The Endless Health Benefits of Nettles Supplements

Image of fresh nettles leaves and nettles in a wooden bowel with wording the powerful benefits of nettles by The Healthy RD
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One of the healthiest foods on the planet is nettles. Yet many people don’t know about it and have never tried it. However, the medicinal benefits of the nettle plant are seemingly endless. 

Eaten as a vegetable in some countries, nettles are undervalued and underused in Western cultures. But many places in the world, including Nepal and all over Asia, readily eat and use this plant as a steady source of nutrition and medicine.

This post is aimed at helping you to learn about the health benefits of nettles and how to use them. 

Why are Nettles so Healthy?

As a medicinal food that naturally grows all over the world, nettles contain tiny needle-like hairs, or trichomes, that can cause temporary stinging. Thus the name stinging nettle is a common way of referring to this plant.

Once this plant is cooked or boiled the “sting” is deactivated. This temporary “sting” is thought to be part of how nettles ultimately decrease pain.

Rich in antioxidants like carotenoids, chlorophyll, and polyphenols, this nutritious plant also contains a significant amount of minerals like calcium and iron. 

It also has healing compounds, including terpenes, quercetin, apigenin, luteolin, and rutin. 

Not only that, nettles have antimicrobial activity, antihistamine benefits, anti-inflammatory benefits, and pain relieving properties among many other benefits.

We will dive into these benefits further. 

Nettles are Nutritious

When eaten as a vegetable, nettles are a major source of nutrition for many cultures in the world.  

Nettles root and leaves are good sources of the following nutrients:

Nutrients per 100 g% Daily Value
Potassium 334 mg9%
Iron 1.6 mg9%
Magnesium 57 mg14%
Manganese 0.8 mg34%
Calcium 481 mg37%
Fiber 7 g24%
Protein 2.4 g
Provitamin A (carotenoids) 2011 IU

Nettles are Anti-Inflammatory

Beyond the nutrients that nettles have, the natural anti-inflammatory compounds it contains may reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. 

Nettles reduce the production of inflammatory compounds including: 

  • COX-1
  • COX-2
  • NF-kB
  • Platelet activating factor
  • IL-1
  • IL-2
  • Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)

By reducing inflammation, nettles are helpful in so many ways. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of nettles throughout the whole body.

Nettles Reduce Pain Naturally

Because of the anti-inflammatory effects of nettles, they are used in treatment of acute inflammatory conditions and chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. It also likely helps reduce osteoarthritis pain as well.  

Even better, one study showed that using nettles supplements decreased the need for pain medications in people with osteoarthritis. 

The antioxidants in nettles like rutin, quercetin, and terpenes also decrease inflammation in the body. 

Nettles Help Allergy Symptoms

Long used to reduce allergy symptoms, nettles help to reduce histamine levels in the body by reducing inflammation, stabilizing mast cells which release histamine, and reducing histamine production. 

In fact, one clinical study showed that nettles reduced allergy symptoms and even reduced the allergic eosinophil immune cell counts in the nasal cavities of people with allergy symptoms. 

Nettles are one of the best supplements for allergies to use to reduce seasonal allergies and many reviews demonstrate a significant reduction in overall allergy symptoms when using nettles supplements. 

Using nettles supplements helps people ditch conventional antihistamines which have a lot of long-term side effects, including me.

Nettles Support Healthy Immune Function

Not surprisingly, nettles are also good for immune health. This is because it is nutritious and also reduces viral replication and viral attachment to cells. 

The seeds of nettles also have strong antibacterial activity

Historically, people used nettles to reduce the risk of infections, especially urinary tract infections. 

Early research shows that nettles increase immune function and immune cell activity. 

Nettles Reduce Blood Pressure

As a natural diuretic, nettles help to reduce blood pressure levels. 

It also does so by increasing nitric oxide levels according to some research. This compound helps relax the blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. 

More nettles means better blood pressure-higher doses work more effectively at bringing both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure levels down. 

Nettles Helps People With Diabetes

Rich in antioxidants and nutrients, it is no surprise that nettles is a healthy plant for people with diabetes. Some people notice improvements in glucose control when using nettles leaf. 

Research shows that in people with Type 2 diabetes, using nettles supplements 3 times daily 500 mg each improves both post meal glucose and hemoglobin A1C without any negative side effects. 

A review of 8 clinical trials concluded that nettles reduce fasting blood glucose levels

Nettles Help the Urinary Tract

Not only does nettles improve blood pressure, it helps with urinary tract health in both men and women. It may do so by helping to clear toxins and fight harmful bacteria in the urinary tract. Traditional uses of nettles include women’s and men’s urinary health. 

Using nettles may also reduce the chances of getting kidney stones too. 

Nettles Help Promote a Healthy Prostate

Nettles reduce the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) according to a double-blind clinical study.  

Other research also demonstrates a benefit of nettles on prostate symptom relief. Using nettles even increases urinary flow rate in men with BPH.

Importantly, research shows that using nettles extract is safe and effective long term for lower urinary tract symptoms in men. 

When combined with saw palmetto, nettles is as effective as conventional treatment for these BPH symptoms like nighttime urination including tamsulosin and finasteride. 

Last but not least, nettles may help reduce the growth of prostate cancer cells, but more research is needed. 

Nettles Reduces Colitis Symptoms

A number of research studies now show that nettles herbal supplements help improve gut health and reduce the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease including ulcerative colitis. 

In a double-blind placebo controlled trial, nettles supplements reduced symptoms of ulcerative colitis, reduced inflammation markers, and improved quality of life in people suffering from this condition. 

Several animal studies also demonstrate that nettles reduce the inflammation that occurs in colitis. 

Nettles Reduces Bloating

Long used for a diuretic effect, nettles also have a natriuretic effect, meaning that it may help with heart and kidney function. 

Its actions are  similar to prescription diuretics like lasix according to one animal study. 

By increasing urine output, nettles may reduce symptoms of bloating during the premenstrual period for women. 

Nettles Helps Reduce Menopause Symptoms

Importantly, nettles also reduce hot flashes effectively in women after menopause. This is important because hot flashes are not only uncomfortable, they are a risk factor for heart disease in women. 

One study even found that using topical nettles cream helped improve menopause symptoms by reducing vaginal atrophy and vaginal dryness. 

Traditional use of nettles also suggests that this herb can help with reducing excess menstrual bleeding.

Nettles for Skin Healing

Topical nettles cream helps heal skin burn wounds better than the use of silver sulfadiazine or vaseline. 

How to Use Nettles

Nettles leaf and nettles root are available as supplements in capsule form or in tincture form. 

Another popular way to use nettles is to drink nettles tea or to use nettles as a vegetable in soups and stews. 

Typical doses for nettles supplements are between 600-1500 mg per day. 

When to Avoid Nettles

If you have allergic reactions to nettles supplements, you should avoid using this herb. 

Don’t use nettles if you are pregnant. 

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