Urtica Dioica—or you can call it Common Nettle and Stinging Nettle. Also known as a ‘folk remedy’ for its popularity in folklore all over the world, the plant is often uprooted as a weed. That is a pity because it holds within itself a number of health benefits! The plant grows to its full potential of around 1 to 2m during summers and has widely spread bright yellow rhizomes and stolon. The plant has a very fine, thin hair around its stem and leaves, which are painful to touch and sting badly. That is where the name stinging nettle comes from. But once you look beyond the stinging, the nettle leaf is chock full of nutrients and can give your body a ‘sting’ of good health!
So, how does nettle leaf do so much for our health? It does so with the help of nutrients that fill it!
- Stinging Nettle is rich in Vitamin A, C, D and K.
- It is also rich in Vitamin B.
- It is a good source of iron, potassium, manganese, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, silica, iodine, silicon, sodium, and sulfur.
- It has high amount of proteins and amino acids.
- It has low calorie and fat count.
- It is a good source of chlorophyll and tannin.
Benefits Of Nettle Leaf
Nettle has been known for its health benefits from medieval times. Its root, leaves, seeds, and flowers all have different benefits and are used for treating diseases.
Nettle Leaf Benefits For Skin
Call us shallow, but we do care about how we look. Our skin largely determines our level of attractiveness. Nettle leaves help in a great way to get that flawless skin.
1. Helps In Treating Acne
Dried nettle leaves are used externally and topically for treating acne and blemishes. Nettle leaf extracts are also used as a skin tonic for oily, acne-prone skin as it not only helps in reducing acne but also does that without leaving any scars or blemishes behind.
2. Astringent Properties
Nettle leaves have astringent properties, which helps in treating skin diseases like eczema, insect bites and chicken pox. Its extract or an oil concoction prepared with nettle leaves can be applied topically to treat eczema.
Nettle leaves have anti-inflammatory properties and can be used for treating skin burns and reducing the burn scars.
4. Treats Eczema
Consuming nettle leaf tea regularly helps in curing many stubborn skin diseases including eczema. Drink 2-3 cups of nettle tea a day, which will cleanse your body of toxins and unmask the beautiful you. You can also apply the tincture of nettle leaf topically for quick healing of patchy rashes that accompany eczema.
Nettle Leaf Benefits For Hair
Can nettle leaves help our hair too? They surely can! Here are some of the benefits of nettle leaf for hair:
5. Treats Hair Loss Problem
Using stinging nettle is one of the oldest treatments for combating hair loss. Stinging nettle capsules and tea can be consumed to treat hair loss internally while a good scalp massage using nettle oil combats hair loss effectively.
6. Helps In Hair Re-Growth
Not only does stinging nettle help in combating hair loss, but it also helps in hair re-growth. Nettle leaves are rich in silica and sulfur. This helps in making hair shinier and healthier. Rinsing hair with nettle extracts and water results in re-growth of lost hair and also helps in restoring the original hair color.
7. Treats Dandruff
Massaging your scalp with coconut or mustard oil infused with dried nettle leaves and leaving it overnight is a very effective treatment for dandruff. Juice extracted by crushing fresh nettle leaves is also massaged onto the scalp to treat dandruff.
Health Benefits Of Nettle Leaf
As mentioned before, the nettle leaf packs a punch when it comes to nutrients. It also gives a number of health benefits, some of which are:
8. Treats Arthritic Pain
Stinging nettle has pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it a good cure for arthritic pain. It also treats other joint related diseases like rheumatism, gout, bursitis, and tendonitis. Nettle juice or nettle oil rubbed and massaged over the joints relieves the pain. Nettle tincture and tea consumed orally also helps to alleviate the pain.
[ Read: Effective Herbs To Cure Arthritis ]
9. Treats Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH)
Stinging nettle is used in medicines for the treatment of BPH and other prostate related diseases. Though the studies have found that nettle does not effectively reduce the size of an already enlarged prostate, it is effective in reducing and treating the disease in its early stage when symptoms begin to show. This herb helps in stopping cell growth and division around the area and help in improving prostate health.
10. Treats Urinary Tract Infection
Stinging nettle has diuretic properties and aids in urination. It is used in the treatment of urinary tract infection, bladder infection and other urinary problems caused due to kidney and bladder stones as it breaks down the stones into minuscule sizes and flushes them out with urine. It is also helpful in treating diarrhea and dysentery.
[ Read: Benefits Of Bay Leaf For Health ]
11. Reduces Allergies
The leaves of stinging nettle plant are used to treat and relieve allergies. It is believed that consuming stinging nettle leaf before meals can cure food sensitivities. Nettle has anti-histamine properties, which act against the histamine present in the body and also against the allergic rhinitis. These leaves are helpful in treating seasonal allergies, hay fever, coughs, sneezing, hives and asthma.
12. Stimulates The Libido
Stinging nettle acts as a libido stimulant as it increases testosterone level and also helps the body in retaining it for a longer period. It is an effective remedy for improving the sex drive.
13. Acts As A Styptic
Nettle is also known for its styptic properties that act as an arrestor of local bleeding. It helps with internal bleeding like excessive menstruation, vaginal bleeding, hemorrhoids, lung and stomach bleeding, and bleeding piles formed in the body. It also helps in stopping external bleeding like nosebleeds.
14. Acts As A Blood Builder
Nettle leaf is used for treating anemia as it is high in iron. It is known for its blood building and blood purifying properties. Consuming a bowl of nettle soup regularly is a good remedy for treating anemia and also for lowering blood sugar levels.
15. Helps With Women Related Problems
Women are advised to consume nettle regularly. It is not only effective for skin and hair, but also prevents and cures many women-related issues. Nettle helps in relieving PMS pain and strain, as well as menopausal pain. It is also known to help in easing labor and can be used by women to help with breastfeeding by increasing lactation.
16. Absorbs Dietary Fats
Apart from antioxidants, the nettle tea also contains other health benefiting compounds such as beta-sitosterol that absorb dietary fats present in the blood. This helps to keep the cholesterol levels in check and keeps heart disease at bay.
17. Protects DNA from Damage
Our varying food habits introduce toxins into our body. These toxins can damage the DNA and cellular membranes. The antioxidants present in nettle leaf tea remove these toxins, damage-causing free radicals and protect our DNA and cellular membranes.
18. Reduces Muscle Pain
Nettle leaf contains certain components that have great healing and rejuvenating properties. Sports persons will vouch for this leaf that can treat muscle pain caused due to straining and over stretching.
19. Treats Urinary Tract Disorders
For people suffering from urinary tract disorders, nettle leaf tea works like a wonder medicine. According to a trial published in the Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy, nettle leaves contain certain components that sluice out toxins from the body and help to support the medication used to treat urinary tract disorders.
20. Highly Effective In Prostate
Nettle leaf tea is highly effective in benign prostatic hypertrophy that commonly affects adult men. Laboratory tests on animals have revealed that this nettle tea can slow down the development of prostate cancer. Although the tests are not yet carried out on humans, the results of the test on animals are positive and promising!
21. Works As A Preventive Measure
A single cup of tea made from nettle leaf consists of several health-boosting components and doctors recommend it as a preventive remedy against common cold and flu. If you can manage to gulp a few cups of the leaf boiled in water, you can improve your body’s immunity and keep several ailments at bay.
Apart from the above-mentioned benefits, nettle has some other benefits too and they are:
- Nettle is beneficial to the endocrine system.
- Nettle leaf is a good source of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, which make it anti-tumor and help in treating neoplastic diseases.
- Nettle leaves are helpful in treating neurological disorders like sciatica and neuralgia.
- It is also known as a spring tonic and improves circulation.
- It is known to stimulate digestive glands and helps in treating indigestion and gas problems.
- Nettle tea is used to gargle for treating mouth and throat infections.
- It is used to cure Alzheimer’s disease.
- It is beneficial in treating congestion, cough, bronchitis and other chronic cardiovascular diseases.
- It is known to kill intestinal worms and parasites.
- Rinsing mouth with nettle water acts as anti-bacterial and prevents gingivitis and mouth and other gum diseases.
- Nettle leaf also improves immunity and helps to cure hypertension.
How Nettle Leaf Is Used?
Stinging nettle is used in many varied ways. It is used for food, medicines, skin and hair treatments, fiber, dyes, etc. Nettle is used in the preparation of nettle tea, tincture, nettle soup, nettle puree and chutneys. Its extracts, tonics and dried leaves are used for beauty treatments. Nettle is also used in the preparation of many capsules and tablets as it is useful in treating many diseases.
A Word Of Caution
Nettle leaf is legendary for its benefits and even finds mention in the folklore of diverse cultures. But the beneficial herb also has its side effects. The nettle leaf side effects are directly related to their combination with other drugs and also with the health condition of individuals.
- Nettle leaf is known to increase blood pressure. So it can have adverse effects on people suffering from high blood pressure.
- It is a powerful diuretic, which, if combined with other diuretic drugs can result in dehydration.
- Some studies have also shown that nettle leaf can interfere with the blood-thinning drugs and prevent them from treating blood clots.
- The most important thing to keep in mind while dealing with nettle leaves is the stinging effect caused by the needle-like hairs on the herb. It is advised to wear gloves and full sleeved clothes when you go about picking nettle leaves to avoid this sting. The leaves lose the sting when they are boiled and dried.
Though this herb is great for skin, hair and overall health, nettle capsules should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor. It is fine to use nettle in cooking, but too much consumption of even the nettle soup or tea can have adverse effects. So, play safe and consult your doctor before you start using nettle.
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