Nettle root is a herbal supplement taken from the roots of the nettle plant, stinging plant that is also known as Urtica Doica. The root of the stinging plant has long been used for medicinal purposes. Historically, it was used to eliminate excess water from the body, and for treatment of joint pains.
At present, the plant’s root is used for a wide variety of ailments. It is, however, most commonly ingested to relieve enlarged prostate gland symptoms.
Why the Roots and not the Leaves and Stems
The root is more widely used for herbal medicine than the plant’s leaves and stem. For one, it is the most potent part of the nettle. It is commercially available in the form of tea, tablet, capsule, tincture, or extract. The root of can also be applied topically in the form of cream.
Most Common Uses
The herbal medicine is most commonly used for the treatment of benign cases of prostatic hyperplasia or enlarged prostate as it is more popularly known. Nettle root can provide relief for all the symptoms of the disorder, in particular when taken in conjunction with other herbs like saw palmetto.
Based on a study conducted by Univ. of Maryland Medical Center, the root can also help lower the urge to frequently urinate, and decrease the volume of urine as well as post-urination dripping. However, unlike other medicines used for the condition, it does not help reduce the prostate’s size, but only offers symptom relief. In 2013, Iran’s Red Crescent Medical Journal released a publication that showed the root’s role in significantly treating enlarged prostate symptoms in adult men.
The root of the nettle plant is also said to be effective for urinary tract infection, and for muscle and joint pains. The nettle leaf, on the other hand can be used for allergies, hay fever, and osteoarthritis. According to a 2013 Phytomedicine issue, the stinging plant, as an oil based extract solution, can help lessen inflammation.
For food preparations, like when cooking soups, the leaves are used as ingredients and not the root.
In general, the nettle plant is safe for consumption. However, some minor side effects may be experienced in some cases. These include sweating, upset stomach, water retention, and diarrhea.
Aside from the possible minor side effects that may be experienced from using the herb, either as food or as a supplement, more serious symptoms may happen when taken with other drugs. If a person is under medication for hypertension or is taking blood thinners, using the stinging plant may affect the clotting ability of the blood and potentially lower your BP, respectively enhancing and reducing the potency of the medicines.
The herbal medicine may also intensify the effects of diuretics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, and drugs for diabetes. It may also make it more difficult for the body to eliminate lithium because of its diuretic effects. Finally, nettle can alter a woman’s menstrual cycle, possibly resulting to miscarriage. It is therefore not recommended for use by pregnant women.