Stinging Nettles Leaf

A member of the nettle family, stinging nettles are an excellent overall health tonic, and have been used as an herbal health panacea for hundreds of years. In fact, archeologists have even found signs that nettle leaf was used by the Neanderthals as a relief for joint discomfort. True to their name, nettles sting the skin when you touch the leaf. This is due to the highly reactive hairs on the leaf which contain formic acid, acetylchlorine, seratonin and histamines.

Reported health benefits:
Stinging nettle leaves are known for their many health uses. The leaf extract was used as a traditional Native American medicine for rheumatic pain. Topical uses of the herb have been used for acne and other skin problems. The leaf is also a powerful detoxifying agent for both the kidneys and liver.

Other purported medicinal uses of the herb include:

  • Excellent general health tonic and detoxifier
  • Good source of nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, niacin, selenium and iron
  • Good source of the vitamins A, B, C, D, and K.
  • Tonifier for the endocrine system
  • Regulator of hormone secretion
  • Stimulator of kidney detoxification
  • Alterative (blood cleansers)
  • Healer of damaged body tissue
  • Relieves Muscle and joint inflammation
  • Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis
  • Treatment for anaemia
  • Skin purifier

Mechanisms of Action
Particularly in regard to joint and muscle pain, stinging nettles cause a gentle irritation to the skin, joints and muscles. This in turn leads to a dilation effect in the blood, stimulating circulation as well as cellular metabolism. Other studies show that stinging nettles have an effect on the brain neurotransmitters responsible for alerting the body to pain. Taking the herb allows the user to feel less of a pain-response in regard to arthritic conditions, providing much relief to aching joints.

Promising Research on Stinging Nettles
Clinical studies at the University of Plymouth found that nettle urtication lowers the pain for arthritic conditions, possibly through brain neurotransmitters responsible for pain perception.

Other studies suggest that the stinging nettle helps in the process of blood coagulation, as well as in the creation of hemoglobin in our red blood cells. Some studies show that the extract slows the formation of bacteria. Most promising are studies on the herbís diuretic activity, as well as its ability to detoxify the kidney, acting as supportive treatment for kidney infections.

Contraindications
Do not use if dog is pregnant or breast-feeding. Consult a doctor if your dog is taking any of the following medications: anticoagulants (blood-thinners), blood pressure medications, anti-diabetes drugs, drugs that suppress the central nervous system, and the anti-inflammatory diclofenac.

Resources
Whole Health of Chicago. Center for Integrative Medicine. http://www.wholehealthchicago.com/knowledge-base/n/nettle/

"Nettles ease arthritis suffering'" (May 31, 2000). BBC News.

Riehemann K, et al. Plant extracts from stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), an antirheumatic remedy, inhibit the proinflammatory transcription factor NF-kappaB. FEBS Lett 1999 Jan 8;442(1):89Ė94.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A1310950

- Ingredient used in Human formula

- Ingredient used in Canine formula