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Stinging Nettle Benefits: Science, Benefits, and Side Effects

The Cabinet — 05.14.24
by Elena Sheppard

Nettles are often called Stinging Nettles, and if you’ve ever frolicked through a beautiful field only to emerge with an itchy rash, you probably are already well acquainted with them. To give you a slightly deeper introduction, nettles are a flowering plant found all over the world.

When ingested (in the proper way, mind you), they are good for you. More than that, they’re one of the most commonly used medicinal plants in the world. 

The History

Nettles are herbaceous, perennial, flowering plants native to many different areas around the world, including every state in North America aside from Hawaii, northern Africa, Europe, and Asia. Nettles have been used as both a remedy and a food source for thousands of years

The ancient Roman troops were said to have rubbed Nettle on themselves to help stay warm, while Ancient Egyptians used them to treat arthritis and lower back pain. Not to mention, Nettles have been eaten for centuries.

While Nettles are still commonly used to treat many ails, their properties that support healthy nasal passageways come in handy during allergy season. 

Stinging Nettle Benefits 

Nettles have been found to contain antihistamines, which are a critical defense against the body’s natural response to pollen and other allergens. Additionally, their high nutritional value is part of what has made them such a popular food source. Nettles are a great source of iron, calcium, Vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, manganese, and carotenoids. 

What Else Can Stinging Nettle Do for You?

Diving deeper into the world of stinging nettles, it's clear this plant doesn't just stop at soothing sneezes and boosting nutrient intake. It's packed with a variety of benefits that might surprise you. 

Let’s uncover some of the less talked-about perks that stinging nettle brings to the table:

Natural Support for Heart Health

Did you know stinging nettles can help keep your heart in check? Rich in potassium, a mineral known for helping to support healthy blood pressure levels, nettle makes a heart-healthy addition to your routine, especially for those managing high blood pressure.

Herbal Aid to Urinary Health

Nettle’s diuretic properties make it a go-to for supporting healthy urination, which maintains bladder health and can help combat the onset of urinary tract infections. Think of it as a natural cleanse for your plumbing!

Joint Comfort and Mobility

For those days when your joints feel like they’ve run a marathon, stinging nettle might just be your new best friend. Historically, it’s been used to soothe joints and maintain mobility, making it a cherished herbal remedy. As a diuretic, stinging nettle increases the removal of uric acid while replenishing nutrients and electrolytes. Uric acid can be a cause of joint discomfort (e.g. gout).

Herbal Maintenance for Hormonal Harmony

Particularly beneficial for men, stinging nettle root works in tandem with herbs like saw palmetto to support the prostate gland. This combination is often explored for its potential to ease symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), where maintaining regular urination becomes a challenge.

Supporting Mothers in a Special Way

While not as commonly highlighted, nettle leaves, when transformed into an herbal tea, can be a comforting herbal concoction for breastfeeding mothers, offering a boost of vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, and magnesium.

Balancing Blood Sugar Levels

For those navigating the daily challenges of type 2 diabetes, incorporating stinging nettle into your diet might help support healthy blood sugar levels. It’s about maintaining your body’s natural balance, making it a worthy addition alongside traditional diabetes medications.

A Helping Hand for Allergy Relief

Beyond just providing histamine relief, the flavonoids and quercetin in stinging nettle help support the body during allergic reactions, acting as a natural helper to keep those sneezy days at bay.

The Science

The scientific name for Nettles is Urtica Dioica, which comes from the Latin uro, meaning to burn. This, of course, is an homage to the burning sensation caused on the skin if you touch these plants. It’s once the plant has been cooked, dried, or processed into a supplement that it is safe to consume. 

The way that Nettles work in alleviating hay fever symptoms is by inhibiting inflammation that can be a trigger for seasonal allergies. This is done by blocking histamine receptors, stopping immune cells from releasing the chemicals that trigger allergy symptoms, as well as COX-1 and COX-enzymes associated with inflammation.

How Does Stinging Nettle Enhance Immune and Lymphatic Health?

Continuing from the inhibition of COX enzymes, stinging nettle’s biochemical repertoire extends into its ability to modulate the immune system more broadly. The plant contains various compounds that can influence immune function beyond just alleviating symptoms of hay fever. 

For instance, nettle is rich in iron, a vital component necessary for the creation of hemoglobin, which helps transport oxygen to the cells, supporting overall energy and vitality. Moreover, stinging nettle plays a role in supporting lymphatic health and detoxification. 

Encouraging the flushing out of metabolic wastes through increased urine output aids in reducing the burden on lymphatic drainage systems. This makes sure that waste products are efficiently removed from the body. This comprehensive approach to supporting body systems underscores stinging nettle's role as a multifaceted herbal remedy beneficial for more than just seasonal allergy relief.

The Side Effects

While stinging nettle brings a bundle of benefits, it's also smart to keep an eye on potential side effects and considerations. Like any potent herb, stinging nettle can interact uniquely with different bodies and conditions. 

Here’s what to watch out for:

Stinging nettle is a powerhouse with a long history of both food and medicinal use, but it's not without its caveats. Whether you're brewing a cup of nettle tea or taking a supplement, starting with smaller doses and consulting with a healthcare provider can help you navigate any potential side effects with ease.

Top Tips for Integrating Stinging Nettle Into Your Health Regimen

Embracing stinging nettle can be a game-changer for your health, but it's important to approach its use thoughtfully to maximize benefits while minimizing any potential drawbacks. 

Here are some top tips to help you incorporate stinging nettle into your routine effectively:

Begin With a Patch Test

If you’re experimenting with stinging nettle for the first time, start small. Try a nettle tea or a diluted tincture to monitor how your body reacts, then gradually increase your intake.

Talk It Out With Your Doc

Always loop in your healthcare provider when you’re bringing a powerful herb like stinging nettle into your regime, especially if you have ongoing health concerns or you’re on medication — safety first!

Opt for Certified Supplements

Quality matters. For example, our Indoor/Outdoor Support* supplement marries the goodness of stinging nettle with other natural enhancers for your sinuses. It’s crafted without any mysterious additives, giving you pure, potent support, especially during those pollen-peppered months.

Hydration Is Key

With nettle’s natural knack for nudging out fluids, keeping your water intake up will keep any dehydration worries at bay. Think of it as flushing out the old to welcome the new.

Stir Some Nettle Into Your Meals

Get creative in the kitchen by adding dried nettle to soups, smoothies, or homemade pesto. It’s a subtle tweak with a nutrient kick.

Handle With Care

Remember, raw nettle doesn’t play nice with bare skin. Suit up with gloves if you’re handling fresh nettle to sidestep the sting.

Combine for Greater Impact

Pair nettle with complementary herbs for an extra health boost. Our Elderberry Immune Gummy, for instance, is a healthy mix of elderberry, zinc, and vitamin C, making it a perfect partner to nettle for those seeking to amp up their immune defenses.

Tune Into Your Body's Signals

Keep a close watch on how your body responds, especially if you’re juggling conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes. Nettle is powerful — make sure it’s working harmoniously with your body.

Explore Its Versatility

Nettle isn’t just a one-trick pony; it’s available in teas, capsules, powders, and more. Each form offers unique benefits, so don’t hesitate to mix things up to find what’s best for you.

Stay Informed

Dive into the research or join forums and communities that share insights and experiences with stinging nettle. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to harness its full potential.

Make It a Ritual

Incorporate nettle into your daily or weekly rituals. Whether that’s a morning herbal tea to kickstart your day or a soothing nettle bath to unwind in the evening, regular use maximizes benefits.

By blending these tips into your life, you not only optimize your use of stinging nettle but also ensure each step is enjoyable and tailored to your personal health journey. Whether you're boosting your nutrient intake, enhancing your skincare routine, or fortifying your immune system, stinging nettle offers a natural, time-tested avenue to better health.


Sodium, Potassium and Health | CDC

Stinging nettle Information | Mount Sinai

Improved glycemic control in patients with advanced type 2 diabetes mellitus | PCMl

Nettle Root for Iron Deficiency | livestrong

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