Stinging nettle is a plant. The root and above ground parts are used as medicine.
Stinging nettle root is taken by mouth for urination problems related to an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia [BPH]). These problems include nighttime urination, urination that is too frequent, painful urination, inability to urinate, and irritable bladder.
Stinging nettle root is also used for elevated blood glucose, joint ailments, as a "water pill" (diuretic), and as an astringent. It is also used in women who have high levels of male sex hormones. This condition is called hyperandrogenism.
Stinging nettle above ground parts are used along with large amounts of fluids in so-called "irrigation therapy" for urinary tract infections (UTI), urinary tract inflammation, and kidney stones (nephrolithiasis). The above-ground parts are also used for seasonal allergies (hay fever) and osteoarthritis.
The above ground parts of stinging nettle are also taken by mouth for internal bleeding, including uterine bleeding, nosebleeds, and bowel bleeding. The above ground parts are also used for anemia, poor circulation, an enlarged spleen, diabetes and other hormone disorders, too much acid in the stomach, diarrhea, asthma, lung congestion, heart failure, rash, eczema, cancer, preventing the signs of aging, "blood purification," wound healing, and as a general tonic.
Stinging nettle above ground parts are applied to the skin for muscle aches and pains, oily scalp, oily hair, and hair loss (alopecia).
In foods, young stinging nettle leaves are eaten as a cooked vegetable.
In manufacturing, stinging nettle extract is used as an ingredient in hair and skin products.
Stinging nettle leaf has a long history of use. It was used primarily as a diuretic and laxative in ancient Greek times.
Don't confuse stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) with white dead nettle (Lamium album).
How it works
Stinging nettle contains ingredients that might decrease inflammation and increase urine output.
Taking stinging nettle leaf preparations by mouth or applying it to the skin might reduce pain in people with osteoarthritis. Taking stinging nettle leaf preparations by mouth might also reduce the need for pain medications.
Stinging nettle is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth for up to 2 years or when applied to the skin appropriately. However, it might cause stomach complaints and sweating. Touching the stinging nettle plant can cause skin irritation.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Stinging nettle isLIKELY UNSAFEto take duringpregnancy. It might stimulate uterine contractions and cause amiscarriage. It's also best to avoid stinging nettle if you arebreast-feeding.Are there any interactions with medications?
Diabetes: There is some evidence that stinging nettle above ground parts can decrease blood sugar levels. This might increase the chance of blood sugar levels becoming too low in people being treated for diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar carefully.
Low blood pressure: Stinging nettle above ground parts might lower blood pressure. In theory, stinging nettle might increase the risk of blood pressure dropping too low in people prone to low blood pressure. If you have low blood pressure, discuss stinging nettle with your healthcare provider before starting it.
Kidney problems: The above ground parts of stinging nettle seem to increase urine flow. If you have kidney problems, discuss stinging nettle with your healthcare provider before starting it.
Stinging nettle might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking stinging nettle might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.Warfarin (Coumadin)
Stinging nettle above ground parts might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking stinging nettle along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.Stinging nettle above ground parts might to decrease blood pressure. Taking stinging nettle along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), Amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.Large amounts of stinging nettle above ground parts might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking stinging nettle along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.Stinging nettle above ground parts contain large amounts of vitamin K. Vitamin K is used by the body to help blood clot. Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. By helping the blood clot, stinging nettle might decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.