In the vast garden of natural remedies, an often overlooked, unloved, but incredibly powerful plant stands out: nettle.
Despite its sting, nettlealso known by its scientific name "Urtica dioicais a perennial herb with exceptional virtues for health and well-being. From soothing herbal teas to energizing decoctions, nettle offers a wide range of surprising benefits!
In this article, we introduce you to the many facets of this extraordinary plant, from its beneficial effects on joint pain and high blood pressure to its hair-revitalizing properties!
Stinging nettle: Introducing this plant with unsuspected virtues
Stinging nettleknown by its scientific name "Urtica dioicabelongs to the familyUrticaceae. This plant is native to Europe, Asia and parts of North America. It can be found in a variety of habitats, from meadows to woodlands and riverbanks, where it is considered a weed.
Nettle is a herbaceous perennialreaching heights of around 1 to 2 meters. It is distinguished by its toothed, slightly pointed leavesarranged in opposite pairs along the stems. These leaves are covered with stinging hairs that release a irritating substance on contact with the skin. These hairs are actually special stinging cells called "trichomes.
In the context of phytotherapy and the use of nettles for medicinal purposes, several parts of the plant are exploited for their benefits:
- The aerial partsi.e. the leaves and flowering tops, are the most commonly used.
- The nettle roots are also sometimes harvested and dried for their therapeutic potential.
When harvesting nettlesit is important to take precautions to avoid being stung by the tiny stinging hairs. Wear thick gloves is recommended for handling leaves and stems. Once dried or prepared, nettles lose their stinging effect and can be used safely.
Nettles: 2 main species
There are several types and species of nettle belonging to the "Urtica" genus. Two main species of nettle are commonly encountered:
Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)
This is the more widespread and well-known of the two nettle species. It is also known as "stinging nettle. This variety is the most commonly used for medicinal and culinary purposes. It has stinging hairs on its leaves and stems, which can cause skin irritation to the touch.
Burning nettle (Urtica urens)
Also known as "stinging nettlethis variety is smaller than stinging nettle. It generally grows to a height of 15 to 60 centimetres (compared with 1 to 2 metres for stinging nettle). Its leaves are also smaller and thinner than those of stinging nettle. Stinging nettle takes its name from the burning sensation its stinging hairs cause on contact with the skin. This species is less commonly used for medicinal purposes, but shares some of the beneficial properties of stinging nettle.
Nettle, benefits and drawbacks
In the following section, we present the many health and well-being benefits of nettle.
Nettle and rheumatism: nettle to relieve joint pain
Several scientific studies have been carried out to evaluate the effect of nettle leaves applied externally on people suffering from joint painincluding chronic rheumatism such as arthritis .
Based on the results of a preliminary exploratory study involving 18 patients (patients suffering from joint pain who reported being cured of their ailments after using nettle as a treatment) , a randomized trial conducted on 27 patients with persistent wrist joint pain .
Wrist pain was relieved in most patients after one week's daily application of Stinging Nettle leaf. These results were compared with those obtained with an application of a leaf of White Dead Nettle (or false nettle, because of its similarity) on another group of patients (placebo group).
This study showed a statistically significant reduction in joint pain and disability with nettle-based treatment.
There was also a significant improvement in sleep (reported by patients), a reduction in analgesic intake and anti-inflammatories.
According to the author of the study, the analgesic effect of the stinging hair is probably due to a "thermal hyperstimulation analgesia".. In other words, stinging nettle hair causes prolonged hot tingling hyperstimulation, lasting more than 24 hours after application, which helps reduce joint pain.
Another randomized study demonstrated that the administration of nettle leaves could enhance the efficacy of certain anti-inflammatory drugs commonly used in patients with rheumatic diseases to help relieve chronic joint pain.
Today, research explains nettle's analgesic effect on joint pain by 5 main mechanisms of action:
- Anti-inflammatory properties : Thanks to certain bioactive compounds with anti-inflammatory properties, notably polyphenols and flavonoids, nettles can help reduce inflammation in the joints, which in turn can help alleviate some joint pain.
- Improved circulation: Nettle is known to stimulate blood circulation. Improved circulation promotes the delivery of oxygen and essential nutrients to joint tissues, helping to reduce pain and support joint health.
- Antioxidant effects: Antioxidants in nettle leaves help neutralize free radicals, harmful substances that can contribute to inflammation and joint damage. By reducing levels of oxidative stress (free radicals), nettle can help protect joints.
- Immune support : Nettle is said to have the ability to strengthen the immune system, which is particularly important in the case of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. By helping to regulate the immune response, nettle can help reduce joint inflammation.
- Nutritional value : Nettle leaves are a rich source of vitamins (notably vitamin C) and minerals such as zinc, magnesium, calcium and iron. These nutrients are important for joint and connective tissue health.
To reap the benefits of nettle for joint pain, many patients regularly consume this plant in the form ofinfusion (nettle tea), from capsulesof food supplements or use it directly on painful joints in the form of products topical (nettle-based creams).
Nettle and prostate: what are the benefits of nettle on the symptoms of BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia)?
Nettle has also been studied for its beneficial effects on the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)a common condition among older men.
This condition is characterized by enlargement of the prostate glandwhich can lead to urinary problems such as frequent urination and low urinary stream force.
According to research, using nettle can help reduce BPH symptoms naturally.
Here's how nettle can help:
- Fighting inflammation : Nettle contains anti-inflammatory compounds that can help reduce prostate inflammation, which in turn can improve BPH symptoms.
- Diuretic effect: It has diuretic properties, meaning it helps eliminate excess fluid from the body. This can relieve the pressure exerted on the bladder by an enlarged prostate and reduce BPH symptoms.
- Reducing obstruction: Regular use of nettle may help reduce urethral obstruction caused by an enlarged prostate, which can improve urinary flow.
- Hormonal support: Nettle is believed to influence hormone levels involved in prostate growth. By regulating these hormones, nettle may help reduce excessive prostate growth.
- Improved symptoms: Several clinical studies have shown that nettle can reduce BPH symptoms, such as frequent urination, difficulty urinating and the urge to urinate.
In all cases, it is essential to consult a health professional before starting a nettle-based treatment for a prostate problem, especially if you're already taking medication for BPH or have underlying health concerns, as nettle can interact with certain medications and alter their effectiveness.
Nettle and allergies: herbal nettle tea to alleviate allergic symptoms
Stinging nettle leaves can be used to alleviate seasonal allergies. Their antihistaminic properties and antiinflammatory can help relieve allergy-related symptoms such as sneezing, itching and runny nose.
Eat nettle leaves as an herbal teacapsules or extract can help to modulate the allergic response by reducing histamine release in the bodythus helping to relieve allergy problems (seasonal allergies, etc.).
Nettle and hair: discover the benefits of nettle for hair health (hair loss)
Nettle leaves are also renowned for their hair health benefits. Their richness in nutrients and their effects on the scalp make them a popular natural remedy for improving hair quality and health .
Here's how nettle can contribute to healthy hair:
- Hair strengthening : Nettle is rich in vitamins (including vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K) as well as minerals essential for hair growth, such as iron, zinc and silicon (silica).
- Stimulates circulation: Topical application of nettle extract stimulates blood circulation in the scalp, enhancing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to hair follicles.
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Nettle can help reduce inflammation of the scalp, which can be linked to hair loss. By reducing inflammation, nettle can potentially slow hair loss.
- Dandruff prevention: Thanks to its antifungal properties, nettle can help prevent dandruff and maintain a healthy scalp.
- Support for oily hair: Nettle can regulate excessive sebum production, helping to combat greasy hair.
In general, regular use of nettle of nettle can improve textureand shinethe softness and hair strengthgiving hair a healthier, well-groomed appearance. It also helps combat certain common problems, such as hair losshair dandruff and excess oil.
You can use nettle in a variety of ways to treat your hair: by infusion to strengthen hair from the inside out topical application in the form of oils or lotions to stimulate growth, or even by adding nettle extracts to hair care products.
It is recommended to do a skin test before applying any nettle product to your scalp to avoid any possible allergic reactions.
Nettle and hypertension: nettle infusion to improve blood pressure
Nettle is also thought to play a role in the management of high blood pressure due to its diuretic properties, anti-inflammatory and vasodilators :
- Diuretic effect : Nettle promotes the elimination of excess sodium and water from the body, helping to lower blood pressure by reducing the load on blood vessels .
- Vasodilator effect: Nettle can have a vasodilator effect (it opens blood vessels), which promotes smoother blood circulation and reduced blood pressure.
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Thanks to its anti-inflammatory compounds, nettle helps to reduce inflammation of blood vessels, improving their functionality and helping to maintain normal blood pressure .
- Nutrient intake: Nettle is naturally rich in vitamin C, potassium and magnesium, elements that play a role in regulating blood pressure .
- Stress reduction: Thanks to its soothing effects on the nervous system, taking nettle can indirectly help manage blood pressure by reducing stress (bearing in mind that stress is one of the main risk factors for high blood pressure).
Although nettle may offer potential benefits for the management of hypertensionit is important to consult a healthcare professional before using it. It is a serious condition that requires monitoring monitoring and personalized management.
Kidneys, skin, lipid metabolism, vitamins, immune system... More nettle virtues!
Here are some other lesser-known virtues of nettle
- Kidneys : Known for its diuretic effect, nettle can help increase urine production and eliminate toxins from the body. This helps prevent kidney stones by preventing the accumulation of minerals and waste products in the kidneys and urinary tract .
- Skin: Nettle's anti-inflammatory and soothing properties make it a natural remedy for relieving skin irritations such as itching, rashes and insect bites .
- Cholesterol: Nettle's bioactive compounds may help modulate blood lipid levels by influencing their absorption and metabolism. By helping to maintain balanced cholesterol levels, nettle may play a role in promoting cardiovascular health .
- Immune system : Nettle is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidant compounds that can support the immune system. A good nettle cure before winter is ideal for preparing the body's natural defences to fight off various winter infections .
- Digestive system: lnettle tea and dietary supplements can help regulate digestion and combat digestive disorders. Ghanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, which combat harmful bacteria in the digestive system, nettle helps rebalance intestinal flora, thus regulating digestion.
Thanks to its many virtues, nettle is a highly beneficial plant for health and well-being. Its anti-inflammatory properties, diuretic, antioxidant and nutrients make it a valuable ally for people suffering from a variety of conditions.
According to numerous scientific studies, the use of nettle stinging nettle allows :
- Alleviate symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
- relieve joint and rheumatic pain
- Alleviate seasonal allergies
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve hair health
- Help prevent kidney stones
- regulate lipid metabolism
- Strengthen the immune system
Thanks to nettle and its natural character, many patients suffering from various pathologies (joint pain, prostate problems...) can avoid certain undesirable side effects often associated with drug treatments.
Choose a natural nettle-based treatment can be particularly interesting in specific situations where a holistic approach is desired.
Of course, the use of nettle for medicinal purposes must be undertaken with care and under the supervision of a health professional.
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