Nettle (Urtica dioica, Urtica urens)
Stinging nettle is most famous for the stinging hairs that will raise welts on the skin of those unlucky enough to touch them while walking through the woods or fields. The stinging hairs penetrate the skin with histamine and formic acid, which irritates the skin.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Nettle herbal tea is nutritious and full of iron. It is helpful during pregnancy in maintaining iron at a healthy level. It is also a galactogogue (a substance that increases milk production), and is therefore useful where this is a problem, either in animals or humans. The juice can be taken as a diuretic for congestive heart failure patients. Extracts can be used for arthritis, hay fever, anemia, kidney problems and pain.
Externally Urtication (flogging with nettles) is a process of deliberately stinging the skin with to create redness. This is done to provide pain relief from rheumatism. Fresh nettle can stop bleeding when it is applied to a fresh wound. The herb contains a lot of vitamin K, which aids clotting.
Other Uses Tops are nutritious and can be cooked like spinach or put in soups. New growth can be safely picked and eaten fresh in salads. Stems can be used to make specialty paper. It can also be raised for fiber or dye.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Dried nettle can be combined with red raspberry leaf, oatstraw and alfalfa to make a nutritious herbal tea during pregnancy.
Aerial Parts The aerial portion of the plant is used for most applications.
Stinging nettle is considered safe for most people, although you should be careful to use it only as directed. Some people may experience some mild stomach upset, fluid retention or hives if they take too much.
Preparation and Dosage
For topical creams, use as directed on the label.
For tincture, 5 to 7.5 ml 3 to 4 times per day is sufficient.
For leaf extract, 2 to 5 ml 3 times per day is usually enough.
For root extract, take 1.5 ml 3 to 4 times per day.
For dried nettle leaf, 2 to 4 grams three times a day is the usual dose.
For herbal tea, use 3 to 4 teaspoons of dried leaf in 2/3 cup of boiling water and steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Drink 3 or 4 cups per day. Make sure you drink extra water along with the herbal tea.