Growing Stinging Nettle? Yes. Grow! You may have had unpleasant experiences with this plant. The stinging irritation when it comes in contact with your skin is not something you want to feel again. Well, there is more to this plant though than the prickly pain associated with it. It is one of the most used plants in herbal medicine, credited with a lot of benefits. Wondering how? Let’s delve deeper to find out.
1. Reduces Joint Pain
Painful muscles and joints? Nettle could help you with that. Some people have found relief from joint pain by applying nettle leaf topically to the painful area. Taking stinging nettle orally or applying it to the skin may reduce pain in people with osteoarthritis. Stinging nettle’s anti-inflammatory effect can also work against autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, it is also found that it could even minimize the need for pain medications.
2. Treats Urinary Problems
Stinging nettle is widely used to treat urinary problems during the early stages of an enlarged prostate, called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. Nettle, when combined with other herbs, may effectively treat the symptoms of BPH. Frequent urge to urinate, reduced urinary flow, painful urination, and incomplete emptying of the bladder are the early symptoms of BPH. How is nettle capable of doing it? Well, researchers are not yet sure of the exact mechanism behind it. One assumption is that the chemical present in it affects the hormones that cause BPH. Other than as a treatment for BPH, it is also used to treat urinary tract infections.
3. Fights Hay Fever
Stinging nettle can reduce the symptoms of hay fever to a great extent. It treats sneezing and itching that comes with hay fever. This herb is also found effective in relieving allergies. This might be due to nettle’s ability to manage the histamine production in your body. Histamine, which is a part of your immune response, is released during an allergic reaction. So, it is believed that nettle lowers the amount of histamine produced by your body in response to an allergen. You can even take a freeze-dried preparation of stinging nettle as a precaution before hay fever season starts.1
4. Lowers Blood Pressure
There are animal studies indicating that nettle may lower blood sugar and blood pressure.2 Well, these are preliminary studies. To know whether they are true in humans, we need to come up with more research.
5. Heals Eczema
Eczema is the itchy inflammation of the skin. Stinging nettle can cure the dry rashes that eczema leaves on your skin. Its antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties equip stinging nettle to fight eczema.
Apart from this, stinging nettle is also believed to be helpful in losing weight, stimulating hair growth, reducing water retention, and treating anemia. But there is not enough research to prove these benefits scientifically.
A Note Of Caution
As a word of caution, herbs can trigger negative reactions sometimes. Always take herbs with care. Even though it is generally considered safe, nettle causes occasional side effects such as stomach upset, sweating, and diarrhea. It is better to talk with your health care practitioner before you start relying on stinging nettle. Also, be careful when you handle the nettle plant. Contact with the hairs or spines on the stems and leaves of the stinging nettle causes the release of several biologically active substances, which may cause itching. However, this should not stop you from growing the plant. Take adequate precautionary measures. We don’t want you to miss out this beneficial plant.