With a long tradition of medicinal use, nettle root was historically used to treat joint pain and help the body rid itself of excess water. Today, nettle root is used to treat a range of conditions but is most commonly associated with relieving the symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland.

The benefits of nettle root are unsubstantiated but may be useful in relieving symptoms associated with enlarged prostate. The above ground portions of the plant are also a tasty forage food. Harvesting nettle root requires finesses and caution, as the stems and leaves are covered with fine hairs that deliver a histamine jab, resulting in a painful rash and sometimes blisters. The effects decline over a short period but can be excruciating at first contact. Some tips and tricks on how to harvest stinging nettle roots without getting bitten by the stingers can help keep you safe as you collect this potentially troublesome, yet beneficial, plant.

Nettle root is more commonly used than either the stems or leaves of the nettle plant, and it appears to have different medicinal properties. It can be consumed as an extract, as a capsule, tablet, tea or tincture. In some cases, nettle root can also be used topically as a cream. Nettle root can be purchased in pill form in certain supermarkets and in a wider range of preparations in health food stores.

Preparation / Dosage

Put a teaspoon of nettle root into a 200ml cup of boiled water. Cover it and let it brew for 10 minutes. Strain and drink a cup three times per day.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Most commonly used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia, also known as an enlarged prostate, nettle root may provide relief from symptoms of this condition, particularly when taken in tandem with other medicinal herbs, such as saw palmetto. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, nettle root can help reduce the urge to urinate constantly, as well as reduce the amount of urine and dripping post-urination. But nettle root does not, unlike other medications, reduce the size of the prostate; it only provides some relief from the symptoms. A 2013 publication of the "Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal" concluded that nettle significantly relieved the symptoms of enlarged prostate in adult men.

Other Uses

Nettle root is sometimes used to treat urinary tract infections and also to treat pain in the muscles and joints. Nettle leaf is most commonly used to treat osteoarthritis, allergies and hay fever, however. A 2013 issue of "Phytomedicine" found that stinging nettle, including the root, when extracted into an oil-based solution, helped reduce inflammation. Great potential for treating arthritis was indicated, but further study is still required. When the plant is consumed as a food, such as in the case of soups, nettle leaf is eaten rather than the root. Nettle is generally considered safe to consume, but certain side effects may occur, such as water retention, sweating, diarrhea and an upset stomach.


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