Traditional medicine is steeped in the practice of using herbal remedies to treat all manner of illness and disease. One of the oldest, most well-known botanicals of herbal medicine is stinging nettle, a perennial flowering plant whose use dates back to the ancient Greeks.
What it does
Stinging nettle (urtica dioica) offers a wide range of effects due to the litany of phytochemicals contained in its stem, leaves, and root. Various studies have noted that stinging nettle may increase testosterone, reduce inflammation and allergies, relieve benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), decrease blood pressure and blood sugar, and alleviate arthritis pain.
How it works
Stinging nettle functions as an antioxidant, inhibiting the oxidation of fats, deoxyribose, and proteins, which helps protect the body from oxidative stress. Additional studies have found that the plant can reduce inflammatory cytokine release as well as inflammatory biomarkers, including TNF-a and CRP. These anti-inflammatory effects seem to be one of the reasons why the plant is noted to help relieve nasal congestion, allergies, and arthritis.
Research has also noted that stinging nettle can decrease the sensation of pain by interfering with pain signal transduction in the body. Animal research indicates stinging nettle exerts hypertensive effects by increasing nitric oxide and acting as a calcium channel blocker, which relaxes the heart by reducing the force of its contractions. Note that these effects have yet to be fully elucidated with human trials.
Studies documenting the beneficial effects of stinging nettle on BPH used a dosage of 450 mg of dry stinging nettle root extract. Human studies noting the blood sugar-lowering effects of the plant used a daily dose of 500mg three times per day.
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