Nettle Leaf (Urtica dioica)
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ALSO KNOWN AS: stinging nettle, nettle
PLANT FAMILY: Urticaceae
PART(S) USED: Dried Leaves
OVERVIEW: Stinging nettles are herbaceous perennials that thrive in wet climates and moist soils. Nettles earn their name from the tiny hairs found on the leaves and stems that cause a stinging sensation upon contact with skin. Nettles have been used for centuries in a variety of countries and cultures.
TRADITIONAL USES: Nettles are said to have a multitude of benefits and a long history for the treatment of seasonal allergies, rheumatism, eczema, osteoarthritis, joint paint, gout, anemia, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and enlarged prostate issues in the early stage (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH).
Nettles are said to have antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-ulcer, astringent, and analgesic properties. Nettles are said to work well alongside nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to allow patients to decrease their NSAID use. Because prolonged use of NSAIDs may cause serious side effects, this is an ideal pairing.
As a food, stinging nettle can substitute for spinach in any cooked recipe (they lose their sting when cooked). You can add them to lasagna, make pasta with them, and use them in soups or stews.
Whether you are drinking nettle tea, eating a meal made with nettle, or taking a nettle supplement, the plant is said to be very nutritional.
Nettles are said to be rich in vitamins A, B, C, and K, as well as high in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. They are believed to contain all 20 essential amino acids.
PRECAUTIONS & CONTRAINDICATIONS:
- Use at your own risk.
- Nettles may react with Lithium, and Diabetes and high blood pressure medications, sedative medications, and blood thinners. The above ground parts of stinging nettle seem to increase urine flow. If you have kidney problems, discuss stinging nettle with your healthcare provider before starting it.
- Always consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using any herbal products, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, have an existing medical condition, have allergies, or are on any medications.
WARNING: This information is for educational purposes only, has not been evaluated by Health Canada, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
HEALTH CANADA REFERENCE: