Stinging nettle root, stinging nettle benefits, stinging nettle side effects
research finds                            2011
Nettle, a leafy plant, grows in most temperate regions. The Latin root of Urtica is uro which
means "I burn". This implies small stings caused by the little hairs on the leaves of this plant
burn when contact is made with the skin. Its root and leaves are used in herbal medicine.

Stinging nettle remedy
People have made a good use of nettle. Its tough fibers from the stem have been used to make
cloth and its leaves were eaten as vegetables. People also believe that it may have health
benefits on various conditions such as coughs, tuberculosis and arthritis. With limited or no
scientific support, some manufacturers market it as a stimulant for hair growth.

It contains lectins and certain types of complex sugars. Lectins and these complex sugars are
probably the major components contributing nettle's benefits. In vitro studies demonstrate that
its leaf has anti-inflammatory actions, in which preventing prostaglandin formation [1]. Stinging
nettle root helps benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) by affecting hormones and proteins that
carry sex hormones in the body [2]. It was also found that its freeze-dried leaves reduced
sneezing and itching in people with hay fever [3].

During the allergy season, two to three 300 mg stinging nettle capsules or tablets can be taken
three times a day. For benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), 120 mg of a concentrated root
extract has been taken twice a day traditionally [4].

Stinging nettle extract - Stinging Nettle Capsules - Stinging Nettle Tea
Most commercial products suggest two to three 300 mg nettle leaf capsules or tablets three
times per day for to reduce allergies during allergy season. For mild benign prostatic
hyperplasia (BPH) in men, most product labels recommend to take 120 mg of a concentrated
root extract in capsules two times per day. Examples of Stinging Nettle Capsules are: Good N
Natural Stinging Nettle 300mg - Holistic Support, 100 Caps; NSI Stinging Nettle Leaf -- 480 MG -
100 Capsules; Vitamin Shoppe Stinging Nettles 480 MG - 300 Capsules; GNC Herbal Plus
Stinging Nettle, 500Mg, Capsules, 100 Ea; Solgar Stinging Nettle Leaf Extract - 60 Veggie Caps;
Swanson Stinging Nettles Root 120 Capsules 1 Bottle. Stinging nettle is also popularly marketed
in the form of stinging nettle tea. Examples of commercial products include Now Foods, Organic,
Nettle Leaf Tea, Alvita Teas, Nettle Leaf Tea Bags, Frontier Natural Products, Organic Cut &
Sifted Nettle, Stinging Leaf, Puritan's Pride, Nettle Leaf Tea etc. It is about 4 dollars for 24 tea
bags. Please, note that I am not affiliated with these manufacturers and I have no idea about
their qualities.

Stinging nettle benefits - Research

stinging nettle benefits - ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITIES
In a study of Wistar rats, researchers found that stinging nettle supplementation decreased the
free radical concentrations in both cerebellum and frontal lobe.  [5]

Turkey scientists studied the antioxidant properties of stinging nettle extracts using different
antioxidant tests, including reducing power, free radical scavenging, superoxide anion radical
scavenging, hydrogen peroxide scavenging, and metal chelating activities. They found that
stinging nettle extracts had powerful antioxidant activities. Its antioxidant activities were
comparative to butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), quercetin, and
alpha-tocopherol. [6]

Stinging nettle for allergies? Stinging nettle benefits - ANTI-INFLAMMATORY
Stinging nettle benefit on inflammation is found (at least partly) related to its inhibitory effect on
NF-kappa B activation. It is because activation of the transcription factor NF-kappa B is involved
in several chronic inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis. [9]

Stinging nettle benefits - ANTI-MICROBIOL ACTIVITIES
Stinging nettle extracts showed antimicrobial activity against nine microorganisms, anti-ulcer
activity against ethanol-induced ulcerogenesis and analgesic effect on acetic acid-induced
stretching. [6]

Stinging nettle benefits - ANTI-CANCER CELL ACTIVITIES
The anti-proliferative effect of stinging nettle roots extracts have been observed in in vivo and in
in vitro models.

In a study, researchers prepared the polysaccharide fraction of the 20% methanolic extract of
stinging nettle roots at different concentrations. They found inhibitory effect of the stinging
nettle root extracts on the growth of the lymph node carcinoma of the prostate during 7 days
except the two lowest concentrations. This inhibition was time- and concentration-dependent.

In another study, researchers investigated the activity of a 20% methanolic extract of stinging
nettle roots on the proliferative activity of human prostatic epithelial (LNCaP) and stromal
(hPCPs) cells. They found a concentration-dependent and significant antiproliferative effect of
the extract only on LNCaP cells during 7 days, whereas stromal cell growth remained unaltered.
On day 4 and 6, the reduction in proliferation of LNCaP cells showed the minimal effective dose
at 1.0E-9 mg/ml. No cytotoxic effect of ME-20 on cell proliferation was observed. [14]

Stinging nettle benefits - BENIGN PROSTATIC HYPERPLASIA
Direct implanting of fetal urogenital sinus tissue into the ventral prostate gland of adult mice led
to a 4-fold weight increase of the manipulated prostatic lobe. The induced growth could be
reduced by the polysaccharide fraction of the 20% methanolic extract of stinging nettle roots by
33.8%. [11]

The effectiveness of stinging nettle extracts is highly dependent on the dose, dosage form
design and duration of supplementation. A 1 year randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled
multicenter study of 246 patients has demonstrated 459 mg dry extract of stinging nettle roots
was effective to increase Q(max) with limited side effects, in comparison to placebo.  [15]
Another study couldn't shown any benefits of 300 mg tinging nettle extracts even though 25 mg
of pygeum africanum was added into the supplement. [17]

MECHANISM Japanese researchers prepared the membrane Na+,K(+)-ATPase fraction from a
patient with benign prostatic hyperplasia by a differential centrifugation of the tissue
homogenate. They found that the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) extracts inhibited 27.6-81.5% of
the enzyme activity at 0.1 mg/ml. Steroidal components in stinging nettle roots, such as stigmast-
4-en-3-one, stigmasterol, and campesterol inhibited the enzyme activity by 23.0-67.0% at
concentrations ranging from 10(-3)-10(-6) M. These results suggest that some hydrophobic
constituents such as steroids in the stinging nettle roots inhibited the membrane Na+,K(+)-
ATPase activity of the prostate, which may subsequently suppress prostate-cell metabolism and
growth. [7]

stinging nettle benefits - CHRONIC COLITIS
Long-term use of stinging nettle extracts may have benefits on the prevention of chronic colitis.
Researchers induced colitis in C3H.IL-10-/- and BALB/c mice by treating them with dextran
sodium sulfate. They found that stinging nettle leaf extracts could reduce fewer signs of colitis in
these mice. Stinging nettle leaf extracts, furthermore, reduced the faecal IL-1beta and mucosal
TNF-alpha concentrations. [16]

stinging nettle benefits - JOINT PAIN/ARTHRITIS
In a study, researchers interviewed 18 patients who used stinging nettle for their joint pain. Most
felt nettle was beneficial to their conditions. [12] Researchers from Germany found
immunomodulating effects of stinging nettle leaf extract. The stinging nettle extract IDS 23
inhibited lipopolysaccharide  but stimulated monocyte cytokine expression. Thus, stinging nettle
extracts may inhibit the inflammatory cascade in autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

stinging nettle side effects
Stinging nettle probably is safe with limited side effects. [12]

A frequent cause of contact urticaria is skin exposure to the common stinging nettle (Urtica
dioica). The urticaria is accompanied by a stinging sensation lasting longer than 12 h. There
may be substances in nettle fluid directly toxic to nerves or capable of secondary release of
other mediators. [8]


Some Research Studies


Ameliorative effects of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) on testosterone-induced
prostatic hyperplasia in rats. Andrologia. 2011 Aug 2.  
In this study, Hyperplasia was
induced in rats by subcutaneous administration of testosterone. Simultaneous administration of
petroleum ether and ethanolic extracts (10, 20 and 50 mg kg(-1) p.o.) and isolated β-
sitosterol (10 and 20 mg kg(-1) p.o.) was undertaken. Stinging nettle extract showed a
beneficial effect on the conditions.

Gastroprotective action of the nettle extract in experimental peptic ulcer Eksp Klin
Farmakol. 2011;74(1):24-7.  
Stinging Nettle extract produced from leaves crushed to 40-70 nm
fragments protects the stomach mucous membrane, and does it better than the extract derived
from same leaves crushed to 1 mm fragments, on the models of peptic ulcers caused by
acetylsalicylic acid, histamine, prednisolone, and immobilized stress.

Mechanism of action of stinging nettles. Wilderness Environ Med. 2011 Jun;22(2):136-
Inadvertent exposure to the ubiquitous weed, Urtica dioica, called "stinging nettles" produces
an immediate stinging and burning sensation on the skin. The mechanism of action of stinging
nettles dermatitis appears to be both biochemical and mechanical. Impalement of spicules into
the skin likely accounts for the mechanical irritation in addition to the known adverse chemical
effects of stinging nettles.

Effects of Urtica dioica on hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury in rats. Clinics (Sao
Paulo). 2010;65(12):1357-61.
Urtica dioica was found to have a protective effect on the liver in
hepatic ischemia-reperfusion-injured rats.


Protective role of Urtica dioica L. (Urticaceae) extract on hepatocytes morphometric
changes in STZ diabetic Wistar rats. Turk J Gastroenterol. 2010 Sep;21(3):262-9.
study revealed that the administration of extract of Urtica dioica leaves before induction of
diabetic with streptozotocin has a protective effect on the morphometric alterations of
hepatocytes in the periportal and perivenous zones of the liver lobule in rats.


[1] Obertreis et al. Antiphlogistic effects of Urtica dioica folia extract in comparison to caffeic malic acid. Arzneimittelforschung 1996;46:52-6. [2] Hirano et al. Effect
of stinging nettle root extracts and their steroidal components on the Na+, K+-ATPase of the benign prostatic hyperplasia. Planta Med 1994;60:30-3. [3] Mittman et
al. Randomized, double-blind study of freeze-dried Urtica dioica in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Planta Med 1990;56:44-7. [4] Brown et al. BPH and Prostate
Cancer Prevention. Seattle; NPRC, 1997, 9-10. [5] Toldy A et al, The effect of exercise and nettle supplementation on oxidative stress markers in the rat brain. Brain
Res Bull. 2005 May 30;65(6):487-93. Epub 2005 Mar 31. [6] Gulcin I et al, Antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiulcer and analgesic activities of nettle (Urtica dioica L.). J
Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Feb;90(2-3):205-15. [7] Hirano T et al, Effects of stinging nettle root extracts and their steroidal components on the Na+,K(+)-ATPase of the
benign prostatic hyperplasia. Planta Med. 1994 Feb;60(1):30-3. [8] Oliver F et al, Contact urticaria due to the common stinging nettle (Urtica dioica)--histological,
ultrastructural and pharmacological studies. Clin Exp Dermatol. 1991 Jan;16(1):1-7. [9] Riehemann K et al, Plant extracts from stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), an
antirheumatic remedy, inhibit the proinflammatory transcription factor NF-kappaB. FEBS Lett. 1999 Jan 8;442(1):89-94. [10] Lichius JJ et al,  Antiproliferative effect
of a polysaccharide fraction of a 20% methanolic extract of stinging nettle roots upon epithelial cells of the human prostate (LNCaP). Pharmazie. 1999 Oct;54(10):768-
71. [11] Lichius JJ et al, The inhibiting effects of components of stinging nettle roots on experimentally induced prostatic hyperplasia in mice. Planta Med. 1999 Oct;
65(7):666-8. [12] Randall C et al, Nettle sting of Urtica dioica for joint pain--an exploratory study of this complementary therapy. Complement Ther Med. 1999 Sep;7
(3):126-31. [13] Klingelhoefer S et al, Antirheumatic effect of IDS 23, a stinging nettle leaf extract, on in vitro expression of T helper cytokines. J Rheumatol. 1999 Dec;
26(12):2517-22. [14] Konrad L et al, Antiproliferative effect on human prostate cancer cells by a stinging nettle root (Urtica dioica) extract. Planta Med. 2000 Feb;66(1):
44-7. [15] Schneider T and Rubben H Stinging nettle root extract (Bazoton-uno) in long term treatment of benign prostatic syndrome (BPS). Results of a
randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled multicenter study after 12 months] Urologe A. 2004 Mar;43(3):302-6. [16] Konrad A et al, Ameliorative effect of IDS 30,
a stinging nettle leaf extract, on chronic colitis. Int J Colorectal Dis. 2005 Jan;20(1):9-17. Epub 2004 Aug 25. [17] Melo EA et al, Evaluating the efficiency of a
combination of Pygeum africanum and stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) extracts in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): double-blind, randomized, placebo
controlled trial. Int Braz J Urol. 2002 Sep-Oct;28(5):418-25.
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