The Benefits of Stinging Nettle


nettle leaf

Many people know “Stinging Nettle” as an annoying garden weed that delivers a painful bite. However, nettle is far, far more than a nuisance! The nettle plant as a whole- roots, stem, and leaves, has been examined by some of the world’s leading research institutions and found to have many powerful, positive benefits to offer the human body.

What Compounds Does Nettle Contain?

The plant is comprised mainly of complex sugars and lectins. Nettle contains prostaglandins which have properties that support resistance to redness and irritation. Nettle leaf also contains high levels of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and beta-carotene and high amounts of the vitamins A, C, D, and B complex.

The Health Benefits of Organic Nettle Leaf

Nettle has been evaluated for antioxidant activity, its resistance to microorganisms, and other common, as well as serious, health ailments. The Department of Nutritional Sciences & Toxicology, University of California, Berkeley evaluated separate components of the nettle plant (roots, stalk, leaves) and discovered overall potent nutraceutical activity throughout. [1]

Università di Pisa in Italy determined further evidence of the benefits of nettle by concluding that nettle had a relaxing effect that produced a decrease in blood pressure. [2]

Relation to Defense Against Microorganisms

Research conducted at Turkey’s Institute of Transplantation and Gene Sciences of Baskent University performed a study designed to evaluate harmful organism toxicity in several plant extracts, including stinging nettle. Results indicated high activity in the nettle extract and even suggested it to be an extract of importance to the agricultural industry in a plant disease control capacity. What opportunities has that opened to organic farmers? [3] This is not much surprise, nettle has repeatedly proven effective as a defense against microorganisms. A Netherlands study found significant activity against harmful organisms within nettle extract and noted it may be beneficial for some instances of diarrhea. [4]

Research conducted at Abant Izzet Baysal University in Turkey evaluated nettle against six common harmful organisms. Nettle leaf extract showed the highest inhibitory effects against three of the six organisms. [5] The Institute for Vaccines and Sera in Russia also evaluated the efficacy of herbs against microorganisms and found nettle to be effective. [6]

Impact on Prostate Health

Germany has a cultural tradition of addressing incidences of enlarged prostate with herbal therapies. Germany’s Universitätsklinik Essen formally evaluated the efficacy of nettle root extract and found the antiphlogistic and antiproliferative effects of the stinging nettle extract to provide a safe therapeutic option for enlarged prostate. [7]

Research conducted by Philipps-Universität in Germany also found significant activity when evaluating the effect of nettle root extract on enlarged prostate. [8] Furthermore, the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Philipps-Universität indicated research suggests nettle root extract to hold compounds that would be of interest for those researching prostate health. [9]

Recent Developments

Kynurenic acid is a substance that’s gotten attention recently due to exhibiting positive cognitive benefits in mice. [10] The Institute of Agricultural Medicine in Lublin, Poland evaluated various herbs for kynurenic acid. Nettle leaf was tested and KYNA was found present. KYNA has been generating interest due to proposed neuroactive activity that may be beneficial in certain neurobiological disorders. [11]

– Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

References:

  1. Johnson TA, Sohn J, Inman WD, Bjeldanes LF, Rayburn K. Lipophilic stinging nettle extracts possess potent anti-inflammatory activity, are not cytotoxic and may be superior to traditional tinctures for treating inflammatory disorders. Phytomedicine. 2013 Jan 15;20(2):143-7. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2012.09.016. Epub 2012 Oct 23.
  2. Testai L, Chericoni S, Calderone V, Nencioni G, Nieri P, Morelli I, Martinotti E. Cardiovascular effects of Urtica dioica L. (Urticaceae) roots extracts: in vitro and in vivo pharmacological studies. J Ethnopharmacol. 2002 Jun;81(1):105-9.
  3. Körpe DA, Işerı OD, Sahin FI, Cabi E, Haberal M. High-antibacterial activity of Urtica spp. seed extracts on food and plant pathogenic bacteria. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2013 May;64(3):355-62. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2012.734290. Epub 2012 Oct 16.
  4. Knipping K, Garssen J, van’t Land B. An evaluation of the inhibitory effects against rotavirus infection of edible plant extracts. Virol J. 2012 Jul 26;9:137. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-9-137.
  5. Turker AU, Usta C. Biological screening of some Turkish medicinal plant extracts for antimicrobial and toxicity activities. Nat Prod Res. 2008 Jan 20;22(2):136-46.
  6. Baronets NG, Adlova GP, Mel’nikova VA. [Effect of medicinal plant extracts on the growth of microorganisms]. Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol. 2001 Sep-Oct;(5):71-2. Russian.
  7. Schneider T, Rübben H. [Stinging nettle root extract (Bazoton-uno) in long term treatment of benign prostatic syndrome (BPS). Results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled multicenter study after 12 months]. Urologe A. 2004 Mar;43(3):302-6. German.
  8. Lichius JJ, Lenz C, Lindemann P, Müller HH, Aumüller G, Konrad L. Antiproliferative effect of a polysaccharide fraction of a 20% methanolic extract of stinging nettle roots upon epithelial cells of the human prostate (LNCaP). Pharmazie. 1999 Oct;54(10):768-71.
  9. Konrad L, Müller HH, Lenz C, Laubinger H, Aumüller G, Lichius JJ. Antiproliferative effect on human prostate cancer cells by a stinging nettle root (Urtica dioica) extract. Planta Med. 2000 Feb;66(1):44-7.
  10. Potter MC, Elmer GI, Bergeron R, Albuquerque EX, Guidetti P, Wu HQ, Schwarcz R. Reduction of endogenous kynurenic acid formation enhances extracellular glutamate, hippocampal plasticity, and cognitive behavior. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2010 Jul;35(8):1734-42. doi: 10.1038/npp.2010.39. Epub 2010 Mar 24.
  11. Turski MP, Turska M, Zgrajka W, Bartnik M, Kocki T, Turski WA. Distribution, synthesis, and absorption of kynurenic acid in plants. Planta Med. 2011 May;77(8):858-64. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1250604. Epub 2010 Dec 14.

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  • Big Al

    Keep up the good work!!!!

  • Nancy

    Wow this is an amazing article. Its astonishing the entire world isn’t outraged at the FDA’S Standards and practices. This should be apart of everyone’s diet young and old. Nettles, really are packed full of every essential nutrient a body needs to be healthy and have vitality. I’m going to try it for my fibromyalgia and arthritis.
    Thank you for all your research and valid references it is sooooooo appreciated.

  • kinta

    Thanks for the information- keep posting!

  • CARA ANAAM

    Much nettle growing in my yard this year and I usually take such appearances as a sign the plant would be helpful to me. Thanks for your information and research.

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