Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) is entirely covered with prickly hairs. It is a member of the Urticaceae family. The plant is common in most termperate regions of the world. The above ground parts of the plant can be used medicinally. The root contains polysaccharides with immunomodulating and anti-inflammatory effects. The leaf is a great source of vitamin C, carotene, vitamin K, and potassium. Stinging Nettle leaf constituents include beta-sitosterol and flavonoids quercetin, rutin, kaempferol. In addition to anti-inflammatory effects, the leaf also demonstrates analgesic, hemostatic, antibacterial, and antiviral activities.
A number of studies have been conducted to evaluate the value of stinging nettle. Research has shown that the root has potential to relieve the symptons of an enlarged prostate. It does not cure the enlargement but relieves the symptoms such as frequent urination and weak urinary flow. The plant and leaf of stinging nettle have been used for kidney and bladder stones, rheumatism, and urinary tract infections. In homeopathic remedies, stinging nettle has also been used for the spleen, itch relief, and with allergies to significantly reduce mucous and help reduce nasal congestion.
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Cautions Orally, stinging nettle is well tolerated. Stinging Nettle root has lead to some gastrointestinal complaints, sweating, and allergic skin reactions.