Stinging nettle or common nettle, (Urtica dioica), is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant, native to Europe, Asia and northern Africa, but is now also grown in N. America and Canada. The leaves and stem have hollow stinging hair like projections that inject a neurotransmitter called histamine when touched. This produces a stinging sensation.
Stinging nettle is widely used in Europe as herbal medicine for prostate disorders, kidney and bladder disorders, gout, arthritis and also for hair growth. The tender shoots are also cooked and consumed as vegetable.
The flowering season for stinging nettle is from June to September and the plant is very rich in Potassium and Calcium salts, silicic acid, some volatile oils, flavonoids, vitamins C, K, B and carotene, UDA, polysaccharides, ligans, fatty acids and scopoletin. Several nerotransmitters including histamine, serotonine and acetylcholine are also found in abundance in stinging nettle. The root is rich in beta-sitosterol.
Owing to its powerful medicinal properties the stinging nettle is widely used in Europe as a diuretic (to facilitate flush out of liquids from an inflamed bladder or urinary tract) and as a treatment for inflamed prostate (BPH). It also helps prevent renal calculi or kidney stones.
BPH or benign prostate hyperplasia is a very common prostate condition found in over 90% of males aged 45 or more. The prostate tissues get enlarged and constrict the urethra, thereby restricting normal urine flow. This condition results in painful urination, dribbling, frequent urination, night time bed wetting and also blood laced urination.
Medications like finasteride, dutasteride etc. are available, but they can only help you so far by restricting further prostrate growth. Pain and other symptoms are often not reduced completely.
Stinging nettle extracts, especially the root extracts have been seen to give phenomenal results in lab studies conducted on BPH patients. Scientists are ye to ascertain the exact mode of action of the herb, but it is thought that the neurotransmitters present in the herb interfere positively with the pain signal transmission and the patient does the feel the pain associated with BPH. It also has a significant role in influencing hormones like testosterone and dihydrotestosterone which are the culprits behind BPH symptoms.
Studies have shown that Stinging nettle extracts can not only reduce risks of BPH and other prostate disorders, but also alleviate pain and improve overall prostate symptom score.