2.23.2013

Got Allergies? Meet Your New Best Friend - Nettle

Spring is on the horizon. And so are those Seasonal Allergies.

If you don't already know about nettle, allow me to introduce you to your new best friend.

Also known as stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), this herbal remedy helps stifle the inflammation that occurs when you're experiencing allergy symptoms. Stinging nettle contains histamine - that pesky chemical your body produces during an allergic reaction - helping you acquire tolerance.


Integrating nettle in your routine now, may lessen your dependence on allergy medications this Spring. Symptom relief without the drowsiness and those other unwanted side-effects.

Nettle tea can fight coughs and tuberculosis and is also used to loosen congestion and open the bronchial airways in people with asthma and hay fever.

In addition to its allergy-fighting abilities, nettle has long been used to treat a number of other health problems, including:
  • muscle/joint pain 
  • eczema 
  • arthritis 
  • gout 
  • urinary tract infections 
  • tendonitis 
  • insect bites
  • scalp and hair health

Think of nettle as a Spring tonic.

They are high in anti-inflammatory flavonoids (antioxidants), and contain small amounts of plant sterols. Nettles are extremely rich in vital nutrients - including vitamin D (which is rare in plants), vitamins C and A; and minerals - including iron, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Nettle is high in iron making it excellent for combating anemia and fatigue. It supports the liver and the female hormonal system. 

Nettle root is known for its ability to relieve symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), a condition in which the prostate becomes enlarged and causes men to develop problems with urination.

It has a supportive effect on the immune system, the urinary tract, nervous system, respiratory tract, digestive system and the endocrine system. One study suggests that topically applied, nettle may help ease osteoarthritis pain with its potent inflammatory properties.

Dr. Andrew Weil recommends freeze-dried extracts of stinging nettles (urtica dioca). And says that "There are no safety concerns about the use of stinging nettles during pregnancy or nursing." 

The easiest way to consume nettle is through an herbal infusion or tea. Here is a simple recipe that you can drink over the next couple of weeks to prepare you for Spring.


Spring Tea
1 part nettle leaf
1 part dandelion leaf
1/2 mint
1/2 part roses




Before consuming any herbal substance, consult your healthcare practitioner to determine if there are any potential risks of drug/herb interactions. Especially if you're currently taking antiplatelets, anticoagulants, blood pressure medicine, diuretics, diabetes medication, and/or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. 

Although nettle is generally considered safe, it may trigger side effects such as stomach upset, skin irritation, sweating, and skin rash. Long-term use of the herb is not recommended, since it can deplete your potassium stores.

Check out my other article Spring Cleaning: The Liver and Chinese Medicine to learn how to stay healthy this Spring. 

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