Articles

Stining Nettle

Plant Part Used

Root, leaf

Active Constituents

Flavonoid glycosides, lignan glycosides, beta-sitosterol and other plant sterols, formic acid, histamine, chlorophyll, acetylcholine. (1),(2),(19),(22),(23) [span class=alert]

This section is a list of chemical entities identified in this dietary supplement to possess pharmacological activity. This list does not imply that other, yet unidentified, constituents do not influence the pharmacological activity of this dietary supplement nor does it imply that any one constituent possesses greater influence on the overall pharmacological effect of this dietary supplement.[/span]

Introduction

Stinging nettle is a well-known herb in Europe, with benefits including medicine, food, fodder, cosmetic, agriculture of biodynamic and textile production. (18) Stinging nettle has gained a great deal of attention in two areas over the last few years. First, the freeze-dried leaf has been used in relation to allergies, with some success. (3) More recently, nettle root has been claimed to be beneficial in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). (4) , (5) In Europe, nettle is used as a spring tonic and as a detoxifying agent. Nettle has been used in the past for childhood eczema and gouty arthritis because of its reported ability to promote the excretion of uric acid. (6) It is used as an astringent, diuretic, tonic, and to a lesser extent, a hypotensive agent. (7)

Interactions and Depletions

Interactions

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

Root: 250mg (standardized extract), 1-3 times a day.

Freeze-dried leaf: 300-1200mg daily in divided doses.

Leaf liquid extract: 30-120 drops of liquid extract, 2-3 times a day in beverage of a 1:1w/v (fresh plant) or a 1:4w/v (dry plant) extract.

Tea: 1.5 gm coarse powdered herb to water. (8)

Most Common Dosage

Root: 250mg (standardized extract), 2 times a day.

Freeze-dried leaf: 600mg, 2-4 times a day as needed.

Liquid extract: 30-60 drops, 2-3 times a day in beverage of a 1:1w/v (fresh plant) or a 1:4w/v (dry plant) extract.

Tea: 1.5 gm coarse powdered herb to water.

Standardization

[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]

The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to 1-2% plant silica per dose.

Uses

Frequently Reported Uses

  • Allergic Rhinitis
  • Hayfever
  • Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH)
  • Diuretic
  • Eczema
  • Anti-Rheumatic
Other Reported Uses
  • Allergies
  • Gout
  • Arthritis
  • Anemia
  • Hair Loss, Nail Growth
  • Anti-Inflammatory.
  • Astringent For Wound Healing, Styptic (Topical Application)
  • Antioxidant
  • Haemostatic agent

Toxicities & Precautions

General

No known toxicity in recommended dosages. (9)

The root of nettle may cause sweating, gastrointestinal complaints and allergic skin reactions. In certain cases, diarrhea may occur when drinking nettle juice. (23)

Fresh nettle leaves can cause localized rash, itching, stinging, and tongue edema. (23)

Contact with the plant in mature form can induce hives.

Health Conditions

Based on silica content, caution should be exercised if an individual has kidney problems.

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

Based on pharmacology, do not use in pregnancy.

If nursing, consult a physician before use.

Age Limitations

Do not use in children under 2 years of age unless recommended by a physician

Pharmacology

Stinging nettle root is reported to inhibit sex hormone binding globulin which has an effect on the androgenic receptors of the prostatic cytosol and inhibits the effects of estrogen. (10) , (11) Stinging nettle root is also claimed to influence the binding of 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone with its receptors. (12) , (13) The leaf is used to increase the excretion of uric acid from the kidneys and to mobilize its removal from joints. (14) , (15)

A randomized, double-blind study of 92 individuals reported that a freeze-dried preparation of stinging nettle leaf was superior to placebo in relieving the symptoms of allergic rhinitis (itching, watery eyes, runny nose). (16)

It has been investigated that the long-term consumption of the combination of saw palmetto (Sabal serrulata, Serenoa repens) fruit and nettle root extract was reported the best treatment of urinary tract symptom, hence it has the ability to treat Low Urinary Tract Symptom (LUTC) that cause by BPH. (17) In other research, similar results using a mixture of saw fruit with nettle root were reported to be more effective than consumed pure nettle extract. In addition, a review of studies using nettle in 40,000 men suffering from BPH found promising results, but further clinical testing needs to be performed to confirm the results. (20)

Nettle is reported to have haemostatic activity when combined with four other plants, including Thymus vulgaris, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Vitis vinifera and Alpinia officinarum. This combination is called Ankaferd Blood Stopper(ABS) and has been used in Turkish as a haemostatic agent in traditional medicine. (21)

In a laboratory animal study, nettle was reported to have antioxidant and inflammatory effects. It also has the ability to promote learning performance in the rat brain. (23)

References

  1. Chaurasia N, et al. Flavonolgykoside aus Urtica dioica. Planta Medica. 1987;53:432-33.
  2. View Abstract: Galelli A, et al. Urtica dioica Agglutinin. A Superantigenic Lectin from Stinging Nettle Rhizome. J Immunol. 1993;151(4):1821.
  3. View Abstract: Mittman P, et al. Randomized, Double-blind Study of Freeze-dried Urtica dioica in the Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis. Planta Medica. 1990;56:44.
  4. View Abstract: Krzeski T, et al. Combined Extracts of Urtica dioica and Pygeum africanum in the Treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: Double-blind Comparison of Two Doses. Clin Ther. 1993;15(6):1011-20.
  5. View Abstract: Wagner H, et al. Biologically Active Compounds from the Aqueous Extract of Urtica dioica. Planta Med. 1989;55(5):452-54.
  6. View Abstract: Obertreis B, et al. Anti-inflammatory Effect of Urtica dioica folia Extract in Comparison to Caffeic Malic Acid. Arzneim-Forsch/Drug Res. Jan1996;46(1):52-56.
  7. Wichtl M, in Bisset NA, ed. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. Stuttgart: Scientific Press; 1994:508-09.
  8. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd edition. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:731.
  9. Wichtl M, in Bisset NA, ed. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. Stuttgart: Scientific Press; 1994:508-09.
  10. View Abstract: Hryb DJ, et al. The Effect of Extracts of the Roots of the Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) on the Interaction of SHBG with Its Receptor on Human Prostatic Membranes. Planta Med. 1995;61(1):31-32.
  11. View Abstract: Gansser D, et al. Plant Constituents Interfering with Human Sex Hormone-binding Globulin. Evaluation of a Test Method and Its Application to Urtica dioica Root Extracts. Z Naturforsch.[C]. 1995;50(1-2):98-104.
  12. View Abstract: Sokeland J, et al. Combination of Sabal and Urtica Extract vs. Finasteride in Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (Aiken Stages I to II). Comparison of Therapeutic Effectiveness in a One Year Double-Blind Study. Urologe A. Jul1997;36(4):327-33.
  13. View Abstract: Vahlensieck W,Jr. et al. Drug Therapy of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. Fortschr Med. Nov1996;114(31):407-11.
  14. Ignat'ev MV. Stinging Nettle. Med Sestra. 1988;47(1):31-32.
  15. View Abstract: Obertreis B, et al. Anti-inflammatory Effect of Urtica dioica folia Extract in Comparison to Caffeic Malic Acid. Arzneim-Forsch/Drug Res. Jan1996;46(1):52-56.
  16. View Abstract: Mittman P. Randomized, Double-blind Study of Freeze-dried Urtica dioica in the Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis. Planta Med. Feb1990;56(1):44-47.
  17. Lopatkin N., et al. Long-term efficacy and safety of a combination of Sabal and Urtica extract for lower urinary tract symptoms—a placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter trial. World Journal of Urology. July2005;2(23):139–146.
  18. Bodros E., Baley C. Study of the tensile properties of stinging nettle fibres (Urtica dioica). Materials Letters. May2008;14(62):2143-2145.
  19. Chrubasik J.E., et al. A comprehensive review on nettle effect and efficacy profiles, Part I: Herba urticae. Phytomedicine. June 2007;6(14):423-435.
  20. Chrubasik J.E., et al. A comprehensive review on nettle effect and efficacy profiles, Part I: Urticae radix. Phytomedicine. Aug2007;7-8(14):568–579.
  21. Goker H., et al. Haemostatic Actions of the Folkloric Medicinal Plant Extract Ankaferd Blood Stopper. The Journal of International Medical Research. 2008; 36:163 – 170.
  22. Lourdes R., et al. Risks and Benefits of Commonly used Herbal Medicines in Mexico. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. Feb2008;1(227):125-135.
  23. Toldy A., et al. The beneficial effects of nettle supplementation and exercise on brain lesion and memory in rat. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. Dec2009;12(20):974-981.