Stinging Nettle is a plant that grows in North America and can also be found in countries in Europe and even Africa. The stinging nettle is well known for its use as an herbal remedy. If are you around this plant, you must be careful not to touch the actual leaves.
What Is Stinging Nettle Leaf?
The name “Stinging” Nettle is derived from the stinging feeling you get when you touch it to your skin. Stinging Nettle is most commonly used as a food or an ingredient in other foods, and you will not find many Stinging Nettle supplements on the market. If you are planning to cook your own Stinging Nettle from the raw form, you will need to take special precautions before consuming it. Cooking it down releases the hair on the leaves and the stem, which will remove the “stinging” that you feel when you touch the leaves raw. Cooking it also makes it easier to eat and most people who use stinging nettle use it for medicinal purposes only.
When you are using Stinging Nettle Leaf, you may notice that you have some discomfort while digesting. Currently, there are no studies that indicate why this occurs or what you can do to prevent it from happening. You should also be cautious with this plant if you already have issues with your blood pressure, as this can cause your blood pressure to drop to dangerous levels. If you are considering using this plant, talk with your doctor first so they can monitor your blood pressure levels.
You may also notice a change in your blood sugar levels, especially if you are a diabetic. Make sure you keep a close watch on your blood sugar levels to help prevent any spikes. Some studies have also shown that it can cause bleeding and uterine contraction in women.
Uses of Stinging Nettle
The majority of people who are taking stinging nettle are using it for one of three medical issues: BPH, allergies, and joint pain.
BPH, or Benign Prostate hyperplasia, is a noncancerous condition that enlarges the prostate. This happens in men of all ages, though it is more common to see it in men who are over the age of 50. An enlarged prostate makes it harder to empty the bladder during urination, which can then cause other issues with the bladder and kidneys.
While more research studies need to be conducted on this subject, there are some studies that state that stinging nettle can help to alleviate the symptoms and pain associated with BPH. However, due to the lack of research studies being completed, researchers are not sure what part of the stinging nettle leaf is having this effect on the BPH.
Millions of people suffer from allergies every year, and one of the most common allergies is hay fever. Some research studies that have been conducted state that stinging nettle leaves can actually be used as an anti-inflammatory medicine in people with hay fever allergies. Though it needs to be studied in more detail, there are research studies that have shown that stinging nettle can also be good for runny noses, watery eyes, and sneezing.
At some point in our lives, we will all experience joint pain and swelling. Sometimes it is due to advanced age or we suffer from an injury that leaves residual joint pain behind. Research has promising evidence that rubbing nettle leaves on the affected area can actually help to relieve joint pain. If you are on a drug called diclofenac, research shows that you can eat stewed nettle leaves and it will actually aid that drug in its inflammatory process.
Risks & Side Effects
While research is making great strides in the field of proving that stinging nettle can help with certain ailments, there are some risks involved with taking it. Because of the lack of evidence in the area of pregnancy and breastfeeding, you should steer clear of the stinging nettle if you are pregnant or nursing, or if you plan on becoming pregnant. Elderly patients should also use caution when it comes to stinging nettle, due to the problem with blood pressure drops. Diabetics should also carefully consider this plant due to its ability to raise or lower blood sugar levels.
As with all new medicinal treatments, you should first consult with your medical doctor. You will want to make sure that you are healthy enough to take this plant, but you will also want your doctor to be able to monitor your progress. This will ensure that if you are having an issue with your blood sugar or blood pressure your doctor will know about it and can get you what you need to stabilize your levels.
If you are taking any medications, you need to discuss adding stinging nettle leaves with your doctor. Stinging Nettle can negatively affect certain medications and should not be taken with any type of supplement. If you are taking blood thinners, diuretics, or blood pressure medications, talk with your doctor before you begin using stinging nettle. Your doctor will be able to tell you if there are any negative side effects that may happen if you combine stinging nettle with your other medications.
For women, even if you are not on any medications, it is still a good idea for you to consult with your OBGYN to see if stinging nettle will cause excess bleeding or uterine contractions. Uterine contractions are one of the reasons while pregnant women should not take stinging nettle, as this can cause you to go into early labor.
As with any other medications that have either been prescribed to you or are supplements that you take, you will want to do your own research on stinging nettle before adding it to your routine. By doing your own research, you will have a better understanding of how the product works, and in the case of the stinging nettle, you will understand exactly how you are supposed to cook it. While there have not been any studies that show what the stinging nettle will do if eaten raw, it is better to err on the side of caution and make sure that you are cooking it correctly to avoid any health issues.