Nettle plants grow wild across the UK, Europe, USA and around the globe; they are used for both medicinal purposes and as food. Highly nutritious, the prickly plant is often used as a spring tonic. It's a natural cleanse that removes metabolic wastes and is both gentle and stimulating on the lymph system, promoting easy excretion through the kidneys. All parts of the nettle plant are used; and it's available in a wide variety of medicines ranging from dried leaf, to ointments, tinctures, homeopathic remedies and herbal extracts.
Stinging nettle cure for arthritisNettle leaves are used to treat painful symptoms of arthritis, gout, rheumatism, and soft tissue conditions such as fibromyalgia and tendonitis. Patients with Lupus and other auto-immune disorders suffering from joint pain experience relief from drinking a cup of nettle tea or eating stewed nettle leaves daily. Its diuretic action alkalizes and releases uric acid from the joints of gout patients eliminating pain.
Nettle is high in iron making it excellent for combating anemia and fatigue. It supports the liver and the female hormonal system. Pregnant women benefit from stinging nettle as it protects against bleeding and strengthens the fetus. Known as a galactagogue, it promotes milk production in nursing mothers. Stinging nettles reduces PMS symptoms, processes estrogen to relieve menopausal symptoms and curbs excess menstrual flow. It's often used in herbal tonics to remove fibroids and regulate the menstrual flow.
Herbal treatment for allergiesStinging nettle leaves have been used both as an herbal treatment and a homeopathic remedy for the relief of nettle allergies such as asthma, hay fever, hives and other allergic dermatitis.
Urinary tract supportStinging nettles are helpful for bladder and urinary tract function in both sexes. The tea acts as a natural diuretic, increases urination and helps break down kidney stones. Nettles acts as a pelvic decongestant and reduces an enlarged prostate.
Stinging nettle health benefits for hair loss and skin conditionsNettle tea relieves eczema and acne, removes warts when applied topically, and relieves itching from nettle rash. It has a stimulating effect on the scalp when used as a hair rinse and helps regenerate both hair growth and restore original color. It works to relieve dandruff and as a conditioner for the scalp.
Stinging nettle digestive aidNettle leaf is effective at reducing symptoms of the digestive tract ranging from acid reflux, excess gas, nausea, colitis and Celiac disease. Additionally, it's medicinal action on mucous membranes makes it an effective herbal treatment for sore throats, swollen hemorrhoids, nose bleeds and mouth sores.
More nettle cures-- Reduces gingivitis and prevents plaque as a mouth rinse.
-- Relieves chest congestion and coughing, bronchitis, COPD and TB.
-- Is helpful in the treatment of Alzheimers.
-- Relieves neurological disorders such as MS, ALS and sciatica.
-- Remedies made from the plant's roots prevent night time urination in children.
-- Destroys intestinal worms and parasites.
-- Supports the endocrine system including the thyroid, spleen and pancreas.
WarningBecause stinging nettles can produce side effects and interact with other drugs and natural treatments, consult your healthcare practitioner before using it.
Urtica dioica - Wikipedia
Urtica dioica, often called common nettle or stinging nettle (although not all plants of thisspecies sting), is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant, native to Europe, Asia, northern Africa, and North America, and is the best-known member of the nettle genus Urtica. The species is divided into six subspecies, five of which have many hollow stinging hairs called trichomes on the leaves and stems, which act like hypodermic needles, injecting histamine and other chemicals that produce a stinging sensation when contacted by humans and other animals. The plant has a long history of use as a medicine, as a food source and as a source of fibre.
Urtica dioica is a dioecious herbaceous perennial, 1 to 2 m (3 to 7 ft) tall in the summer and dying down to the ground in winter. It has widely spreading rhizomes and stolons, which are bright yellow, as are the roots. The soft green leaves are 3 to 15 cm (1 to 6 in) long and are borne oppositely on an erect wiry green stem. The leaves have a strongly serrated margin, a cordate base and an acuminate tip with a terminal leaf tooth longer than adjacent laterals. It bears small greenish or brownish numerous flowers in dense axillary inflorescences. The leaves and stems are very hairy with non-stinging hairs and in most subspecies also bear many stinging hairs (trichomes), whose tips come off when touched, transforming the hair into a needle that will inject several chemicals: acetylcholine, histamine, 5-HT (serotonin), moroidin, leukotrienes, and possibly formic acid. This mixture of chemical compounds cause a painful sting orparesthesia from which the species derives one of its common names, stinging nettle, as well as the colloquial names burn nettle, burn weed, and burn hazel.
Nettles are the exclusive larval food plant for several species of butterfly, such as the Peacock Butterfly or the Small Tortoiseshell, and are also eaten by the larvae of some moths includingAngle Shades, Buff Ermine, Dot Moth, The Flame, The Gothic, Grey Chi, Grey Pug, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Mouse Moth, Setaceous Hebrew Character and Small Angle Shades. The roots are sometimes eaten by the larva of the Ghost Moth Hepialus humuli.
Stinging nettle is particularly found as an understory plant in wetter environments, but it is also found in meadows. Although nutritious, it is not widely eaten by either wildlife or livestock, presumably because of the sting. It spreads by abundant seeds and also via rhizomes, and is often able to survive/reestablish quickly after fire.
Nettle leaf is a herb that has a long tradition of use as an adjuvant remedy in the treatment ofarthritis in Germany. Nettle leaf extract contains active compounds that reduce TNF-α and other inflammatory cytokines. It has been demonstrated that nettle leaf lowers TNF-α levels by potently inhibiting the genetic transcription factor that activates TNF-α and IL-1B in the synovial tissue that lines the joint.
Urtica dioica herb has been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally (as tea or fresh leaves) for treatment of disorders of the kidneys and urinary tract, gastrointestinal tract, locomotor system, skin, cardio-vascular system, hemorrhage, flu, rheumatism and gout.
Nettle is used in shampoo to control dandruff and is said to make hair more glossy, which is why some farmers include a handful of nettles with cattle feed.
Nettle root extracts have been extensively studied in human clinical trials as a treatment for symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia(BPH). These extracts have been shown to help relieve symptoms compared to placebo both by themselves and when combined with other herbal medicines.
Because it contains 3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran, certain extracts of the nettle are used by bodybuilders in an effort to increase freetestosterone by occupying sex-hormone binding globulin.
As Old English stiðe, nettle is one of the nine plants invoked in the pagan Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs Charm, recorded in the 10th century. Nettle is believed to be a galactagogue, a substance that promotes lactation.
Urtication, or flogging with nettles, is the process of deliberately applying stinging nettles to the skin in order to provoke inflammation. An agent thus used is known as a rubefacient (something that causes redness). This is done as a folk remedy for rheumatism, providing temporary relief from pain. The counter-irritant action to which this is often attributed can be preserved by the preparation of an alcoholic tincture which can be applied as part of a topical preparation (but not as an infusion) which drastically reduces the irritant action.
Extracts of Urtica dioica leaves may help with glycemic control in type 2 diabetes patients needing to use insulin.
Nettle sting treatment
Anti-itch drugs, usually in the form of creams containing antihistaminics or hydrocortisone may provide relief from the symptoms of being stung by nettles. But because of the combination of chemicals involved, other remedies may be required. Calamine lotion may be helpful, also urine - which has the advantage of usually being readily available. Many folk remedies exist for treating the itching, including Dandelion, horsetail (Equisetopsida spp.), leaf of dock (Rumex spp.),Greater Plantain, Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis and Impatiens pallida), the underside of a fern (the spores), mud, saliva, or baking soda, oil and onions, lemon juice, and topical use of milk of magnesia.
Urtica dioica has a flavour similar to spinach and cucumber when cooked and is rich in vitamins A, C, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium. Young plants were harvested by Native Americans and used as a cooked plant in spring when other food plants were scarce. Soaking stinging nettles in water or cooking will remove the stinging chemicals from the plant, which allows them to be handled and eaten without incidence of stinging. After the stinging nettle enters its flowering and seed setting stages the leaves develop gritty particles called cystoliths, which can irritate the urinary tract. In its peak season, nettle contains up to 25% protein, dry weight, which is high for a leafy green vegetable. The leaves are also dried and may then be used to make a herbal tea, as can also be done with the nettle's flowers.
Nettles can be used in a variety of recipes, such as polenta, pesto and purée. Nettle soup is a common use of the plant, particularly in Northern and Eastern Europe. In Nepal (सिस्नो in Nepali) and the Kumaon & Gargwal region of Northern India, stinging nettle is known as sisnu, kandeliand bicchū-būṭī (Hindi: बिच्छू-बूटी) respectively. It is also found in abundance in Kashmir. There it is called soi. It is a very popular vegetable and cooked with Indian spices.
Nettles are sometimes used in cheese making, for example in the production of Cornish Yarg and as a flavouring in varieties of Gouda.
Nettles are used in Albania as part of the dough filling for the börek. Its name is byrek me hithra. The top baby leaves are selected and simmered, then mixed with other ingredients like herbs, rice, etc. before being used as a filling between dough layers.
Nettle leaves are steeped in a concentrated sugar solution so the flavour is extracted into the sugar solution. The leaves are then removed and a source of citric acid (usually lemon juice) is added to help preserve the cordial and add a tart flavour.
Commercially produced cordials are generally quite concentrated and are usually diluted by one part cordial to ten parts water – thus a 0.5 litres (0.11 imp gal; 0.13 US gal) bottle of cordial would be enough for 5.5 litres (1.2 imp gal; 1.5 US gal) diluted. The high concentration of sugar in nettle cordial gives it a long shelf life.
There are also many recipes for alcoholic nettle beer, which is a countryside favourite in the British Isles.