When talking about stinging nettle, the first association is usually an unpleasant stinging irritation on the skin whenever it touches the leaf or stalk of this plant. The most important thing to know about stinging nettle is that it is one of the most healing plants a person can utilize. It is a species of the self-propagating plant of the genus Urtica that grows up in deserted places as weeds.
What causes a bad feeling is a sharp juice that comes from the leaves and petioles to human skin when a direct contact occurs. When stinging nettle comes into contact with a part of the body where a person feels the pain, it can reduce the level of inflammatory chemicals in the body and affect the way human body transmits the pain signals. People have been using it as a healing plant since olden times.
The ancient Greeks were using it for massage against rheumatic diseases. Stinging nettle was also used as diuretics and in the treatment of painful joints. It helps in cases of digestive disorders, and flavonoids help maintain health and protect against disease by strengthening immunity.
From the micronutrients, stinging nettle is rich in calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus and vitamins C and A. It acts as a diuretic (helps in ejecting water and toxins from the body) and antihemorrhagic (causes hemostasis or stops bleeding). The plant is rich in proteins, fibers, fats, carotenoids, tannins, and antioxidants. There are numerous health effects on the human body, including those related to cardiovascular health, prostate and urinary tract health, allergy treatment, joint pain, osteoarthritis and inflammatory conditions, bleeding and burns.
1. Cardiovascular health
Stinging nettle has been shown to have a positive effect on elevated blood pressure and is used to treat hypertension, according to the study published in Phytotherapy Research. The water extract of Stinging nettle reduces the number of heartbeats and increases the pressure in the left ventricle. Furthermore, it stimulates the aortic vasoconstriction that occurs due to the activation of alpha-adrenergic receptors.
Also, another study published in the same journal confirms that stinging nettle has a positive effect on the prevention of heart disease. Hyperactivity of platelets plays an important role in arterial thrombosis and atherosclerosis. The study has analyzed the impact of different stinging nettle extracts on platelet aggregation. It has managed to prove the traditional use of stinging nettle in prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
2. Prostate and urinary tract health
Stinging nettle is found to stem or slow down the growth of prostate cancer cells. It also shows positive effects in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, according to the study published in Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal. The assumption is that there is a natural steroid component in the root of stinging nettle that prevents metabolism and growth of prostate cells.
The study published in Planta Medica confirmed that the steroid components found in the root of stinging nettle prevent membrane Na +, K (+) - ATPase activity of the prostate, thus slowing down the metabolism and development of prostate cells. Also, the study published in the same journal has shown that stinging nettle has a likely effect on prostate cancer cells. Namely, scientists were observing the activity of a 20% methanol extract of the stinging nettle on the proliferative activity of the human prostate and a part of the epithelium. There is the existence of biologically relevant effects of the constituents found in the root.
3. Treatment of allergies
This particular plant is a well-known natural remedy for allergies and allergic reactions. It contains bioactive substances that prevent pro-inflammatory activity associated with allergic rhinitis. Also, the histamine found in stinging nettle helps fight allergies, according to the study published in journal Respiration.
4. Osteoarthritis and inflammatory conditions
Stinging nettle leaf extract was confirmed and registered as a therapy in rheumatoid arthritis. It is a supportive therapy as it goes in combination with other drugs to reduce the symptoms of this particular disease. If you are susceptible to frequent colds and inflammation, stinging nettles will help you strengthen your immune system because it is rich in copper, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, and zinc. It contains a lot of iron which is why it is believed to be a real anti-anemia fighter.
Stinging nettle is traditionally present in cases of internal bleeding, including uterine bleeding, nasal bleeding, and intestinal bleeding. Stinging nettle extract is a part of a mixture used to stop bleeding, as it has a high efficacy, according to the study published in The Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice.
One of the problems that arise after the bouts of burns are infections that often occur in the burned places. Therefore, the most crucial task of healing burns is to prevent infections and accelerate the skin recovery. The study published in the World Journal of Plastic Surgery has found that Stinging nettle treatment is much more efficient than conventional sulfadiazine silver and vaseline therapy.