This plant is covered in minute hairs that inject irritants into your skin when they are touched. Included are histamines which causes itching, and acetylcholine, which causes a burning sensation. Stinging nettle should be in every household for food and medicine. It is highly nutritious and more nutritionally dense than seagreens and blue green algae. Here Aaron Kandola, MedicalNewsToday, reflects on the benefits and uses of stinging nettle, medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D.,MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT:
“Stinging nettle has a range of uses, and many people find it to be an effective remedy. The herb is generally safe to use, but it can cause side effects in some people.
There is limited research to suggest that stinging nettle is an effective remedy. Researchers need to do more studies before they can confirm the health benefits of stinging nettle.
This article will take a look at what the research says about the benefits and uses of stinging nettle. It will also discuss potential side effects and how to use the herb.
What is stinging nettle?
Stinging nettle, or Urtica dioica, is a common plant that grows in the United States, Canada, and Europe. It primarily grows in damp, fertile soil.
The nettle has sharp hairs on its leaves. These hairs contain chemicals, such as formic acid and histamine, that can irritate the skin and cause stinging, itching, and redness.
Stinging nettle hairs also contain a range of other chemicals that can affect humans, including acetylcholine and serotonin.
Ancient civilizations used stinging nettles to treat various ailments. For example, Ancient Egyptians used stinging nettle infusions to treat arthritis. Some people still use stinging nettle as a medicinal aid today.
Below, we cover the alleged health benefits of stinging nettle.
One of the most popular uses of stinging nettle is treating arthritis symptoms. According to the Arthritis Foundation, some people claim that the nettle can reduce inflammation, help improve osteoarthritis (OA) pain, and ease gout.
Researchers have investigated the following properties of stinging nettle:
Stinging nettle hairs contain several chemicals that have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. This means that stinging nettle could help reduce pain and inflammation in conditions such as arthritis.
Over a period of 3 months, people who took the supplement reported fewer symptoms and less frequent use of their anti-inflammatory medications than those in the placebo group. However, there is a need for more recent studies in humans.
The results of a 2016 mouse study suggested that a herbal gel containing Urtica dioica had pain-relieving and anti-edema effects without irritating the skin.
People who use stinging nettles either take capsules or apply a cream that contains stinging nettles to their affected joints.
Because of its anti-inflammatory effects, which have let to its current uses in conditions such as arthritis and allergies, researchers hope that stinging nettle could also have uses in other inflammatory conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
There is some early evidence to suggest that stinging nettle could also help with the treatment of diabetes. However, much of this research is limited to animals.
In another RCT from 2013, people with type 2 diabetes took 500-milligram (mg) capsules of stinging nettle extract or a placebo every 8 hours along with their usual treatment. After 3 months, the stinging nettle extract had a positive effect on blood glucose levels.
Other studies have had similar results.
These findings are promising, but researchers need to conduct more studies in humans to determine whether stinging nettle could be a useful addition to traditional diabetes treatments.”
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