Article is originally written by Mahesh Kr. Bhandari, B.Sc Ag, IAAS
Stinging nettle, also called common nettle or nettle leaf is a herbacious perennial plant of family Urticaceae. Stinging nettle is distributed nearly worldwide but is originally native to Europe, much of temperate Asia, North Africa and North America.This plant is common in traditional herbal medicine, tea and textile raw materials in ancient time.
fig :Urtica dioica
This species is further divided into 6 sub-species. It often grows about 2m in height. The plant can spread vegetatively with its yellow creeping rhizomes and often forms dense colonies. The stems and leaves are covered with neumerous stinging and non- stinging trichomes. The small green or white flowers are borne in dense whorled clusters in the leaf axils and stem tips. This plant can be monoecious or dioecious, depends upon the sub-species. The fruits are small achnenes and the plants produce abundant amounts of seeds.
Kingdom : Plantae
Clade : Angiosperm
Clade : Eudicots
Clade : Rosids
Order : Rosales
Family : Urticaceae
Genus : Urtica
Species : U. dioica
- Osteoarthritis : There is evidance that taking stinging nettle by mouth or applying it to the skin might reduce pain in people with osteoarthritis.
- Reduce Inflammation : Stinging neetle may help to supress inflammation such as arthritis. But further human studies are needed.
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia(BPH) : Stinging nettle may help to reduce prostrate gland in men with BPH.
- Hay fever : Hay fever is an allergy that involves inflammation in the lining of nose. Stinging nettle is viewd as promising natural treatment for hay fever. Further human studies is needed.
- Reduce bleeding : Especially after surgery, stinging neetle have been found to reduce excessive bleeding.
- Diabetes : Early research suggests that taking stinging nettle daily for 8 weeks doesnot affect the control of blood sugar levels.
- Wound healing : Using stinging nettle creams may support wound healing including burn wounds.
- Cancer, Asthma , Anemia.
Consuming dried or cooked stinging nettle is safe. However be careful when handling fresh stinging nettle leaves as their hair-like barbs can harm your skin.
- Pregnancy and breast feeding : Stinging nettle is likely unsafe to take during pregnancy. It might stimulate uterine contractions and causes a miscarriage and during breast feeding, It is also best to avoid.
- Diabetes : There is some evidance stinging nettle above ground parts can decrease blood sugar levels. It might increase the chance of low blood sugar in people being treated for diabetes.
- Kidney Problems : The above ground parts stinging nettle seems to increase urine flow. If you have kidney problems, discuss stinging nettle with your health care.
HOW TO CONSUME?
Stinging nettle is incredibly easy to add to your daily routine. It can be purchased in many health food stores, but you can also grow it yourself.
You can take dried leaves, capsules, tinctures and creams. The dried leaves and flowers can be steeped to make a delicious herbal tea, while its leaves, Stem and roots can be cooked. However you can avoid eating fresh leaves, as their barbs can cause irritation.
Some studies suggest that the following doses are most effective for certain conditions.
- Enlarged prostrate gland : 360 mg of root extract per day.
- Allergies : 600 mg of freeze- dried leaves per day
Consult to your docter before trying it and follow instructions that come with it.
SOME FACTS ABOUT IT?
- Nettles need phosphates in the soil in order to thrive. This is why they grow so well near where humans live, with our phosphate-rich rubbish dumps and livestock paddocks.
- Nettles have evolved stings to prevent them being eaten by animals.
- Despite their stings, nettle have for a long time provided a source of food for humans in the forms of soups, broths, teas.
- Nettles are also used as a fibre to make sting and cloth.
Ref. Ryan Raman , Safarinejad..