5 Surprising Stinging Nettle Benefits
Updated: May 18
The stinging nettle plant, or the Urtica dioica in Latin, is commonly thought of as a mildly irritating garden weed. However, this herb holds a secret; the stinging nettle has incredible medicinal uses, and can be found so easily in your garden!
Traditional Chinese medicine considers stinging nettle a Yin tonic, which means it strengthens the Yin aspects of the self. It helps the body cool itself more effectively and strengthens all the vital organs, including the immune system, kidneys, and liver.
In traditional Chinese medicine, stinging nettle has been used to help patients transition from difficult times by burning the leaves to clear out any negative or unwanted energies. Ingesting the herb is used to treat iron deficiencies, poor circulation, and enlarged spleens.
Keep reading to find out what the 5 most surprising stinging nettle benefits are.
Next Up: How Gan Cao Can Boost Your Health (According to Chinese Medicine)
1. Jam Packed Full of Nutrients
Stinging nettle is packed full of vital nutrients. It contains calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc, as well as Vitamins A, C, and it is one of the best sources of Vitamin K. Another surprising fact about this garden herb is that it is very high in protein; around 25% of the dried leaves are made up of protein. That means that it's got the highest protein content out of any other green vegetable!
2. Potential Treatment for High Blood Pressure
Stinging nettle may also be a remedy for high blood pressure, due to its ability to stimulate the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps the blood vessels relax and dilate, which allows the heart to receive blood better. Studies done on rats show that stinging nettle may lower blood pressure, while simultaneously protecting the heart.
3. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
One of the most popular uses of stinging nettle as a herbal medicine is to treat allergies, asthma and bronchitis. Stinging nettles strengthen the lungs, boost the immune system, and decrease inflammation throughout the body, which is what makes it a great herbal remedy for respiratory illnesses.
Stinging nettle has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Applying stinging nettle topically as a cream or a paste can reduce inflammation and soothe symptoms of arthritis, as well as reducing pain in affected areas.
4. May Help Manage Blood Sugar
Stinging nettle has also been shown to be beneficial to people suffering from diabetes. A case study describes how a 57 year old diabetic man took stinging nettle supplements alongside his prescribed diabetic medication. He eventually stopped taking his medicine altogether and relied solely on stinging nettles, which kept his blood sugar at a healthy 120 mg/dL. Eventually, due to supply issues with the herb, the man was forced to switch back to his medication, but only after several months of successful treatment with stinging nettles.
5. Relieve Symptoms of an Enlarged Prostate
One of the most interesting uses of stinging nettle as an herbal supplement is its effect on testosterone. The herb has shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) which affects 50% of men aged 51 and up. Ingesting this herb may prevent testosterone from converting into dihydrotestosterone, which is thought to be the cause of BPH.
Stinging nettle has also become an ingredient commonly found in testosterone boosters. A number of people believe that it increases testosterone production by inhibiting the hormones that bind to testosterone, allowing for a greater amount of free testosterone to be available in the bloodstream. This is supported by a study that found that an intake of stinging nettle may discourage testosterone from binding to sex-hormone binding globulin, allowing for more free testosterone to be present in the bloodstream.
Stinging nettle also inhibits aromatase, an enzyme that turns testosterone into estrogen. This may make it an excellent treatment for testosterone-linked ailments, as well as symptoms pertaining to an enlarged prostate, such as urinary discomfort.
How to Take Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle can be found in supplement form, cooked into meals, or even blended into smoothies. The most common way to incorporate it, however, is by brewing it into tea. Stinging nettle can be sourced from an experienced herbalist or from a health shop, either in teabags or in dried leaf form to be brewed into your own tea.
There are many people who believe that part of the magic of tea comes from the ritual of brewing it. Taking a moment to enjoy a hot, steaming mug may allow you to reflect or find peace, and accompanied by the plethora of health benefits, this herb is an incredible addition to your daily routine.
Start your natural health journey by booking a 30-minute traditional Chinese medicine consultation to learn how stinging nettle and other traditional Chinese medicines can be used to improve your health and wellbeing.
This blog is intended to provide general information regarding health and related topics. The information and other materials offered in this blog, website, or any other linked materials are not meant to be used in place of professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be regarded as such. Please consult with a medical doctor or natural health specialist before starting a new medication, treatment, or natural supplement.