As the name rightly suggests, the stinging nettle is a plant with numerous stinging hair on its leaves and stems. In case of direct contact with skin, these hair can cause a stinging sensation, along with itching. Such hair known as trichomes, act as needles, and inject a mixture of chemicals into the skin, causing this sensation. So, this plant is also known as burn weed, burn hazel, burn nettle, etc. Even though the plant has stinging hair, it has a very long history of use as a source of fiber, food, and medicine. It is said that the ancient Greeks, Romans, and the native tribal people of America, had used this herb for medicinal purposes. The therapeutic properties of the stinging nettle had been discussed by the famous ancient Greek Physician Hippocrates, in his writings. Even today, this herb is used for treating various ailments.
As mentioned above, nettle is one of those plants, that have been used through the centuries for culinary as well as medicinal purposes. Fiber is extracted from this plant, and is used for making fabric, fishing nets, sacks, and sailcloth. The roots and leaves of the stinging nettle are also used as a source of dye. As far as its medicinal properties are concerned, both the leaves and roots are highly valued. Various herbal preparations contain nettle extract as an ingredient.
- Nettle root extract is a popular herbal remedy for benign prostatic hyperplasia or prostate enlargement. It is said to be effective in treating this condition, and is also used in combination with other herbs, like saw palmetto.
- This herbal extract is said to increase the urinary flow in people with an enlarged prostate. It is also believed to be useful in preventing the cells from turning malignant.
- Nettle root extract is also used as an aphrodisiac, as it hinders the adherence of testosterone to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). Such binding affects the levels of free-flowing testosterone, thereby affecting the sexual health as well as the overall health.
- You might have heard about the use of nettle root extract for hair loss. It is claimed that the extract is useful for inhibiting conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is responsible for male pattern baldness.
- Another cause for hair loss is the action of the enzyme aromatase. This enzyme reacts with estrogen, thereby causing hair loss. The components of this extract inhibit the action of this enzyme, thereby arresting hair loss. It is also used in treating hay fever and arthritis.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert advice.