Stinging nettle is a very popular herbal remedy most commonly used to treat seasonal allergies. It grows abundantly in damp, fertile soil in North America, Canada, and Europe. The leaves of a stinging nettle plant have tiny, sharp hairs that can irritate the skin causing itching, rashes, and stinging; hence the name stinging nettle. The hairs contain chemicals including: formic acid, serotonin, and, histamine which can cause adverse reactions when touched. While nettle is popular for treating seasonal allergies, it has been known to treat other issues like arthritis, diabetes, and some prostate issues.
Although science is unsure how nettle treats allergy symptoms, some suggest that the popular herb’s anti-inflammatory properties are what makes it so effective. It is believed that nettle can reduce allergy related inflammation. Most commonly, nettle leaves are steeped in hot water to make tea when treating seasonal allergies. Nettle tea is safe for moderate consumption it can cause some side effects; however, including stomach pain, urinary issues, sweating, hives or rashes, and diarrhea. Scientists claim there is insufficient research to determine whether nettle is effective for treating allergies, but there are many cultures that have sworn by its powers for centuries.
Records show that ancient Egyptians used nettle for various reasons and often to treat arthritis pain. The Arthritis Foundation has reported that many patients claim that nettle reduced inflammation, helped to improve osteoarthritis, and eased gout symptoms. Because of the herb’s anti-inflammatory properties scientists hope to find ways that nettle can help other inflammatory issues such as irritable bowel syndrome. Other properties of nettle that scientists have investigated include antimicrobial, antioxidant, pain-relieving, and anti-ulcer. Nettle may also help to stifle prostate growth in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia; which is a non-cancerous growth of the prostate. In another controlled trial, patients with type 2 diabetes who took nettle along with their regular treatment showed positive results on glucose levels after 3 months.
The anti-inflammatory properties are the golden ticket with this holistic remedy since inflammation is one of the major causes of disease. This is definitely one to keep in the cabinet to pull out when allergy season comes around.
Kimberly Jones, May 2020
Stinging nettle leaves for seasonal allergy relief.