Anyone who lives in a locale where nettle grows wild will eventually discover the powers of this dark green plant. Depending on the species, the fine hairs on its leaves and stem cause burning pain that lasts from hours to weeks. But this well-protected herb has also been used as medicine. Nettle juice was used in Hippocrates' time to treat bites and stings, and European herbalists recommended nettle tea for lung disorders. Nettle tea was used by Native Americans as an aid in pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing.
What Is Nettle Used for Today?
Currently, nettle root is more commonly used medicinally than the above-ground portion of the herb. In Europe, nettle root is widely used for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) , or prostate enlargement. Like saw palmetto, pygeum, and beta-sitosterol, nettle appears to reduce obstruction to urinary flow and decrease the need for nighttime urination. However, the evidence is not as strong for nettle as it is for these other treatments.
Note : Before self-treating prostate symptoms with nettle root, be sure to get a proper medical evaluation to rule out prostate cancer.
Nettle leaf has become a popular treatment for allergies (hay fever) based on one preliminary double-blind study.
Nettle leaf is highly nutritious and, in cooked form, may be used as a general dietary supplement.
What Is the Scientific Evidence for Nettle?
The evidence is much better for nettle root and prostatic enlargement than for nettle leaf and allergies.
Dosages of nettle root extract vary according to preparation, and we recommend following label instructions. Some nettle root products are standardized to their content of the substance scopoletin, but since this substance is not established as an active ingredient, the significance of this standardization remains unclear.
For allergies, the studied dosage is 300 mg twice a day of freeze-dried nettle leaf.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking:
- Anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive, sedative, or blood sugar-lowering medications: Nettle might conceivably interact with them, although this is unlikely.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 09/2014 -
- Update Date: 09/18/2014 -