Historical and Traditional Use of Nettle.


Historical and Traditional Use of Nettle.

Nettle Urtica Dioica Urticae radix Stinging Nettle  Nettle has a long history of use. The tough fibers from the stem have been used to make cloth and cooked nettle leaves were eaten as vegetables. From ancient Greece to the present, nettle has been documented for its traditional use in treating coughs, tuberculosis, and arthritis and in stimulating hair growth.

 Fibre made from the stems of the stinging nettle has been found in Bronze Age sites, and was used in some northern countries until the 17th century to make rope, cloth and fishing line. Paper was also made from the pulped fibres. Indigenous Americans treated aches and pains by lashing the surrounding skin with nettle stalks.

 Urtica is rich in iron and vitamin C, making it a useful remedy in anaemia and other debilitated states, the presence of the vitamin C ensuring that the iron is properly absorbed. The herb has an important effect on the kidney and on fluid and uric acid excretion, so is of benefit in gout and other arthritic conditions, particularly if there is an element of anaemia. The painful, irritant effect of the sting is lost on drying or heating with water, but if preserved in cold alcoholic tincture the irritant action is preserved. A tincture of the fresh leaf applied locally to an inflamed joint will induce counter-irritation and produce reddening over the joint. Blood is thus flushed through the area and out to the surface of the skin, where the toxins may even be taken off in the fluid of a burst blister.

 A preliminary trial reported that capsules made from freeze-dried leaves reduced sneezing and itching in people with hay fever. Further studies are needed to confirm this finding, however.

 The historical practice of intentionally applying nettle topically with the intent of causing stings to relieve arthritis has been assessed by a questionnaire in modern times. The results found intentional nettle stings safe, except for a sometimes painful, sometimes numb rash that lasts 6 to 24 hours. Additional trials are required to determine if this practice is therapeutically effective.

 Urtica is also of benefit in chronic skin conditions such as eczema, helping to cleanse the body of accumulated toxins. An infusion of the dried leaf is effective in helping to control dandruff and hair loss on the scalp. As a haemostatic and astringent, Urtica helps check wound bleeding and to treat menorrhagia; it is also used for haemorrhoids and can be taken internally to treat gastric and intestinal problems. The powdered leaves were traditionally used as a snuff to arrest nosebleeds.

 Urtica is known to stimulate milk flow in nursing mothers, and is often used in this way by farmers for their stock. It has been shown experimentally to have both hypoglycaemic and hyperglycaemic properties, the hypoglycaemic component being 'urticin'.

 In a clinical trial, men with benign prostatic hypertrophy (Stages I and II) were treated with a dried standardised Urtica root extract for 20 weeks. A morphologically relevant effect on the prostate adenoma cells was found that may be due to competitive inhibition by the extract of the binding capacity of SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin). An increased binding capacity of SHBG to testosterone and dihydrotestosterone results in hyperplasia as a compensation for a decrease in hormones. Other clinical trials have reported improvements in urinary flow, and reduced urinary frequency, nocturia and residual urine after six months treatment.

 Nettles contain calcium, iron, magnesium, and Vitamins A, B and C. Infusions of the leaves reduce the blood sugar level, and promote activity of the kidney, liver and gall bladder (they are said to expel gall bladder stones). A strong infusion can be used as a healing wash for burns and rough skin, or can be used as a scalp tonic to encourage hair growth and to eliminate dandruff. The sting of most nettles is irritating but not dangerous, whereas that of the Australian species produces such a strong reaction that death has been reported in a few cases. The juice of crushed leaves and stalks is supposed to counteract the pain of nettle stings.

Tribal and Herbal Medicine Uses.

 Nettle Urtica Dioica Urticae radix Stinging NettleIn folk medicine nettle plants have been used as a diuretic, to build the blood, for arthritis and rheumatism. Externally it has been used to improve the appearance of the hair, and is said to be a remedy against oily hair and dandruff.

 The plant has been widely used by herbalists around the world for centuries. In the first century, Greek physicians Dioscorides and Galen reported the leaf of nettle had diuretic and laxative properties and was useful for asthma, pleurisy and spleen illnesses. Bandages soaked in a leaf and stem infusion were used in early American medicine to stop the bleeding of wounds; an account of this use was recorded by Dr. Francis P. Procher, a surgeon and physician in the Southern Confederacy during the Civil War. Nettle leaves were also recommended as a nutritious food and as a weight loss aid by the famous American plant forager and naturalist, Euell Gibbons.

 In Brazilian herbal medicine the entire plant is used for excessive menstrual bleeding, diarrhea, diabetes, urinary disorders and respiratory problems including allergies. Externally, an infusion is used for skin problems. In Peru nettle is used against a variety of complaints such as muscular and arthritis pain, eczema, ulcers, asthma, diabetes, intestinal inflammation, nosebleeds and rheumatism. Externally it is used for inflammations, sciatica, wounds and head lice. In Germany today stinging nettle is sold as an herbal drug for prostate diseases and as a diuretic. It is a common ingredient in other herbal drugs produced in Germany for rheumatic complaints and inflammatory conditions (especially for the lower urinary tract and prostate). In the United States many remarkable healing properties are attributed to nettle and the leaf is utilized for different problems than the root. The leaf is used here as a diuretic, for arthritis, prostatitis, rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure and allergic rhinitis. The root is recommended as a diuretic, for relief of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and other prostate problems, and as a natural remedy to treat or prevent baldness.


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  • Name:Nettle Extract
  • Serie No:R018.
  • Specifications:4:1 TLC Silica 1%UV; Beta-Sterols 1%UV
  • EINECS/ELINCS No.:281-685-5
  • CAS:84012-40-8
  • Chem/IUPAC Name:Urtica Dioica Extract is an extract of the aerial parts of the nettle,Urtica dioica,Urticaceae
  • Other Names:Uritca Dioica Extract.Urtica Galeopsifolia Extract.Urticae Herba Extract.Urticae Radix Extract.Uritca dioica,Urtica galeopsifolia,Urtica.gracilis,Urtica.lyallii,U.gracilis,U.lyallii,Urticae herba,Urticae radix,Stinging nettle,nettle leaf,nettle root,Common Nettle,Great Stinging Nettle,Hsieh-tzu-ts'ao,Grande ortie,Grosse brandnetel,Ortiga,Grande ortica,Gerrais,Isirgan,Kazink,Nabat Al Nar,Ortie,Urtiga,Chichicaste,Brennessel,Gross d Ortie,Racine d Ortie,Grote Brandnetel,Ortiga Mayor,Devils Leaf.Xun Ma.

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Nettle Extract INCI Name Urtica Dioica Extract EINECS ELINCS No 281-685-5 CAS 84012-40-8 Urticae radix Extracts Nettle Root Extract

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