Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica)


The genus name Urtica comes from the Latin verb urere meaning, "to burn," because of its urticate (stinging) hairs that cover the stem and underside of the leaves. The species name dioica means "two houses" because the plant usually has male or female flowers.
The most common uses for stinging nettle are treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, enlarged prostate), arthritis, allergies, cough, pain, tuberculosis, urinary tract disorders, and externally as a hair and scalp remedy for oily hair and dandruff. It is also frequently used as a diuretic to increase the flow of urine, as an astringent, and to loosen mucus in lungs.
Nettle is generally regarded as safe because the plant is also used as a green, leafy vegetable. Other than urticaria ("hives") from the stinging hairs, stomach discomfort is the only reported adverse effect.

Related Terms

3-4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran, Bazoton®, big string nettle, Brennessel (German), bull nettle, chichicaste, common nettle, dog nettle, extract of Radicis Urticae (ERU), Fragdor®, garden nettle, gerrais, grand ortie (French), grande ortie, great stinging nettle, great nettle, greater nettle, gross d'ortie, Hostid®, isirgan, kazink, Kleer®, nabat al nar, nessel (German), nettle, nettles, ortiga (Spanish), ortie, ortic (Italian), pokrywa grosse brenessel, Prostaforton®, Prostagalen®, racine d'ortie small nettle (Urtica urens), stingers, urtica, Urtica dioica, Urtica dioica agglutinin (UDA), Urtica herba/folium (dried leaves or aerial parts of U. dioica and U. urens), Urtica major, Urtica radix (root), Urticaceae, urtiga, zwyczajna (Polish).
Selected combination products: Phytalgic® (fish oil, vitamin E, and Urtica dioica), Pluvio® (avocado, soya oil, and Urtica dioica) Prostagutt forte® (saw palmetto and nettle), Prostatonin Pharmaton® (pygeum and nettle)

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Allergies (Grade: C)
For many years, a freeze-dried preparation of
Arthritis (Grade: C)
Nettle is widely used as a folk remedy to treat arthritic and rheumatic conditions throughout Europe and in Australia. Early evidence suggests that certain constituents in the nettle plant have anti-inflammatory and/or immunomodulatory activity. More study is needed to confirm these findings.
Bleeding (Grade: C)
In Anatolia, an herbal mixture called Ankaferd Blood Stopper (ABS), made up of
Burns (Grade: C)
According to a human study, a combination of amica and stinging nettle liquid and gel treated grade two burns faster than placebo. The effect of stinging nettle alone is unclear. Further studies are needed before conclusions can be made.
Diabetes (Grade: C)
According to one human study, stinging nettle lacked a significant difference compared to placebo in insulin sensitivity, body mass index (BMI), or waist size. Further studies are needed before conclusions can be made.
Enlarged prostate (Grade: C)
Stinging nettle is used rather frequently in Europe in the treatment of symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate). Early evidence suggests an improvement in symptoms, such as the alleviation of lower urinary tract symptoms associated with stage I or II BPH, as a result of nettle therapy. Additional study is needed in this area.
Gum disease (Grade: C)
One study has examined the effect of a mouthwash containing nettle on plaque and gum disease in healthy adults, and did not find any benefit. Further studies are required before a strong recommendation can be made.
Inflammation (Grade: C)
According to one human study, stinging nettle had a significant difference compared to placebo in lowering inflammatory markers; however, further studies are needed before conclusions can be made.
Insect bites (Grade: C)
Early studies have examined the effect of a combination product containing nettle applied on the skin. Early results do not appear to confirm nettle as an effective therapy for itching caused by insect bites. Additional study is warranted in this area.
Joint pain (Grade: C)
Nettle has historically been used in several different forms to treat pain of varying origins. However, there is a lack of available scientific evidence to confirm this use and additional study is needed.
Prostate inflammation (long-term) (Grade: C)
According to a human study,