By: Bryce Wylde, BSc, Hons, DHMHS
Native to Europe, Asia, and North America, Urtica dioica, often called common nettle or stinging nettle (although not all plants of this species sting!) has a long history of use as a source of medicine, food and drink. Stinging nettle has fine hairs on the leaves and stems that contain irritating chemicals, which are released when the plant comes in contact with the skin. The hairs, or spines, of the stinging nettle are very painful to the touch, but when they come into contact with a painful area of the body, they can actually bring relief to the pained area of the body. It is thought that nettle does this by reducing levels of inflammatory chemicals in the body, and by interfering with the way the body transmits pain signals.
For thousands of years, stinging nettle has been prescribed as a treatment for snakebites and scorpion stings, as a kidney tonic, a diuretic, for menstrual relief and as a treatment for certain respiratory disorders. Today, it is generally used as a pain reliever for hay fever and to treat urinary problems during the early stages of an enlarged prostate (called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH), as well asjoint pain, sprains and strains, tendonitis, and insect bites.
If you’re suffering from hay fever, a nettle infusion (tea) can bring some relief. Bring a handful of nettle leaves (stems too) to a boil and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain into a cup and drink the tea three times daily (hot or cold) for two weeks prior to and during your allergy season.
Fresh stinging nettle leaves can cause localized rash, itching and stinging. This often presents like an allergic reaction, but there are no known reports of systemic allergies from this plant. Dried or cooked nettle leaf is generally well-tolerated, but the root can occasionally cause gastrointestinal complaints, sweating and skin rash.
ABOUT BRYCE WYLDE: Known as one of Canada’s leading alternative health experts, Bryce Wylde is a highly knowledgeable and respected natural healthcare practitioner whose specialty is homeopathy, clinical nutrition, supplementation, and botanical medicine and whose focus is routed within functional medicine. In a clinical setting, he blends the latest in human biological and genomic screening, science and technology, and uses new, traditional, and ancient remedies. Along with a team of allied health professionals he works closely with his patients, informed by the genetic make-up of that patient in order to customize care, lifestyle and functional therapeutic interventions for health promotion, disease prevention and longevity.Leave a reply →