5 Amazing Proven Stinging Nettle Benefits

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a herb native to parts..

5 Amazing Proven Stinging Nettle Benefits

5 Amazing Proven Stinging Nettle Benefits

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a herb native to parts of Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America. This unique plant has been used medicinally for its healing effects by the Ancient Greeks.

Stinging nettle has been used as a food, fabric, medicine, and cosmetic for generations. Its wide array of uses includes everything from enhancing male health to easing nasal congestion.

It is true that by touching the leaves of a wild stinging nettle can cause skin irritation.

However, when processed for consumption, the nettle’s stinging hairs are crushed, cooked, or boiled in a way that eliminates their stinging abilities and makes them safe for consumption.

What Is Stinging Nettle?

Stinging nettle, or urtica dioica, is a perennial flowering plant that has been used medicinally for ages, dating back as far as Ancient Greece. 

Today, it can be found all over the world, but its origins are in the colder regions of Europe and Asia. The plant usually grows between two to four feet high and blooms from June to September.

It grows best in nitrogen-rich soil, has heart-shaped leaves, and produces yellow or pink flowers.

While best known for the stinging reaction that occurs when the skin comes into contact with the fine stinging hairs (also known as trichomes) located on its leaves and stems.

When processed and used medicinally, stinging nettle has a number of helpful health benefits, according to the Department of

Dermatology at the Penn State University College of Medicine.

Most stinging nettle products are made from the stem and leaves, but the roots also have pharmacological qualities.

The herb has anti-inflammatory qualities that can affect treatment of many health issues. The aboveground parts have typically aided in allergy relief and other breathing-related problems.

The roots are able to provide relief for urinary disorders and enlarged prostate as well.

Proven Stinging Nettle Benefits

Detoxifies the Body

The wide range of beneficial nutrients found in stinging nettle makes it an ideal detoxifier for the body and it has been known to gently cleanse the body of toxins.

As a diuretic, it can also ensure that those toxins being neutralized in the body are then eliminated quickly.

It helps improve the nutrient uptake efficiency of the gut and ensures that the digestive processes run smoothly, thereby preventing the accumulation of dangerous toxins.

It also stimulates the lymphatic system, helping rid the body of excess toxins in the kidneys as well.

Stinging Nettle Helps Relieve Allergies

Taking stinging nettle supplements helps decrease allergies. Scientists believe this may be due to the plant’s ability to reduce histamine production and reduce inflammatory markers, but more research is needed to confirm this.

Freeze-dried nettle may help with nasal allergies and allergic reactions. Stinging nettle tea may also help relieve allergies.

In one study, 57% of patients were said to have rated nettle as ‘effective’ in helping allergies, with 48% even saying nettle was more effective than allergy medications they had used previously.

Prevents Kidney Stones

Stinging nettle has long been known as a diuretic, but it also affects the kidneys in a different way. It has nephritic qualities, meaning that it can help break down stones in the kidney and gallbladder.

This prevents those painful conditions from worsening or requiring those stones to be either passed or surgically removed.

Also, as a diuretic, stinging nettle helps eliminate toxins quickly, thereby protecting against bladder infections and excess fluid retention (edema).

Promotes Feminine Health

Stinging nettle has a number of active components that affect feminine health.

For painful premenstrual symptoms, it can give relief from cramping and bloating, while also minimizing blood flow during menstruation due to its astringent capabilities.

For women undergoing menopause, stinging nettle can smooth the transition and act as a restorative, so the hormonal shift isn’t as dramatic in the body.

Detoxifies the Body

The wide range of beneficial nutrients found in stinging nettle makes it an ideal detoxifier for the body and it has been known to gently cleanse the body of toxins.

As a diuretic, it can also ensure that those toxins being neutralized in the body are then eliminated quickly.

It helps improve the nutrient uptake efficiency of the gut and ensures that the digestive processes run smoothly, thereby preventing the accumulation of dangerous toxins.

It also stimulates the lymphatic system, helping rid the body of excess toxins in the kidneys as well.

Reasons Why You Should Go & Pick Nettles Right Now

Summer Soup

Perhaps the most traditional use of nettles in the kitchen, this soup recipe is ideal for those just dabbling with foraged food.

It uses fresh nettles, potato, leek and cream for a velvety yet light summer soup.

Healing Tea

Nettle tea has been brewed for centuries due to its healing and healthful properties. This blend is made overnight – just add the plant to a mason jar and cover with hot water.

Allow to cool before transferring to the fridge, where it can infuse until the next day.

Enjoy the tonic heated or iced, with or without sweetener to complement its ‘grassy’ flavor. 

Nettle Oil

Nettle oil is usually extracted from the dried leaves of the plant and forms the basis of most of the medicinal and beauty uses of nettle.

Because it contains chemicals (the same ones that sting you!) that alleviate pain by interfering with the way nerves send pain signals, it can help those who suffer from rheumatism, arthritis and osteoporosis.

It is also used to heal skin abrasions and burns quickly and may even help with eczema and other skin conditions.

To make, fill a mason jar with fresh nettle leaves and stems. Cover with olive oil or coconut oil. Seal the jar and allow to rest on a sunny windowsill for up to three weeks, shaking daily.

Once infused, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth and store the oil in a dark glass container, out of sunlight. Before use, dilute with a safe carrier oil.

How to Treat a Stinging Nettle Sting

Self care for nettle stings

  • Wash the area with soap and water as soon as possible to relieve the sting and remove the nettle hairs. If no water is available, clean the area with a cloth or other available material.
  • Apply a paste of baking soda and water.
  • Avoid scratching or rubbing the itchy areas.
  • Use cool, light, bedding and clothing as this will help relieve itching.
  • Avoid extreme heat – have lukewarm baths and showers.
  • Apply cold compresses.
  • Antihistamines such as Telfast, Claratyne and Phenergan may relieve itching and swelling. A cream with hydrocortisone will reduce inflammation. You can get these from your pharmacy.

 

Medicine precautions

  1. Do not give aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) or aspirin-containing products to anyone 18 years or younger because of the risk of a serious illness called Reye’s syndrome.
  2. Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) with food or milk to prevent stomach irritation. 

 

Do not give NSAIDs to anyone with:

  • NSAID-induced asthma
  • increased risk of bleeding, such as ulcer disease, a bleeding disorder, if taking blood thinners (anticoagulants), or following surgery, significant trauma or major dental work
  • an allergy to NSAIDs.

Daniel Messer, RNutr, CPT
Daniel Messer, RNutr, CPT

We eat clean, are always motivated and helpout beginners in need. We sell guides on Cutting, Bulking and Muscle Building. Checkout our website!

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