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Nettle

Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:

Urtica dioica, California nettle, common nettle, slender nettle, stinging nettle, tall nettle

Introduction

Nettle is a plant best known for the sting of its leaves. The root has been used to improve urine flow, ease swelling in the joints, and aid blood glucose control. It can be applied as a cream, salve, or oil. Nettle can also be made into a tea or taken as a pill, powder, or extract.

Dosages

300 milligrams 1 to 2 times daily

What Research Shows

May Be Effective

  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia —may help with urine flow A1-A3
  • Diabetes—may improve blood glucose control C1, C2
  • Inflammation of the knee —may improve physical and mental quality of life when taken with rosehip and devil’s claw D1
  • Urinary tract infection —may lower the number of infections G1

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Chronic knee pain B1
  • Osteoarthritis E1
  • Seasonal allergies F1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe for most adults to apply nettle products to the skin and to take nettle orally in small doses for a short time, but stinging skin is possible. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take nettle by mouth.

Interactions

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse such as:

  • People taking blood thinners should talk to their doctors before taking nettle. It may interact with the medicine.
 

References

A. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

A1. Schneider T, Rübben H. [Stinging nettle root extract (Bazoton-uno) in long term treatment of benign prostatic syndrome (BPS). Results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled multicenter trial after 12 months]. Urologe. 2004;43(3):302-306.

A2. Safarinejad MR. Urtica dioica for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. J Herb Pharmacother. 2005;5(4):1-11.

A3. Lopatkin N, Sivkov A, et al. Efficacy and safety of a combination of Sabal and Urtica extract in lower urinary tract symptoms--long-term follow-up of a placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter trial. Int Urol Nephrol. 2007;39(4):1137-1146.

B. Chronic Knee Pain

B1. Randall C, Dickens A, et al. Nettle sting for chronic knee pain: a randomised controlled pilot study. Complement Ther Med. 2008 Apr;16(2):66-72.

C. Diabetes

C1. Namazi N, Esfanjani AT, et al. The effect of hydro alcoholic Nettle (Urtica dioica) extracts on insulin sensitivity and some inflammatory indicators in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized double-blind control trial. Pak J Biol Sci. 2011 Aug 1;14(15):775-779.

C2. Kianbakht S, Khalighi-Sigaroodi F, et al. Improved glycemic control in patients with advanced type 2 diabetes mellitus taking Urtica dioica leaf extract: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Clin Lab. 2013;59(9-10):1071-1076.

D. Inflammation of the Knee

D1. Moré M, Gruenwald J, et al. A Rosa canina - Urtica dioica - Harpagophytum procumbens/zeyheri Combination Significantly Reduces Gonarthritis Symptoms in a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Double-Blind Study. Planta Med. 2017 Dec;83(18):1384-1391.

E. Osteoarthritis

E1. Cameron M, Chrubasik S. Topical herbal therapies for treating osteoarthritis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 May 31;(5):CD010538.

F. Seasonal Allergies

F1. Mittman P. Randomized double-blind study of freeze-dried Urtica dioica in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Planta Med. 1990;56(1):44-47.

G. Urinary Tract Infection

G1. Pavone C, Abbadessa D, et al. [Associating Serenoa repens, Urtica dioica, and Pinus pinaster. Safety and efficacy in the treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms. Prospective study on 320 patients]. Urologia. 2010;77(1):43-51.

Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 6/29/2020