary. She reports back that it is very soothing and her hands have improved in terms of less tingling and swelling.
- As an adaoptogen: adaptogenic herbs help regulate the bodies stress response, so if you are burnt out, run down, over stressed, running on empty then an adaptogenic herb might just be part of your herbal medicine prescription.
Other well known adaptogens are Liquorice root, Ashwaganda, Siberian ginseng – all fantastic herbs in their own right, but there is something rather special about using a herb that is native to our own land.
I hope this short blog has inspired you and maybe made you think differently about a plant that is often classed as a weed or a nusience, remember the phrase ‘ grasp the nettle’ comes from the fact that if you take hold of a nettle with strong intent you will not receive a sting… brush past it thoughtlessly and she might bite!
Try some nettle tea for a refreshing drink or even better some wonderful cleansing nettle soup!
Gather some seeds later in the year and plant them in a corner of your garden to encourage the bee’s and the butterflies, be nice to nettles, not just for this week!!
Sokeland, J. “Combined Sabal and Urtica Extract Compared with Finasteride in Men with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: Analysis of Prostate Volume and Therapeutic Outcome.” BJU International 86.4 (2000): 439-42.