This is the first of a series of herbal monographs I have written up to share with you all. There will be many more to come!
What is stinging nettle?! One of the powerhouses here and an herb I don't think gets enough praise. I will never be without Stinging Nettle in my apothecary.
- Nourishing to the whole body: Nettle is used for a very wide variety of ailments and is recommended for supporting overall good health. They are a nourishing herbal food high in a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals (iron, calcium, magnesium, protein) Nettles help create energy and build healthy bones, joints, teeth, blood, skin and hair. Stinging nettle contains about 2900 mg of calcium for each 100 grams of dried leaf. The form of calcium found in nettle is well absorbed by the body and is accompanied by the presence of magnesium. Magnesium is crucial for bone health and the key to proper absorption of calcium. Nettle also contains boron which helps our bones retain calcium. It should come as no surprise that this herb is excellent for osteoarthritis.
- Women's Health: Nettle is also high in iron and wonderful for women's health issues as it is easy on the stomach unlike many iron supplements. Nettle infusions also may help with menstrual cramping. They are an excellent remedy for anemia, low blood pressure and general weakness. The increase the body's excretion of uric acid which may help with rheumatism and gout.
- Allergy Relief: Possibly due to the plant's histamine content, they are also excellent for reduction in seasonal allergy symptoms. Nettle reduces the inflammatory response when taken daily. It also contains quercetin (anti-inflammatory) that opens up constricted nasal and bronchial passages making it excellent for asthma sufferers as well. Quercetin also helps drive zinc into the cells. Some herbalists contest there's no better herb for the treatment of hay fever symptoms.
- Detoxing: Nettle can also be used for detoxing by supporting the main detox organs (liver, lungs and urinary tract). It is often used to treat signs of poor elimination such as eczema and constipation. Stinging nettle is also a diuretic and can be used for urinary tract infections. It is also used to strengthen the lungs and is helpful to those with asthma.
- Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes: In clinical trials nettle was used with people who have insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. They showed significant improvement in their fasting blood glucose. It has a myriad of positive effects on metabolism, inflammation and hyperglycemia.
- Urtication: This is a relatively lost practice of rubbing fresh stinging nettle leaves on the skin. Yes, it burns and stings slightly depending on your sensitivity but it also brings great relief to arthritis!
- Prostate Health: Nettle contains compounds that may inhibit the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. This enzyme converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a potent androgen hormone associated with prostate enlargement, low testosterone levels in older men, and hair loss. Most of this conversion occurs in the prostate and hair follicles. By reducing the conversion of testosterone, these areas do not feel the androgenizing effects that result when DHT is present.
Medical Herbalism, David Hoffman
The Botanical Safety Handbook
The Modern Herbal Dispensatory: A Medicine Making Guide, Thomas Easley and Steven Horne
Alchemy of Herbs, Rosalee De La Foret