When we come across nettle in nature and accidentally get stung by it we are usually angry, but this plant is so healthy and beneficial that we should be thankful even when it leaves blisters on our skin. At the same time, it is available to everyone and everywhere, and if we eat it a couple of times a week or drink an infusion made from its leaves or root, it can certainly significantly improve our health.
Nettle has been used since time immemorial; nowadays we know it as a seemingly cruel folk cure for rheumatic pains which involves whipping yourself with it. However, scientific research has proven that this tradition makes a lot of sense and that nettle is a very effective analgesic and that it has an anti-inflammatory effect. Its angry nature and its ability to sting us when we touch it have inspired its name in English – stinging nettle – this characteristic is in the foreground, as even when it itself is not the cause of sudden blisters that appear on our skin as an allergic reaction, we call them hives or urticaria. The latter derives its name from the scientific Latin name for this plant, urtica dioica. And what is it in its microscopic needles that is so therapeutic, even when it is very uncomfortable? Among other things, nettle contains serotonin, acetylcholine, histamine and leukotriene. Serotonin, also known as the hormone of happiness, together with histamine, stimulates a growth hormone, which then activates pain receptors. So, when it sings us, nettle has an effect similar to capsaicin from hot peppers, otherwise an obligatory ingredient in anti-rheumatic patches and creams, or an effect similar to acupuncture.
What is nettle good for
In addition to recognising it as a treatment for rheumatism, folk medicine has recognised the healing role that nettle plays in strengthening and detoxifying the body, in treating anaemia, expelling excess water and toxins from the body, treating enlarged prostate, urinary tract infections, women’s diseases, pneumonia and asthma, wound healing, high blood pressure, baldness…
When the first shoots of nettle appear in the spring, that is exactly the time when we need it most. After eating unvaried food during a long winter, springtime nettle can restore our vitality. As it is rich in iron, it is an ideal cure for anaemia, weak immunity and exhaustion. Iron is an essential mineral in our body, through which the protein haemoglobin transports oxygen to the lungs and other organs and tissues through red blood cells. When we don’t have enough of it, we will be constantly tired, apathetic, distracted, pale and suffering from dizziness. All these are signs of a drop in immunity, and this is when any virus can easily defeat us. Nettle does not only strengthen our immunity, but it also has exceptional antioxidant properties and the power to destroy tumour cells.
What is it about nettle that has such healing power? First, it is rich in minerals: iron, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium; then vitamins – B2 and B5, A, C and K. It is also rich in amino acids necessary for building proteins, quercetins that reduce allergic reactions, polyphenols – powerful antioxidants, beta-sitosterol that regulates prostate function and prevents its enlargement, coumarins that strengthen blood vessel walls, tripertenes that lower blood pressure and cholesterol, fatty acids that are necessary for cardiovascular health and metabolism…
Ideal for detoxification
Nettle is a powerful cleanser of our body: its diuretic properties will cleanse the liver, kidneys and the urinary tract, and when it helps us get rid of excess fluid, it will automatically regulate our blood pressure and reduce the pain and inflammation in osteoarthritis and gout. As a great diuretic, nettle can also help with cellulite, which is caused by the retention of excess water in tissues due to reduced lymph flow. In addition to removing toxins, it will also remove excess fat thanks to beta-sitosterol and enable unhindered blood circulation through blood vessels.
All this will be reflected in our appearance; we can also use it topically, as a tonic, when it can alleviate the symptoms of eczema and soothe acne, because it balances the production of sebum. Those old enough will remember that the choice of shampoos available to buy in the past was not as wide as it is today. One could choose between birch and nettle shampoo. And that was quite enough. Nettle shampoo is also excellent against hair loss as it strengthens hair roots.
Nettle for prostate
Nettle is a great friend of men. In addition to being effective in fighting hair loss problems, it has a beneficial effect on proteins in the blood which attach to surplus hormones. In that way it protects the prostate and the urinary tract; beta-sitosterol further relieves the symptoms of urinary problems and helps with difficulties in urinating. Numerous studies have proven the healing effects of nettle in benign prostatic hyperplasia, so its extract is a common ingredient in preparations used in prostate adenoma (prostate enlargement), and bacterial inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis).
Women also benefit a lot from it, because according to the same principle of hormone regulation, it can help with disorders of the reproductive system, for example polycystic ovaries, and as it has an astringent effect, it prevents heavy bleeding. It is also great for breastfeeding mothers because it stimulates lactation, and in pregnancy it strengthens the foetus, prevents anaemia, haemorrhoids that are common in pregnancy and bleeding associated with them. It also has a beneficial effect on the digestive tract and is useful for stomach catarrh and stomach ulcers.
It is not surprising that it has been used throughout history as a super cure for all ailments. However, nettle is not only used in herbal medicine. Its stalk contains cellulose fibres which can be used to produce textiles. German First Word War uniforms were made of it. It is also used to produce a natural yellow die for textiles. In German mythology the nettle used to be a symbol of the God of Thunder.
Nettle as food
It is best to pick nettle in the spring when young shoots appear, naturally while wearing protective gloves, as far away from city pollution as possible. The whole plant is medicinal: its root, leaves and seeds. Nettle tea is made from the leaves and roots of this plant, the seeds are mixed with honey, and its healing effects are best used in the form of tinctures.
Although in its raw form it stings and leaves traces on the skin, steamed nettle is not only safe but also an ideal food. Our menu should definitely include nettle soup, and we can creatively combine it with other foods, for example with beef in very tasty meatballs. The nettle in our diet is far from that angry plant that that burns our feet as we brush past it.
We can enjoy the beneficial effects of nettle without going to distant areas that have not been affected by heavy metals from the exhaust fumes that our cars produce. That is why there are three preparations from the Herba Svet laboratories: Disan contains liquid nettle extract in addition to other medicinal plants and honey. This bio-elixir strengthens immunity, purifies the whole organism, protects the respiratory organs, helps revitalise the mucous membrane of the throat, reduces tickly cough, and is also great as an aid to smokers who are in the process of quitting smoking.
Fital Prost drops contain nettle root, in addition to four other medicinal plants, and are intended for the male population. They increase vitality of the prostate, reduce frequent and difficult urination and protect the urinary tract. Fital Prost helps with acute and chronic prostate infections, as well as benign prostate enlargement, and can also be used as a preventative medication. In addition to these drops, there is the Alfa Aktiv HS Pro preparation that contains 3-β-sitosterol from dry nettle root extract which helps men. Here, it is combined with damiana extract, palmetto, trans resveratrol and pomegranate extract, which protect not only the urinary tract, but also men’s overall health, especially their sexual health.
With Disan, Fital Prost and Alpha Active HS Pro, our health is stronger than thunder.
The following products contain this plant: