Nettle (Urtica dioica) has been part of phytotherapy since ancient times. Nettles were used by the ancient Egyptians to treat arthritis and back pain, and were rubbed on by Roman troops to keep warm.
Its scientific name, Urtica dioica, comes from the Latin word uro, which means “to sting”, since the leaves of the plant can cause a temporary sensation of itching when touched. The leaves have hair-like structures that cause burning, itching, redness, and swelling.
However, if nettles are made into a food supplement, dried, frozen, or cooked, they are safe to eat. Research has linked nettles to a number of potential health benefits.
Here are 6 proven benefits of nettles.
- contains many nutrients
The leaves and roots of nettles contain many nutrients, including:
Vitamins : Vitamins A, C and K and various B vitamins.
Minerals : calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium.
Fats : linoleic acid, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, and oleic acid
Amino acids : All essential amino acids
Polyphenols: Kaempferol, Quercetin, caffeic acid, coumarins and other flavonoids
Pigments : Betacarotene, lutein, luteoxanthin and other carotenoids.
In addition, many of these nutrients act as antioxidants in the body.
Antioxidants are molecules that help protect cells from free radical damage. Free radical damage is linked to the aging process, as well as cancer and other harmful diseases.
Research shows that nettle extract may increase antioxidant levels in the blood.
Nettles provide a variety of vitamins, minerals, fatty and amino acids, polyphenols, and pigments, many of which also act as antioxidants in the body.
They act as antioxidants in the body.
- May reduce inflammation is the body’s way of healing itself and fighting infection
However, chronic inflammation can cause considerable damage.
Nettle contains several compounds that can reduce inflammation.
In animal and in vitro studies, nettle has reduced levels of several inflammatory hormones by suppressing their production.
In human studies, applying nettle cream or consuming nettle products has been shown to relieve inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
In a study involving 27 people, applying nettle cream to areas affected by arthritis produced significant pain relief compared to taking a placebo.
In another study, taking a dietary supplement containing nettle extract led to a significant reduction in arthritis pain. In addition, the participants felt that they were able to reduce their dose of anti-inflammatory pain relievers thanks to this capsule.
However, the research results are not enough to recommend nettle as an anti-inflammatory. More studies in humans are needed.
Benefits of nettle tea for the prostate
Nettle may help suppress inflammation, which in turn may help inflammation, including arthritis, but more research is needed.
- can treat symptoms of enlarged prostate
Up to 50% of men age 51 and older have an enlarged prostate.
An enlarged prostate is often called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Scientists don’t know exactly what causes BPH, but it can cause considerable discomfort when urinating.
Interestingly, some studies show that nettle can help treat BPH.
Animal studies show that this powerful plant can prevent the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, a stronger form of testosterone.
Avoiding this conversion can help reduce the size of the prostate.
Studies in people with BPH show that nettle extracts can relieve urinary problems in the short and long term, without side effects.
However, the effectiveness of nettles compared to traditional treatments is not clear.
Green nettle tea benefits
Nettle may help reduce the size of the prostate gland and the symptoms of an enlarged prostate in men with BPH.
- Can treat hay fever
Hay fever is an allergy in which the lining of the nose becomes inflamed.
Nettle is considered a promising natural remedy for hay fever.
In vitro studies have shown that nettle extracts can suppress inflammation that can cause seasonal allergies.
This includes blocking histamine receptors and preventing immune cells from releasing chemicals that cause allergy symptoms.
However, human studies show that nettle is equal to or only slightly better than placebo in the treatment of hay fever.
Nettles can help alleviate the symptoms of hay fever. However, the results of some studies suggest that this is not the case.
It is not much more effective than a placebo. More research is needed on the effects of nettles
- May lower blood pressure
About one in three American adults has high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a serious health problem because it increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are among the leading causes of death worldwide.
Nettles have traditionally been used to treat high blood pressure.
Animal and in vitro studies show that it can help lower blood pressure in a number of ways.
First, it can stimulate the production of nitric oxide, which acts as a vasodilator. Vasodilators relax the muscles of the blood vessels and favor their dilation.
Nettle also contains compounds that can act as calcium channel blockers that relax the heart by reducing the force of contraction.
In animal studies, nettle has been shown to lower blood pressure and bolster the heart’s antioxidant defenses.
However, the effect of nettles on blood pressure in humans is not yet clear. More human research is needed before recommendations can be made.
Benefits and contraindications of nettle tea
Nettles can help lower blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and reducing the force of the heart’s contractions and reducing the force of the heartbeat. However, more human studies are needed to confirm these effects.
- May promote blood sugar control
Human and animal studies have linked nettle to lowering blood sugar levels.
In fact, this plant contains compounds that can mimic the action of insulin (31Trusted Source).
In a three-month study involving 46 people, taking 500 mg of nettle extract three times a day significantly lowered blood glucose levels compared to placebo (30Trusted Source).
Despite the promising results, there are still very few human studies on nettle and blood sugar control. More research is needed.
Nettles may help lower blood glucose levels, but more human research is needed to make any recommendations.