Stinging Nettle

It’s too bad that so many people avoid nettle. Unfortunately, many see it as a weed and know nothing of the many stinging nettle benefits. If they only knew how many virtues this allegedly aggressive plant keeps!

Nettle is one of the superstars of phytotherapy. Its unusual hairs make it known, even by blind people; thus, one of its nicknames is the herb of the blind.

The Greek physician Dioscorides already praised it in the first century A.D., and his Spanish translator, Andres de Laguna, a Spanish physician of the sixteenth century, says about the nettle leaves, among other things, that “they may excite people towards lust.” How could these stinging leaves be able to excite sexual appetite?

French herbalist Messegue states that the Latin poet of the first century A.D., Caius Petronius, recommended to men who wanted to increase their virility to be whipped “with a bunch of nettles on their lower stomach and their buttocks.” Ancient Greeks practiced urtication or rubbing with fresh nettles.

Besides stinging nettle benefits on sexuality, it renders excellent results to people suffering from rheumatism and arthrosis who have the guts to perform it. This plant also helps increase testosterone.

stinging nettle
Stinging nettle

How to use Stinging Nettle

To calm those people who are afraid of this plant, after 12 hours of being gathered, its stinging effect disappears, and the plant acquires a velvet-like touch.

Internal use:

  1. The best way to take advantage of its medicinal properties is via fresh juices, especially its depurative effect. You can achieve this by pressing its leaves or putting it in a blender. Drink half to one glass in the morning and another in the afternoon.
  2. Infusion with 50 g per liter of water, steeping for 15 minutes. This process is how to make nettle tea. Drink 3 or 4 cups daily.

External use:

  1. Make a stinging nettle cream by applying the juice onto the affected area.
  2. Stinging nettle treatment using compresses, soaked in the juice, and applied onto the affected area. Change them 3 or 4 times a day
  3. Nose plugging. Soak a gauze in the nettle juice, then plug it into the nostrils

Stinging Nettle Scientific Facts

  1. Synonyms. Common nettle, common stinging nettle, great stinging nettle, stinging nettle.
  2. French. Ortie.
  3. Spanish. Ortiga mayor
  4. Habitat. Growing worldwide, the plant prefers humid places close to populated areas.
  5. Description. Vivacious plant of the Urticaceae family, growing from 0.5 to 1.5 meters high. Both the stems, square-shaped, and leaves are covered by stinging hairs. Its green-colored flowers are very small.
  6. Parts used. The whole plant, especially its leaves.

A Good Food

You can consume nettle raw in salads, in omelets, in soups, or boiled as any other vegetable. It is a perfect substitute for spinach, even tastier because it is less sour.

Nettles are a great source of proteins: when fresh, they contain from 6 to 8 grams per 100 g, and when dried, from 30 to 35 g (a similar percentage of that of soya, one of the legumes with a higher amount of proteins).

Healing Properties and Uses

stinging nettle benefits

The hairs of the nettle contain histamine and acetylcholine. Our bodies also produce these substances, and they take an active part in the circulatory and digestive systems as transmitters of the nervous pulses of the autonomic nervous system. Some ten milligrams of these substances are enough to provoke a skin reaction.

The leaves contain plenty of chlorophyll, the green coloring of the vegetal world, whose chemical composition is very similar to hemoglobin, red-coloring our blood. They are rich in mineral salts, especially iron, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and silicon, making them diuretic and depurative.

The leaves also contain vitamins A, C, and K, formic acid, tannin, and other substances not yet studied. The compound of these substances makes the nettle one of the plants with the most medicinal applications.

stinging nettle leaves with frost on them
Nettles contain a high amount of iron, which, with the chlorophyll they contain, explains their anti-anemic action.
  • Stinging nettle benefits (1) Depurative, diuretic, and alkalizing: Recommended for rheumatic afflictions, gout, arthritis, kidney stones, urinary sand, and as a rule whenever a depurative and diuretic action is required. The nettle has a notable ability to alkalinize the blood, easing the expulsion of metabolic acid waste related to all these afflictions. The internal use of the plant can be combined with urtications on the affected joint.
  • Stinging nettle benefits (2) Antianemic: It is used in anemia caused by lack of iron or by loss of blood. The iron and the chlorophyll that the nettle contains stimulate the production of red blood cells. The nettle also suits recovery, malnutrition, and exhaustion cases due to its stimulating and recovering effects.
  • Stinging nettle benefits (3) Vasoconstrictor and hemostatic: Nettle is especially recommended for uterine and nasal bleeding. It is beneficial for women with excessive menstruation. We have to insist that a physician must check out any abnormal bleeding.
  • Stinging nettle benefits (4) Digestive: It renders good results in digestive disorders caused by atony or insufficiency of digestive organs. Nettles contain small amounts of secretin, a hormone produced by certain glands of our intestine and stimulate the secretion of pancreatic juices and the gall bladder. This explains the fact that nettle eases digestion and improves the assimilation of food.
  • Stinging nettle benefits (5) Astringent: It has been successfully used to calm intense diarrhea caused by cholera. Nettles are helpful in all types of diarrhea, colitis, or dysentery.
  • Stinging nettle benefits (6) Hypoglycemic: Nettle leaves decrease the blood sugar level, which has been checked out in many patients. Though it cannot substitute insulin, it allows a decrease in the antidiabetic medicine dosage.
  • Stinging nettle benefits (7) Galactogene: It increases the milk secretion of breastfeeding women, thus, being recommended while breastfeeding.
  • Stinging nettle benefits (8) Emollient: Due to its soothing effect, it is recommended in chronic afflictions of the skin, especially eczema, eruptions, and acne. It is also used for hair loss. Nettles clean, regenerate and makes skin more beautiful. Better results are achieved if, besides using it in local applications is also employed orally.

Urticating

With a freshly gathered bunch of nettles, gently hit the skin of the joint affected by the inflammatory or rheumatic disorder (knee, shoulder, etc.). A revulsive effect occurs, which attracts the blood to the skin, decongesting the internal tissues.

References

George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 278, 279. Print. [Stinging nettle]

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