Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a common flowering perennial that’s been used medicinally since the times of Ancient Greece. If you’ve ever gone hiking, you probably know this plant best for the swelling, pain, and itchiness it leaves behind when you brush it with your bare skin. While the plant itself has a natural — and painful! — defense mechanism, it also offers several important health benefits.
Nettle root has traditionally been used as a diuretic, astringent, and treatment of common problems like joint pain, inflammation, and UTIs. Research has backed up many of the medicinal uses of this plant extract and proved its anti-inflammatory and astringent properties.
Today, nettle root benefits are well-known. This extract can be used for relief from a range of conditions and symptoms. It may even be helpful in combination with conventional medicine. Here are 7 uses of nettle root that may improve your life.
7 Most Important Nettle Root Benefits
1. Relieves Symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
One of the most important nettle root benefits for men is that this extract has been found to reduce symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Also called an enlarged prostate, this common condition usually occurs in older men. It may cause a weak urine stream, difficulty starting or stopping urination or a strong urge to urinate again after urinating. While it may be common and it’s not usually serious, an enlarged prostate can affect many areas of your life.
Nettle root is one of the most common herbal remedies for the symptoms of BPH due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Several studies have found that nettle root can relieve symptoms of BPH, sometimes dramatically. One study even recommended the use of nettle given its effectiveness and safety. Just remember that nettle root can’t treat the actual enlargement of the prostate like some medications. The plant can only relieve symptoms.
2. Reduces Symptoms of Hay Fever
Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is one of the most common allergies in the world. That isn’t much consolation, however, when you are left with watery eyes, a stuffy nose, sneezing, and itchiness throughout the summer.
According to researchers, nettle root benefits may extend to allergy-sufferers. Evidence shows that nettle root taken when you first develop hay fever symptoms may offer some relief from the itching and sneezing. In one study on the relation between nettle root and hay fever, volunteers with moderately severe symptoms were recruited during hay fever season and assigned to receive a placebo or 300 mg of dried nettle. 58% of the participants reported that nettle was moderate to very effective at reducing allergy symptoms.
3. Anti-Inflammatory Properties that Relieve Arthritis Pain
The hallmark of arthritis is joint pain in the hands, hips, knees, and spine. Many people with arthritis take NSAIDs to reduce inflammation. On the other hand, nettle root can offer the same benefit. In fact, nettle is often combined with NSAIDs to reduce the prolonged use of these drugs and the side effects they can cause.
According to one German study, an extract of stinging nettle was found to contain an important anti-inflammatory compound. It was able to suppress a number of cytokines in inflammatory joint disease like rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Other studies also suggest nettle can relieve arthritis symptoms when applied topically to affected areas.
4. Helps with Gout
One of the lesser-known nettle root benefits is this extract may offer help in treating gout. This is an acute inflammatory form of arthritis caused by a high level of uric acid in the blood. While there are drugs that help reduce inflammation and ease the pain of gout, they can have serious side effects.
Nettle is a popular extract that can relieve gout symptoms by reducing your body’s inflammatory response. As inflammation goes down, the pain of a gout flare will also be relieved.
5. Nettle May Reduce Blood Pressure
While only preliminary animal studies have been conducted so far, research indicates that nettle root may help lower blood pressure and blood sugar.
Nettle is naturally high in vitamin K which has a blood-thinning effect. Blood thinners are usually prescribed to reduce the risk of blood clots, improve circulation, and lower blood pressure. If you’re considering nettle root for high blood pressure or clotting disorders, make sure you tell your doctor.
However, nettle may interact with blood thinners like aspirin and Warfarin. It may also strengthen the effects of drugs for high blood pressure like beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors.
6. Helps Prevent and Treat Kidney Stones
Nettle is a detoxifier and natural diuretic which promotes a better production of urine to expel salt and water from your body. By assisting this process, nettle can help prevent minerals from crystalizing and becoming kidney stones.
Nettle root has also been used for centuries to prevent and treat urinary tract infections which can also cause kidney stones. Along with helping break down kidney stones, stinging nettle can reduce inflammation of the bladder that may contribute to the problem.
7. Nettle Root Is a Popular Remedy for UTI
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) typically affect women. They usually cause painful urination, a burning sensation, and a sense of urgency to urinate. About 20% of women suffer from a UTI at least once a year. If they aren’t treated, UTIs can cause permanent kidney damage or kidney infection.
A UTI can be treated with antibiotics. On the other hand, there are drawbacks to the use of antibiotics, including a rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Nettle is a natural and safe herbal remedy that can help prevent and treat urinary tract infections. In fact, this is one of the primary uses of this herb. Nettle works by flushing bacteria out of the urinary tract. The potent anti-inflammatory properties of nettle root can also help soothe inflammation and relieve burning and pain.
Nettle root is easy to incorporate into your routine as a tea, supplement or tonic you can apply topically. While some popular nettle root benefits are mostly anecdotal, numerous studies have already confirmed that this centuries-old natural remedy has real medical value. Could nettle root help you manage any health problems in your life? Have you ever tried nettle? If so, please leave a comment and tell us if it worked for you!