Stinging Nettle

 The nettle leaf and root both have medicinal properties, but each is more effective against different complaints. Nettle root is used as a treatment for prostate problems, including prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition that affects men starting about the age of 40. The nettle root have proven effective in reducing the inflammation associated with BPF and prostatitis and even slowing the growth of abnormal cells.  The common nettle plant also known as stinging nettle is a perennial plant that grows in many parts of the world delivers a stinging burn when the hairs on the leaves and stems are touched.

Nettle also has been found effective for men with low testosterone.  One of the problems for men with “low T” is that the testosterone in our body is attached to a hormone-binding molecule that renders much of it inactive.  Nettle root naturally interferes with that binding freeing up more active testosterone for use in the body. Nettle root also helps in making sure that the testosterone isn’t converted to estrogen in the body and instead is maintained as a potent androgen to keep testosterone levels high and keeping men feeling younger and more vibrant.  Stinging Nettle can treat most kinds of ED and is an excellent natural remedie.

Its healing properties of  stinging nettle (Urtica dioica and the closely related Urtica urens) has a long medicinal history. The have been known for centuries among various cultures and are part of folklore and tradition and used to treat many ailments from erectile dysfunction to  joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia.  In medieval Europe, it was used as a diuretic (to rid the body of excess water) and to treat joint pain.

Nettle and Testosterone

Nettle extracts can also prevent prostate enlargement, as well as help you keep your hair! Prostate growth and balding are both stimulated by dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a natural metabolite of testosterone. Nettle extracts prevent prostate enlargement and hair loss by inhibiting DHT from binding to the prostate membrane, and also by inhibiting certain enzymes which cause testosterone to convert to DHT.

Nettle extracts are able to boost free testosterone levels. Free testosterone, as opposed to bound testosterone, is active, useable testosterone. This is what provides the benefits typically associated with elevated testosterone levels such as increasing strength and muscle mass. Most men will suffer from low testosterone as they age.  When testosterone binds to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), it changes from free to bound, and becomes useless. Nettle extracts elevate free testosterone levels by binding to sex hormone-binding globulin in place of testosterone, so that a higher percentage of the bodies testosterone is free. A standard dosage of Nettle extract for boosting free testosterone levels is 400-1200mg/day of a 95% extract. Nettle extracts are included in many natural testosterone boosting supplements at this safe yet effective dosage range.

Benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH)

Nettle root has been gaining scientific attention as a natural estrogen blocker, particularly in Europe where it is widely used as a therapy for male urinary condition called benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.   Sometimes it used in combination with saw palmetto and other herbs. Nettle root may alleviate symptoms of reduced urinary flow and post-urination dripping in men. It is commonly used for urinary problems during the early stages of an enlarged prostate  and for urinary tract infections.


Several studies have shown the success of nettle root in treating BPH, particularly in its early stages when it can help to slow the growth of prostate cells, improve urinary flow and alleviate the constant urge to urinate. This is especially so when combined with other herbs such as Saw palmetto or Pygeum. It does this primarily by inhibiting proteins that help to carry certain hormones into the cells and would otherwise encourage the growth of prostate cells.

 

Pain Management

Both the roots and stems of the stinging nettle plant are used topically in compresses and creams for conditions such as joint pain, sprains, insect bites and tendonitis and in compresses or creams for treating joint pain, sprains and strains, tendonitis, and insect bites

Stinging nettle has fine hairs on the leaves and stems that contain irritating chemicals, which are released when the plant comes in contact with the skin. The hairs, or spines, of the stinging nettle are normally very painful to the touch. When they come into contact with a painful area of the body, however, they can actually decrease the original pain. Scientists think nettle does this by reducing levels of inflammatory chemicals in the body, and by interfering with the way the body transmits pain signals.

Other uses

Osteoarthritis

The leaves and stems of nettle have been used historically to treat arthritis and for sore muscles. Studies have been small and not conclusive, but they do suggest that some people find relief from joint pain by applying nettle leaf topically to the painful area. A few other studies show that taking an oral extract of stinging nettle, along with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), allowed people to reduce their NSAID dose.

Hay fever

One preliminary human study suggested that nettle capsules helped reduce sneezing and itching in people with hay fever. Researchers think that may be due to nettle’s ability to reduce the amount of histamine the body produces in response to an allergen. More studies are needed to confirm nettle’s antihistamine properties, however. Some doctors recommend taking a freeze dried preparation of stinging nettle well before hay fever season starts.

Excess Estrogen Conditions

Excess estrogen is associated with many health problems besides BPH, both in men and in women. Many menopausal women suffer from a condition known as estrogen dominance syndrome, which has been linked to diseases such as insulin resistance, fibrocystic breast disease, breast cancer, endometriosis, fibroids and ovarian cysts. Other symptoms associated with excess estrogen levels in women include dry skin, vaginal dryness, menstrual irregularities, depression, weight gain and migraines. In addition to prostate enlargement, men who suffer from excess estrogen levels may exhibit enlarged breasts, loss of muscle mass and varying degrees of sexual dysfunction. Other symptoms associated with excess estrogen levels in men include atherosclerosis, heightened risk for strokes and heart attacks and hormonal cancers.

Preparation

Both the root and leaf of the stinging nettle plant can be prepared in teas by adding 3 to 4 teaspoons of dried leaves or dried root to 2/3 cup of boiling water and drinking it up to three or four times a day. Talk to your doctor if you are uncertain which nettle component you should take, and always follow the recommended dosage on the product labels of tinctures, liquid extracts and supplements. Stinging nettle is available as dried leaf, freeze dried leaf, extract, capsules, tablets, and as root tincture (a solution of the herb in alcohol), juice or tea. It also comes in the form of an ointment or cream to be put on the skin. The root appears to have different pharmacological effects than the leaves.

Nettle leaves and stems offer different benefits.  Which you should consider depends on the healing effect for your condition. Depending on your symptoms, you may want to emphasize one over the other in your teas, tinctures and other herbal preparations. If you are currently suffering from prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia or other prostate conditions, you may want to select nettle root over nettle leaves.

For best results, consult an alternative health practitioner on which herb component may offer the best results for your specific symptoms. Nettle root is widely available in health food stores and herbal emporiums as capsules, tablets, extracts, dried leaf, tinctures and tea. It’s also commonly found as an ingredient in nutritional supplements and male enhancement products. The amount of nettle root may differ in each of these preparations, so it is difficult to determine an exact therapeutic dose. Therefore, you should follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding intake.

Constituents

Nettle supplements are usually extracted for the main active ingredient, 3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran, which is responsible for most of the benefits of nettle. Extracts of nettle as high as 95% 3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran are available, and are included in many sports and testosterone boosting supplements.

Nettle also provides formic acid, histamine, serotonin, choline, minerals, chlorophyll, amino acids, lecithin, carotenoids, flavonoids, sterols, tannins and vitamins. Nettle’s main plant chemicals include: acetophenone, acetylcholine, agglutinins, alkaloids, astragalin, butyric acid, caffeic acids, carbonic acid, chlorogenic acid, chlorophyll, choline, coumaric acid, folacin, formic acid, friedelins, histamine, kaempherols, koproporphyrin, lectins, lecithin, lignans, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, neoolivil, palmitic acid, pantothenic acid, quercetin, quinic acid, scopoletin, secoisolariciresinol, serotonin, sitosterols, stigmasterol, succinic acid, terpenes, violaxanthin, and xanthophylls

Nettle Leaf as food

Stinging nettle leaves are considered a food stuff due to their historical presence in European diets. Rich in essential minerals such as calcium, potassium and phosphorous, nettle leaves are useful sources of chlorophyll in the diet and offer amounts of vitamins A, C, D and K. Root vs. leaf

Precautions / Side Effects

Medicinal herbs have been used safely for hundreds of years. Nevertheless, it is best to take them under the supervision of a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner. Some individuals may notice such side effects as stomach upset, fluid retention and mild diarrhea when taking nettle; your doctor will be able to tell you if these are a serious concern for you.

The use of herbs is a time honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and can interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.

Stinging nettle is generally considered safe when used as directed. Occasional side effects:

  • mild stomach upset
  • fluid retention
  • sweating
  • diarrhea
  • hives or rash (mainly from topical use)

It is important to be careful when handling the nettle plant because touching it can cause an allergic rash. Stinging nettle should never be applied to an open wound.

Blood thinners

Antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs (blood thinners) may be effected by Nettle as they may affect the blood’s ability to clot, and could interfere with blood thinning drugs, including:

  • Warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Clopidogrel (Plavix)
  • Aspirin

Pregnancy and breast-feeding:

Because nettle can alter the menstrual cycle and may contribute to miscarriage, pregnant women should not use nettle.

Stinging nettle is may be dangerous to take during pregnancy. It might stimulate uterine contractions and cause a miscarriage. It’s also best to avoid stinging nettle if you are breast-feeding.

High blood pressure:

There is some evidence that stinging nettle leaf and stem might lower blood pressure. If you are taking blood pressure medications along with stinging nettle, your blood pressure might drop too low. If you have high blood pressure, discuss stinging nettle with your healthcare provider before starting it.

Nettle may make the effects of these drugs stronger:

  • ACE inhibitors: Captpril (Capoten), Elaropril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Zestril), fosinopril (Monopril)
  • Beta blockers: Atenolol (Tenormin), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), propranolol (Induran)
  • Calcium channel blockers: Nifedipine (Procardia), amlodipine (Norvasc), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin)

Kidney problems:

The above ground parts of stinging nettle seem to increase urine flow. If you have kidney problems, discuss stinging nettle with your healthcare provider before starting it.

Diabetes

Stinging nettle may lower blood sugar, so it could make the effects of these drugs stronger, raising the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Lithium

Stinging nettle may have a diuretic effect and may decrease how well the body excretes the drug.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

In a scientific study of patients with acute arthritis, stewed stinging nettle leaves enhanced the anti-inflammatory effect of diclofenac, an NSAID. Although the effect can reduce pain, talk to your doctor before taking or using stinging nettle if you also take NSAIDs.

Diuretics (water pills)

Because stinging nettle can act as a diuretic, it can increase the effects of these drugs, raising the risk of dehydration:

  • Furosemide (Lasix)
  • Hydrocholorothiazide

Nettle Plant information

Stinging nettle is the name given to common nettle, garden nettle, and hybrids of these 2 plants. Originally from the colder regions of northern Europe and Asia, this herbaceous shrub grows all over the world today. Stinging nettle grows well in nitrogen rich soil, blooms between June and September, and usually reaches 2 – 4 feet high.

Stems are upright and rigid. The leaves are heart shaped, finely toothed, and tapered at the ends, and flowers are yellow or pink. The entire plant is covered with tiny stiff hairs, mostly on the underside of the leaves and stem, that release stinging chemicals when touched.

Alternative Names:

Nettle; Urtica dioica; Urtica urens; Urtica radix,Stinging Nettle, Common Nettle, Gerrais, Isirgan, Kazink, Ortiga, Grande Ortie, Ortie, Urtiga, Chichicaste, and Brennessel

 

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2 Responses to Stinging Nettle

  1. Jared Westover

    I am impressed with this site. I am a fan .

    • nat male sup

      Thank you Jared. We are always adding new information. We hope you come back often. If there is anything you think we are missing, please let us know.

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