Nettle is a type of flowering plant that has a family containing about 40 different species; most having both male and female plants.
The juice has even been purported to stimulate hair growth when applied to the scalp. The Nettle plant is found in Asia, Europe and North America and its use date back as far as ancient Greece. The most common species is the Urtica dioica or stinging nettle. The stinging nettle gets its name from the hairs on the plant’s surface (trichomes) that cause skin irritation on contact. The tips of the plant fall off when touched, and the hairs act as needles transferring the plant’s chemicals into the person or animal that has come into contact with it. The irritation can be treated by gently washing the affected area with mild soapy water.One of the most common and preferred uses for treatments using nettle is through tea. When making the tea, the stinging hairs of the plant must first be removed by steaming or boiling. Nettle tea should not be used if you have a weak heart or bad kidneys except under the guidance of an experienced physician, herbal practitioner or naturopath. Treatments for Anemia, Kidneys and Blood Purification
Nettle tea added to daily nutrition regimens can help the immune system. Because of the vitamin K content, which helps blood-clotting factors, nettle tea is prescribed as a blood purifier, immune enhancer and is used in treating anemia and other kidney ailments. It also has been shown to have the ability to help cleanse the body of toxins, help stop bleeding and has been used by herbalists for fibroid tumors and excessive menstrual cycles.
Relief of Arthritis Pain and Joint Inflammation – Arthritis literally means “joint inflammation”. The two most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis sufferers have found relief by drinking a prescribed amount of nettle tea daily as nettles help the body to excrete uric acid; high levels of which can cause the painful condition. The plant’s release of histamines and natural diuretics into the body triggers an anti-inflammatory action thereby relieving the pain and discomfort caused by enlarged joints.
Improvements in Enlarged Prostate and Kidney Treatments. An enlarged prostate brings about several painful and irritating symptoms. In Europe, nettle root is widely used for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or prostate enlargement. Common symptoms of enlarged prostate such as poor urine flow, pain, difficulty in passing urine, and urinary frequency are similar to other urological conditions such as urinary tract and bladder infections and kidney stones that are treated by using nettle.
Nettle tea consumption along with combined treatments has shown a significant improvement in patients with these symptoms. Studies which appeared in the August 2001 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention show that great improvements are being made in treatment with nettle primarily with regard to prostate enlargement.
Nettle Tea and Pregnancy – Pregnant women find nettle tea particularly comforting as it not only relieves fluid retention, it also has high iron and calcium contents aiding in increased energy levels. Nettle tea provides an excellent source of folic acid and helps support the vascular system. A regimen of nettle tea should be prescribed by a physician or herbalist and can provide a healthy balance along with your daily prenatal care.
Lowering Blood Sugar in Diabetics – Nettle has shown benefits in the treatment of diabetes by mildly decreasing blood sugar and glycemic levels. Some herbs, however, can trigger side effects and can interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. You may need to monitor your blood sugar more closely to see exactly how the herb affects you. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a healthcare provider. Relief for Allergy and Hay Fever Sufferers. An increase in drinking nettle tea during pollen season can help relieve symptoms.
In a study by Dr. Paul Mittman, President of Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, stinging nettles were found to give relief for hay fever symptoms such as sneezing and itching. By combining nettle capsules with alternating intake of nettle tea the reduction of these symptoms can have long-term effects. Researchers think the relief is due to nettle’s ability to reduce the amount of histamine the body produces in response to an allergen.
“Horticulture”; Rash Encounters; C. Elliott; Elliott, March, 1997.
“A Guide for Health-Care Professionals.” Herbal Medicines: London, England; 1996; C.A. Newall, L.A. Anderson, J.D. Phillipson
“Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention”; Prostate Cancer Prevention; August 2001
“Planta Medica”; Randomized Double-Blind Study of Freeze-Dried Urtica Dioica in the treatment of allergic rhinitis; Dr. Paul Mittman; 1990
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