If you’ve had the experience of walking through a meadow or trail in the woods and found yourself with a bristly rash on exposed parts of your limbs, you may have brushed up against some stinging nettle. Nettles are an herbaceous perennial flowering plant, native to Europe, Asia, northern Africa, and North America. The plant has many hollow stinging hairs called “trichomes” on its leaves and stems, which act like needles that inject histamine, formic acid and other chemicals that produce a stinging sensation. It’s very high nutritional content has made it a popular food source steamed and eaten like spinach (it does loose the “sting” when cooked), taken as a tea made from the dried leaves to assist in the nutrition of expectant or nursing mothers, or for general tonic properties for good health. Shakespeare makes mention of nettle when his character Hotspur warns, “ ‘Tis dangerous to take a cold, to sleep, to drink, but I tell you, out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety” (I Henry IV, Act II Scene 3). It is a plant that has endeared itself to us throughout the ages.
Nettle leaf has a long history of use for modulating the body’s inflammatory pathways and supporting upper respiratory health. Nettle Root has been used to support healthy prostate function and there are human clinical studies supporting its use for this purpose.
Uses of Nettle
This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.