COMMON NAME : Stinging nettle

FAMILY :                Urticaceae  (Stinging nettle family)

Dioecious – it has male plants and female plants. Found on damp and nutrient-rich soils.

PARTS USED :  Aerial parts and root


Use in cloth manufacture can be traced back to the Bronze Age. Fibre resembles hemp and flax. Used to

make ropes, sail cloth, sacking and twine for nets. Used to make army clothing in World War I. Cooked leaves can be eaten as a vegetable; similar to spinach.

Ancient Romans and gypsies used nettles as a counter-irritant to reduce inflammation. They treated painful joints and muscles by flogging with nettles. Also used as an internal and external astringent to treat bleeding. Root used as a conditioner for falling hair and dandruff. Disliked by flies, a fresh bunch keeps them out of the larder. As a companion plant it helps neighbouring plants to grow more resistant to disease. It also increases the content of essential oils in herbs. Fodder plant. Nitrogen soil enricher. Can be used to make a green dye as it is rich in chlorophyll. Decoction protects plants against aphids and fungi. Traditional spring tonic. Powdered leaf taken as snuff stops nose bleeds

Modern use is as a blood cleanser and to strengthen the blood. Treats chronic disease of the mucous

membranes of the bronchi, bowels and urinary organs, respiratory infections, allergies and hay fever. Chronic

skin problems, especially allergic reactions eg urticaria, eczema. Spring tonic and general detoxifying remedy.

Good restorative due to its high nutrient content eg anaemia, since it stimulates assimilation of iron. Root used

to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH).


·        Tannins – astringent and stops bleeding.

·        Vitamins and minerals

·        Flavonoids and lignans

·        Phytosterols in the root including beta-sitosterol

The sterols and lignans in the root are believed to contribute to its action in relieving the symptoms of BPH.

Nettle root inhibits binding of dihydrotestosterone to prostate membrane attachment sites.