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Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle Monograph

Botanical name

Urtica dioica

Common Name

Nettle, common nettle, stinging nettle



Parts Used

Leaves and stalks, rhizomes, seeds

Native To

Europe, Asia

Harvesting Guidelines

When harvesting nettle, it's important to protect yourself from the stinging hairs that can cause discomfort. Wear gloves and protective clothing to avoid any irritation. It's best to harvest the top 6 inches of the plant in the spring and early summer before it flowers. Flowering nettle plants have a higher silica content that may irritate the kidneys, so it's best to avoid harvesting them during this time. (1)


Nettle is a plant that is notorious for its stinging properties, which are caused by tiny hairs on its stems and leaves that contain formic acid and histamine. However, despite its reputation, nettle is also a versatile and nutritious plant that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and cuisine. In fact, when dried, cooked, or left to wilt for a day or two, the sting disappears, leaving behind a delicious and healthy ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes.

One of the most well-recorded uses of stinging nettle, stretching back over 2,000 years, is urtication. Employed by indigenous tribes and many countries worldwide, it involved beating ones limbs with stalks of stinging nettle. To practitioners, it serves as a cure for painful, arthritic joints. There are conflicting opinions about the true benefit of this practice. Some argue that the sting merely provides a distraction from the pain of arthritis. However, others point to the injection of histamine by the nettle plant. Once histamine is injected into the body, an anti-histamine reaction occurs, with the body attempting to draw down the inflammation. It is thought that perhaps this reaction by the body also serves to reduce arthritic swelling. Warriors and hunters of many clans also used the sting of the nettle to keep themselves alert during battle or the hunt. (2)

Nettle, a plant known for its stinging leaves, has been found to have medicinal properties that can help alleviate symptoms of allergies and respiratory issues. The Cherokee people have long used nettle to treat coughs, asthma, and bronchitis, as well as allergies. In a clinical study, over half of patients with allergic rhinitis reported improvement in symptoms after taking a freeze-dried preparation of stinging nettle leaves. This is likely due to nettle's anti-inflammatory and antihistamine actions.

Nettle is a versatile plant that has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. Nettle leaf, when brewed as an infusion, is said to promote healthy hair, nails, and skin. It can also be used as a hair rinse to add shine and thickness to hair. Nettle root is known for its restorative properties and is often used to treat hair loss or weakness. When applied topically, nettle can stimulate blood flow to the area, making it a popular ingredient in rubefacients. (4)

Nettle is a powerful herb that is known for its ability to purify the blood and aid in the absorption of nutrients and proteins. It is also effective in neutralizing acid and eliminating waste from the body. This makes it a great natural remedy for a variety of health issues, including arthritis, gout, rheumatism, eczema, and skin problems caused by metabolic disorders. By detoxifying the body of harmful metabolic wastes, nettle can help to balance blood toxicity and promote overall health and wellness.

Nettle is a highly nutritious herb that can be consumed daily either as a drink or food. It provides nourishment, support, and energy to the entire body, and is particularly beneficial for the blood. Its green taste is a clear indication of its nourishing properties, while its salty taste and iron content make it ideal for building the blood, aiding in recovery after illness, and balancing anemia. Nettle is also an excellent detoxifier and is often used as a spring tonic after a long winter of consuming heavy foods. To enjoy its benefits, nettle can be consumed as a nourishing infusion, steamed or sautéed like any other leafy green vegetable, or juiced to make a healthy green juice.

Nettle is also beneficial for hair and nails. It contains silica, a mineral that is important for healthy hair and nails. Silica helps to strengthen the hair and nails, and can also promote hair growth.

Nettle has a detoxifying effect on the body, helping to support the liver and kidneys in removing toxins. It can be used as a gentle cleanse, helping to eliminate waste and improve overall health.

Nettle has been traditionally used to support the immune system, relieve allergies, and promote healthy digestion. It is also a natural diuretic, helping to flush excess fluids and toxins from the body.

Nettle roots, on the other hand, are commonly used to support prostate health in men, as they help reduce inflammation and regulate hormones that can contribute to prostate enlargement. They are also used to support urinary tract health and may have mild diuretic properties.

Nettle seeds are believed to have adaptogenic properties, which means they may help the body better adapt to stress and promote overall resilience. They are also considered to be a tonic for the nervous system, helping to support healthy cognitive function, memory, and concentration.


Adult Dose (5) medical herbalism by David Hoffman

Infusion: 1 ounce dried nettle leaf in 1 quart boiling water 1-4x/day





Safety : Nettle is considered nutritive and safe, although some allergic reactions have been reported.


Stinging nettle is an amazing superfood vegetable that is not only high in protein but also in calcium, magnesium, iron, selenium, zinc, potassium, boron, vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, bioflavonoids, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and chlorophyll.Get the most out of this amazing herb with my favourite recipe. This recipe comes as a video. Video by: Nyishar


(1) Hahn, J. (2010). Pacific feast: A cook’s guide to West Coast foraging and cuisine. Seattle, WA: Skipstone.

(2)Two Burning Houses: A Natural History of Stinging Nettle- Petra LeBaron-Botts

(3)Mittman, P. (1990). Randomized, double-blind study of freeze-dried Urtica dioica in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Planta Medica, 56(1), 44–47.

(4) Weed, S. (1989). Healing wise. Ash Tree Publishing.

(5) Medical Herbalism by David Hoffman

Information offered on Achula and on this page is for educational purposes only. Achula makes neither medical claim, nor intends to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Women who are pregnant or nursing, and persons with known medical conditions, should consult their licensed healthcare provider before taking any herbal product. Links to external sites are for informational purposes only. Achula neither endorses them nor is in any way responsible for their content. Readers must do their own research concerning the safety and usage of any herbs or supplements.


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