(NaturalNews) Many people can relate to the experience of brushing up against a stinging nettle plant in a pasture or meadow. The unforgettable chemical burn creates mean welts which can sting for a week. However, stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) has such healing capabilities that many of the newer green super-food manufacturers add it to their compounds. Nettle is high in vitamin A and C, and is chock full of minerals, especially calcium and iron. Research indicates that nettle is beneficial for benign prostate hyperplasia, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis. Midwives love stinging nettle as a pregnancy herb.
Stinging nettle heals benign prostatic hyperplasia in vitro
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate, affects many older men. It is not cancer, but physicians sometimes recommend pharmaceuticals or surgery. Nettle has been clinically proven to reduce inflammation associated with enlarged prostates. Scientists used stinging nettle root extract in vitro in a 2007 clinical study. Researchers observed anti-inflammatory activity, a reduction in cell growth, and antiviral properties. They concluded that stinging nettle looks very promising for healing BPH. However, before nettles could be recommended as a part of mainstream medical protocol, more studies would have to be conducted.
Nettle’s anti-inflammatory properties are proven effective for rheumatoid and osteoarthritis
In another study, scientists used a nettle leaf extract to observe its effects on dendretic cells. Dendretic cells play an active role in the initiation of rheumatoid arthritis. Nettle leaf extract was able to keep dendretic cells from growing, but did not kill the cells. It also reduced the number of protein genes associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Probably the most significant observation in this study was that nettle leaf extract had a positive effect against the genes associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Nettle was also able to curb T cell, or white blood cell, proliferation, reducing infection.
The British Journal of General Practice reports a case where stinging nettles were used to reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis. A simple poultice of nettle leaves was applied to the arthritic hip of an elderly male with significant results. In other cases, fresh nettles have been applied to inflamed and arthritic fingers, also producing significant results. This could be because of the stimulating effect of nettles, or it could be because of the high boron content contained within the leaves.
Herbalists and midwives consider stinging nettle indispensable
Herbalists regard stinging nettle as one of the most effective herbs in their arsenal. It is considered a super-food and a tonic herb. Since it is gentle, nettle is often used for chronic conditions which require long-term care. It stimulates the lymphatic system and flushes the gastro-urinary system. The iron in nettle builds the blood.
Midwives often recommend stinging nettle during pregnancy, since it is rich in vitamin K. Nettles help to reduce post-pardum bleeding. A newborn usually will not need a vitamin K shot if the mother drinks nettle leaf tea during her pregnancy. Stinging nettle also increases milk production in breastfeeding mothers.
Sources for this article include:
Pubmed.gov. “A comprehensive review on the stinging nettle effect and efficacy profiles. Part II: urticae radix,” J.E. Chrubasik, et al. Phytomedicine. August 2007; 14(7-8): 568-79.
Pubmed Health.gov. “Enlarged Prostate,” A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia
Pubmed.gov. “Immunosuppressant effect of IDS 30, a stinging nettle leaf extract, on myeloid dendritic cells in vitro,” J. Broer, et al. The Journal of Rheumatology. April 2002; 2994): 659-66.
Pubmed.gov. “Letters” British Journal of General Practice, November 1994
Herbal Legacy.com. “Stinging Nettle,” by Kassie Vance
About the author:
This article is provided courtesy of Donna Earnest Pravel, owner and senior editor of Heart of Texas Copywriting Solutions.com. Get free biweekly tips on natural healing and herbs by visiting her blog, Bluebonnet Natural Healing Therapy.