Nettle leaf (Urtica dioica)

Traditional Indications

Nettle is astringent, haemostatic, dermatological agent, mild diuretic, tonic; extracts are reported to have hypoglycaemic properties. Nettle is also a natural anti-histamine. It is indicated for rheumatic conditions, uterine haemorrhage, cutaneous eruptions, infantile and psychogenic eczema, epistaxis, melaena. Nettle is specifically indicated in nervous eczema.
Nettles are rich in vitamins A, C, D, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium and chlorophyll making nettle an excellent blood tonic and remedy in anaemia and other debilitated states. They strengthen and support the whole body. Throughout Europe they are used as a spring tonic and general detoxifying remedy. They are specific for rheumatism, arthritis and eczema especially associated with blood deficiency. The herb has an important effect on the kidney and on fluid and uric acid excretion, so is of benefit in gout and other arthritic conditions, particularly if there is an element of anaemia. Urtica is also of benefit in chronic skin conditions such as eczema, helping to cleanse the body of accumulated toxins. Urtica is known to stimulate milk flow in nursing mothers, and is often used in this way by farmers for their stock. (1)

Pharmacognosy

Nettle leaf is a potent anti-inflammatory. (2)

A nettle leaf extract shows in vitro inhibition of several key inflammatory events that cause the symptoms of seasonal allergies including antagonist and negative agonist activity against the Histamine-1 (H(1)) receptor and the inhibition of mast cell tryptase preventing degranulation and release of a host of pro-inflammatory mediators that cause the symptoms of hay fevers. The nettle extract also inhibits prostaglandin formation through inhibition of Cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1), Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and Hematopoietic Prostaglandin D(2) synthase (HPGDS), central enzymes in pro-inflammatory pathways. (3)

In a randomised double blind clinical trial showed certain positive effects of nettle in the management of allergic rhinitis. (4)

Urtica dioica leaf extract in animal models displays antinociceptive (the action or process of blocking the detection of a painful or injurious stimulus by sensory neuron) and anti-inflammatory effects confirm the folkloric use of the plant extract in painful and inflammatory conditions. (5)

 

1. PFAF. Urtica dioica. 2019.
2. Johnson TA, Sohn J, Inman WD, Bjeldanes LF, Rayburn K. Lipophilic stinging nettle extracts possess potent anti-inflammatory activity, are not cytotoxic and may be superior to traditional tinctures for treating inflammatory disorders. Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology. 2013;20(2):143-7.
3. Roschek Jr B, Fink RC, McMichael M, Alberte RS. Nettle extract (Urtica dioica) affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis. Phytotherapy Research. 2009;23(7):920-6.
4. Bakhshaee M, Mohammad Pour AH, Esmaeili M, Jabbari Azad F, Alipour Talesh G, Salehi M, et al. Efficacy of Supportive Therapy of Allergic Rhinitis by Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) root extract: a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo- Controlled, Clinical Trial. Iranian journal of pharmaceutical research : IJPR. 2017;16(Suppl):112-8.
5. Hajhashemi V, Klooshani V. Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of Urtica dioica leaf extract in animal models. Avicenna journal of phytomedicine. 2013;3(2):193-200.