Originating in the colder regions of Asia and Europe, stinging nettle is a plant of the genus Urtica, and has several medicinal applications. Its name is derived from the very fine hairs located on the leaves and stems, which release a very irritating chemical when it comes into contact with the skin. Both the root and the part of the plant above the ground have several compounds which give the plant its medicinal attributes; however, the leaf is most commonly used to make nettle tea, which does a world of good for the body.
Benefits of Nettle Leaf Tea
Nettle is used to help alleviate urinary problems, in particular those associated with an enlarged prostate:
- Frequent and painful urination
- Inability to pass urine
- Irritated bladder
Nettle leaf tea also acts as a mild diuretic and a laxative. When allowed to cool, nettle tea can be used as an astringent.
Also Used For
- Internal bleeding, including nosebleeds, bowel bleeding and uterine bleeding
- Poor circulation, anemia, enlarged spleen and diabetes
- Stomach acid imbalance, diarrhea, and eczema
- Asthma and chest congestion resulting from the cold or flu
A 2012 research report from Harvard Medicine Research Center states that in a controlled group, persons suffering from severe cases of acne were able to reduce the severity of their breakouts by using nettle leaf tea at warm temperature as a facial wash up to three times per day. Internal use of nettle leaf tea has been exceptionally effective against allergies, and can be used as a general tonic. Further research from Harvard Research Center suggests drinking a few cups of nettle leaf tea at the onset of hay fever will help to relieve the symptoms.
The Mayo Clinic has recorded success with using the extract from the leaves of the nettle plant, along with copious amounts of fluid in what is called “irrigation therapy”. This therapy is mostly used to treat urinary tract infections, inflammation and kidney stones. The nettle leaves can also be blended into a paste and applied to the skin to help alleviate pain.
Nettle leaf tea is also effective against dandruff when used as a hair rinse, as it helps to balance the oils in your scalp and hair.
Contraindications of Nettle Leaf Tea
The Mayo Clinic warns that although the nettle leaf has many helpful medicinal applications, drinking this tea may cause stomach irritation if consumed too frequently. Touching the plant may cause skin irritations for some, while severe allergic reactions to the plant are also possible for a small number of people.
For those pregnant or breastfeeding, it is best to avoid drinking this tea. Nettle leaf tea has been known to stimulate uterine contractions, which can lead to miscarriage.
While nettle leaf tea has been known to lower the blood sugar in diabetic patients, doctors warn that it can significantly lower blood sugar levels if used in tandem with certain medications.
Increased urine output can place extra stress on a damaged kidney. Because of nettle leaf tea’s diuretic properties, those with kidney disorders are advised to consult their physician before incorporating this tea into their diet.
Remember to ensure that you differentiate between stinging nettle and dead nettle before consumption. Furthermore, if you decide to grow the plant at home, be sure to grow it organically without the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides. No more than two cups per day is necessary to reap the medicinal benefits.