NETTLE (Urtica spp.)

Family: Urticaceae

Parts commonly used: Leaf, root, and seed.

Properties/energetics: Mild diuretic, tonic (root). Nutritive, tonic, alterative, anti-inflammatory, mild astringent, expectorant, mild diuretic, antiallergenic (leaf). Nutritive tonic (seed)/Cool, dry; slightly sweet, salty, astringent.

Systems predominantly affected:  Genitourinary, respiratory, musculoskeletal, blood, skin.
Uses: Nettle is rich in nutrients having a wide range of uses for the human body. It is a tonic for alleviating chronic low-grade inflammation in joints. The leaf is abundant in alkalinizing minerals that help eliminate acid-waste product buildup in tissues, thereby being a good preventive for rheumatism, osteoarthritis, gout, and other problems often associated with a heavy protein diet. Nettle leaf works as a diuretic and is astringent to most mucous membranes. This, conjoined with its high mineral, vitamin K, and iron content, makes it an effective remedy to check excessive discharge and bleeding and a good iron support for women, especially during pregnancy. In line with this quality, Nettle leaf is a useful tonic for nourishing the skin; it’s effective for treatment of a wide variety of skin eruptions and all varieties of adult and infant eczema, especially nervous eczema. Nettle seed is high in essential fatty acids, making it a good tonic for nourishing thin people who experience chronic illness. The root of this plant is used primarily as a preventive prostate tonic and for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Nettle leaf provides expectorant and antispasmodic actions for treating lung mucus conditions, giving safe relief for asthma. Fresh Nettle leaf, freeze dried to retain and preserve its formic acid content, has a specific action of working against sinus infection and the allergic response of hay fever.

Combinations: Combines with Burdock and Dandelion for treating eczema. Nettle root combines well with Saw Palmetto as a prostate and urinary tract tonic and for treating benign prostate enlargement. Used for children and infants as a tonic or following an illness, Nettle leaf combines with Red Clover and Cleavers for a gentle alterative to help them return to normal function. Take Nettle leaf tea with molasses to treat anemia.

Affects on specific body types: Nettle is a gentle remedy that can assist just about anybody, but it seems particularly useful for the Warrior constitution that tends to be too acid by nature, or for those who tend to eat too much meat. In these individuals, Nettles will clear out waste products, strengthen the mucosa of the urinary, digestive, and respiratory systems, protect against any minor hemorrhages in these areas, and prevent uric acid buildup in the joints.

Preparations/dosage: Harvest the leaf in spring and early summer, before seeds appear. Infusion: 1 cup three times a day. Tincture: 15 to 50 drops three times a day. Nettle seeds are abundant and easy to harvest in summer and fall. Use them as added condiments to foods.

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal, 2nd Edition