Most of us have walked by a seemingly harmless plant and accidentally brushed up against it, only to feel a slight stinging or prickly pain, and chances are that you have very well may have come in contact with a stinging nettle plant, from which the nettle tea is made.
The Stinging Nettle Plant
Stinging nettle, or Urtica Dioica, is a perennial flowering plant that has been used therapeutically for ages, dating back as far as Ancient Greece.
These days, stinging nettle can be found all over the world, but its origins are in the cooler regions of Europe and Asia.
The plant typically grows between two to four feet high and blooms from June to September. It grows better in nitrogen-rich soil, has heart-shaped leaves, and produces yellow or pink flowers.
While you may insult the plant for the temporary discomfort, stinging nettle is actually a helpful perennial that treats several conditions.
Perhaps, its most common use is in turning the leaves into stinging nettle tea, which is a common natural allergy relief remedy.
This prickly plant has revealed promising evidence as a means of actually relieving discomfort, joint pain in particular.
It also helps relieve the pain in sore joints because it contains active compounds that lessen inflammatory cytokines.
Cytokines, such as the strangely named TNF-α and IL-1B, are messengers between cells and cause inflammation due to an immune response.
The compound in the nettle leaves helps inhibit the protein that activates TNF-α and IL-1B in the synovial tissue lining the joints that cause swelling and pain. It is also believed to help with painful attacks of gout as it aids in kidney function, helping to neutralize uric acid and stop it from crystallizing.
Nettle tea may not sound the most inviting but it’s cost-effective, simple to utilize, and easy to access, making it just the thing to take the sting out of your joint pain.
You will need:
- 1 cup of fresh nettle leaves or 1 teaspoon dried if you can’t locate a fresh plant.
- 2 cups of fresh water,
- a pot and
- Cinnamon and/or honey.
If gathering it yourself, then you will need long sleeves, jeans, gloves, and scissors.
Get your nettle leaves, put them in a pot and add 2 cups of fresh water (for a stronger flavor reduce the amount of water used and vice-versa.) Bring to a near boil and then decrease the heat, allowing the tea simmer for several more minutes.
Strain the tea and enjoy 1-2 times every day. If you are using it dried, use 1 teaspoon for every cup of water and allow it steep-covered for 5-10 minutes. Add honey to taste if you’d like, or cinnamon, which may also help inflammation.
Nettle is widely distributed across the globe, from northern Europe and Asia to Canada and the United States, so there’s a good chance you have some nearby. If you can, go out and collect 1 cup of the leaves, but make sure to dress appropriately to avoid getting stung
Other Health Benefits of Nettle Plants
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the nettle plant has been used most commonly throughout history as a diuretic and for treating aching muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia.
The most proven health benefits of using stinging nettle help with the following:
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) and Urinary Issues
BPH symptoms are triggered by an enlarged prostate gland pressing on the urethra. BPH victims experience varying levels of increased urges to urinate, incomplete emptying of the bladder, painful urination, post urination dripping and decreased urinary flow.
Doctors are still not completely sure why stinging nettle alleviates some of these symptoms, but many clinical pieces of research infer that it contains chemicals that affect the hormones that cause BPH. When consumed, it also directly affects prostate cells.
Stinging nettle root extract has also been revealed to slow or prevent the spread of prostate cancer cells. It’s usually used in mixture with saw palmetto and other herbs. The root of the plant is mainly used in connection with urinary issues.
Stinging nettle is also used as a successful general diuretic and can aid urine flow as well and can also be used in home remedies for bladder infections.
Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain
Arthritis victims often experience joint pain, usually in the hands, knees, hips, and spine.
Nettle works alongside nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to allow patients to lessen their NSAID use. Because lengthy use of NSAIDs can cause a number of serious side effects, this is an ideal pairing.
Researchers have also shown that applying nettle leaf topically at the site of pain decreases joint pain and can treat arthritis. Nettle can also offer relief when taken orally.
Another research published in the Journal of Rheumatology shows that stinging nettle’s anti-inflammatory strength works against other autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
Histamine production in the body creates the adverse reactions related to allergies and Allergies leads to uncomfortable congestion, sneezing, itching and more.
Stinging nettle’s anti-inflammatory properties affect a number of key receptors and enzymes in allergic reactions, averting hay fever symptoms if taken when they first appear.
The leaves of the plant are rich in histamine, which may seem counterproductive in allergy treatment, but there is the history of using histamines to treat severe allergic reactions.
There is also proof that in severe reactions, low plasma histamine levels (as opposed to high levels) are present.
Another global research from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine found that stinging nettle use for allergy relief was ranked higher than placebos in a 98-person, randomized, double-blind study.
You can also purchase nettle tea at the store, but it’s preferable and more active to make it fresh, it at least helps keep it out of the garden