The most common stinging nettle benefits include anti-inflammatory effects, antihistamine effects, and effects on benign prostatic hyperplasia. Traditionally, stinging nettle has been used to treat hay fever, reduce sneezing, and treat arthritis. In addition, stinging nettle has been shown to relieve constipation and gout. Stinging nettle, also known as urtica dioica, has been used for years as a diuretic, which is a substance that can relieve the body of excess fluid. Typically, diuretics are used in the treatment of high blood pressure and congestive heart failure to rid excess amounts of fluid from the body and around the heart.
The stinging nettle plant contains fine hairs that release chemicals when exposed to skin. Typically, these chemicals are very irritating, however, when they are exposed to painful areas on the body, the chemicals can decrease the pain. This might be related to anti-inflammatory properties of the stinging nettle, which thrives in nitrogen-rich soil all over the world. Stinging nettle benefits also include its ability to interfere with how the body transmits certain pain signals and the potential to lower blood pressure and blood sugar. Although stinging nettle benefits include reducing blood glucose levels, it should not be used by diabetics except under the close supervision of their healthcare providers.
Typically, one of the most important stinging nettle benefits is the way it reacts with the prostate gland. The condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) refers the enlargement of the prostate gland, which obstructs the flow of urine. Generally, this condition also causes incomplete bladder emptying, post urinary dripping, and a constant urge to urinate. Because of the stinging nettle benefits on benign prostatic hyperplasia, symptoms are reduced and in some cases, urinary flow is restored. Because stinging nettle cannot reduce the size of the prostate gland in the way that prescription prostate medications can, people should not use stinging nettle without consulting a physician.
Stinging nettle benefits also include the ability to relieve pain and inflammation from osteoarthritis. Sometimes, when stinging nettle is applied to the affected area, some people experience relief. Because of the strong anti-inflammatory benefits of stinging nettle and its ability to reduce histamine levels in the body, hay fever sufferers may also find relief from runny nose and reduction of sneezing. During hay fever season, drinking stinging nettle tea may reduce sneezing, watery eyes, and congestion, however, patients need to consult with their health care providers before beginning treatment with stinging nettle.