Stinging Nettle

Have you ever heard of “stinging nettle?” Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a plant that holds a variety of benefits to health and well-being. It is most often seen in teas, but can be in tablet form or even in plant form. The plant has heart shaped leaves with yellow and pink flowers. Tiny hairs cover the stems. These hairs contain chemical that irritate that skin and cause pain and swelling. Interestingly enough, if the area on the body is already painful, stinging nettle can alleviate the pain.

Stinging nettle has been used to treat a variety of aliments such as stomach ulcers, muscle and join pain (including arthritis and gout), urinary complaints and allergies. Some studies show that simply applying the leaves to the painful area will alleviate the pain by bringing down the inflammation. Stinging nettle can also help to stop or decrease bleeding.
Stinging nettle reduces seasonal allergies and hay fever by inhibiting the histamine. Doctors have recommended that the herb be taken before the allergy season starts.

Stinging nettle can be consumed in teas, and tablets, or in cooked forms. The oils and/or extracts can also be applied to the skin. When the leaves are cooked dried or soaked in water the stinging property is removed. When you first start experimenting with stinging nettle products start off with small doses. Larger doses can be irritating, and you may discover that you are allergic to this plant. Cooked stinging nettle tastes like a mix between spinach and cucumber (hmm, not too sure that sounds pleasant). Stinging nettle also contains vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and protein. Sounds like an ingredient for a morning smoothie or a workout shake.

Stinging nettle can interfere with blood thinner medication because it contains a fair amount of vitamin K. This plant can also interfere with diabetic medication. If you are taking any medicines talk to your doctor before experimenting with stinging nettle. Taking stinging nettle (tablet form) with food is a good idea so as to have a lower risk of irritation. The cooked leaf can be added to salads, stews, soups, or shakes and smoothies.

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