Stinging nettle is a flowering plant with a long history of medicinal use. Despite its name, stinging nettle is a plant that can make for a healthy, painless remedy with a variety of applications. Here is some background on stinging nettle, and a look at the potential benefits.
What Is Stinging Nettle?
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica
) is a flowering plant that can be found throughout the world. The origins of the remedial use of stinging nettle are in Europe, Asia, and ancient Greece.
Stinging nettle is unique among plants that are harvested for medicinal use. The leaves and stems of stinging nettle are covered in fine hairs
containing mild irritants, which can cause discomfort upon coming into contact with the skin. However, when applied to the skin or taken in oral supplement form, it can bring relief. The stems and leaves, and sometimes the roots, are harvested and made into supplement form.
A variety of benefits have been attributed to stinging nettle. Not all of these benefits have been supported by strong scientific evidence, but it can still make for a very worthwhile remedy. Talk to your doctor before trying stinging nettle.
Benefits of Stinging Nettle
Treating osteoarthritis and joint pain can be possible with stinging nettle, because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Stinging nettle is especially helpful in reducing the need for the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in arthritis patients
. This is good because NSAID use should not continue for a long period of time, and stinging nettle can treat arthritis symptoms and help replace the use of NSAIDs.
Relieving the symptoms of hay fever
(or seasonal allergies) might be possible with stinging nettle. This is because of stinging nettle’s anti-inflammatory properties, which can contribute to a reduction in sneezing, watery eyes, and runny nose.
Treating Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
(BPH) is possible with stinging nettle, when used in combination with other herbs. Some studies show it can help relieve symptoms such as reduced urinary flow and the constant urge to urinate. It’s very important to talk to your doctor if you’re thinking of using stinging nettle for this purpose, because medical treatment is necessary for BPH.
Eczema can be treated with stinging nettle. This is because it can work as an antihistamine and an anti-inflammatory
. A combination of oral supplementation with stinging nettle, and an ointment containing the herb, is ideal. It can help relieve the redness and irritation that occurs with eczema.
Treating diabetes, specifically in reducing high blood sugar
, might be possible with stinging nettle. The scientific evidence for this claim is mixed, and medical treatment is first and foremost for all types of diabetes.
Whether it's for arthritic pain, seasonal allergies, or eczema, stinging nettle is a natural remedy that can prove to be valuable to you. Talk to your doctor about taking stinging nettle as an oral supplement, or as an ointment if using it to treat the symptoms of eczema.