The nettle, or also known as the stinging nettle, nettle leaf, or just merely stinger, is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant that was first cultivated in Europe, western North Africa, and temperate Asia. Today, you can find nettles all over the world, such as in North America and New Zealand. Nettles has about six subspecies, and five of them have stinging hairs, which experts call trichomes. These hairs are located on the nettle’s leaves and stems. They act like needles that inject histamine along with other chemicals that can cause stinging sensations when you come in contact with them. In this article, we are going to know more about this unusual herb.
Characteristics of the Nettle
- Botanical name: Urtica dioica
- Other names: Common nettle, stinging nettle
The Nettle plant can grow up to three to seven feet tall during the summer, and they usually die down to the ground when winter comes. They have bright yellow stolons and rhizomes that are widely spreading. Nettles have green and soft leaves at can grow up to one to six inches long. The nettle plant bears green, small, or sometimes brownish flowers, and its leaves and stems have hairs wherein most subspecies are considered hazardous. This is because these tips can transform into needles that can inject several chemicals such as serotonin, histamine, and choline, which can cause contact allergy and paresthesia.
Origins of Nettle
Experts believe that the nettle plant originated in Europe, western North Africa, and temperate Asia. Today, you can mostly see them in northern European countries and in Asia. They are not that common in southern Europe and North Africa because they are restricted by their needs of moist soil. Today, the nettle plant is widely distributed in the United States, Canada, and the northernmost part of Mexico.
Benefits of the Nettle Plant
- The leaves and root of a nettle plant contain several vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, iron, magnesium, vitamins A, C, K, and several B vitamins. Aside from that, it also contains healthy fats, essential amino acids, lutein, beta-carotene, and other carotenoids.
- Nettle plants can help reduce inflammation.
- According to test-tube research, the nettle plant’s stinging extracts can prevent inflammation that can cause seasonal allergies. The nettle plant works by blocking histamine receptors as well as stopping immune cells from giving out chemicals that can trigger specific allergy symptoms.
- The nettle plant contains compounds that have a similar effect as insulin. That is why it can help control blood sugar.
- Nettle plants can help support good wound and burn to heal.
- The nettle plant extract can help reduce excessive bleeding in wounds.
- The antioxidants that are found in nettle plants can help protect the liver against the damage of harmful toxins and inflammation.
Potential Side Effects of Nettle Plant
Consuming cooked or dried nettle is considered safe. However, there can be some side effects. Before cooking or drying them, make sure that you are well protected when you are handling the nettle plant because, as we mentioned, they can harm your skin and cause rashes, hives, bumps, and itchiness, which can be life-threatening.
If you are pregnant, avoid consuming nettles or food that contains nettles because it can trigger uterine contractions, which in turn raise the risk of miscarriage.
Make sure that you consult your doctor before you consume nettles, especially if you are under medications such as blood pressure maintenance, blood thinners, lithium, diabetes medication, and diuretics. This is because nettles can interact with them and can cause unwanted health conditions such as dehydration.
Nettle products that you can try:
This tea helps supports joint health and your overall wellness. It contains non-GMO, organic, stinging nettle leaves, and it is caffeine-free. This tea has a fresh, earthy, and grassy flavor, which you can consume three times a day. Each box of the organic nettle leaf tea contains sixteen sealed tea bags. You can enjoy all the healthy benefits of nettle by consuming this tea every day.
This stinging nettle cream helps lessen skin irritations, eczema, and help reduce nervous tension in the body. It is also beneficial for mild to moderate allergy symptoms like hay fever. All you have to do is dab some cream on a cotton pad or your fingertips and apply it to the affected area gently in a circular motion.
This nettle hair shampoo helps get rid of scalp irritation and seborrhea. It leaves your hair light, full, and fresh.
This nettle leaf herbal supplement helps supports your body’s natural histamine response, upper respiratory health and helps promote healthy mucous membranes. It also triggers your body’s positive response when it comes to inflammation. This is caffeine-free and made from organic nettle leaves.
This nettle dietary supplement comes in a bottle with a dropper. In order to use this, you will need to take two dropper full of the nettle dietary supplement at least two times a day. This is Non-GMO, Alcohol-free, Gluten-free, and it is vegan and paleo-friendly. Consuming this every day can help support your urinary system and your body’s normal histamine response.