Urtica Dioica, commonly known as Stinging nettle, is a medicinal plant with a long history of its own in herbal medicine. It's common in Egypt and some of the European countries. The reason behind the name is the needle-like structure that's found on edges along with the leaves and stem of the plant. It injects a serum that causes pain when in contact with the human body. Surprisingly, some people prefer rubbing the plant in their knees and joints despite the inflicting pain. The reasons vary but others found the hair relaxing when touched.
There is no way to consume the plant raw. You must keep the plant dried, freeze-dried, or cooked to lose the texture and needle-like hair effect. The consumption quantity and method of intake widely vary for different purposes.
The leaves and shoots of the plant and the roots are used for their health benefits.
- Rich in Nutrients: The plant is filled with important nutrients from the root to the tip, a few of which are rarely found in other food plants. The list includes Vitamin A, C, K and B, essential minerals, good fats, amino acids, Polyphenols, and some vital pigments like lutenin and Beta-carotene. Most of them have abilities to cure various disorders.
- Reduce Chronic Inflammation: Chronic inflammation is the reason for the pain caused in the knee joints and lowers back, which are most commonly associated with aging and hormonal imbalance. Stinging nettle interferes with those hormones and relaxes the pain. Osteoarthritis is said to be treatable with this extract, too. A controlled study showed that Stinging nettle provides significant results when used. It can help people who wanted to reduce the dose of their anti-inflammatory organic medicines.
- For Bleeding: Urtica Dioica can help you to control bleeding or even stop it to a certain level. Many research found that the plant has compounds that can reduce bloodshed during surgery. After all, one of the ancient purposes of the plant was to control internal bleeding of any sort like urinal blood, blood in bowel movement, etc.
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH): The plant is known widely for its relieving and curing abilities, managing conditions related to the urinary tract ever since it was identified for herbal use. Its root, which is commonly seen in supplements, is the main source of anti-inflammatory properties used for treatments. However, there are beneficial compounds found in stem and leaves as well. Consumption of stinging nettle extracts in any form eases and reduces the urinary tract problem caused by the pre-prostate issue which otherwise is known as BPH. This plant can be used for other similar disorders like urinary tract inflammation and kidney stones.
- Hay Fever: This allergy occurs along the lining of the nose. Urtica Dioica extracts control the immune cells that produce chemicals-causing inflammation in the region. However, the effect of this herb when it comes to hay fever is not that significant, so few types of research are still being conducted to determine how the plant can provide relief to hay fever.
- Controls Blood Pressure: Urtica Dioica can stimulate nitric oxide production that relaxes muscles and calcium channel blockers. The plant relaxes the heart ending up in reduced blood pressure, making you calmed.
- Maintain Sugar Level: The plant is tested to have the alternative of insulin, which helps keep the blood sugar level in control when dosed in small quantities for a period of time.
Most of the benefits are still in the research phase or not noticed by the researchers yet. Stinging nettle is one such popular plant having multiple benefits, but not adapted for mainstream medicine yet. Hence, always consult a physician before consuming it.