This flowering perennial can be found growing wild in the wastelands of the United States, Canada, and Europe. Nettles grow to a height of 30-50cm, and are covered in stinging hairs that cause skin irritation. The leaves are dark green, covered in hairs and sharply toothed.
Nettle flowers (which appear in summer) are tiny, green and hang in dense clusters (female) or flower spikes (male).
The herb and leaf have several known therapeutic qualities: They fight inflammation, act as an antihistamine, and have a diuretic effect. The herb has also been explored as a treatment for premenstrual bloating (fluid retention).
Nettle leaf extract is a Native American folk remedy for rheumatic pains, and arthritis sufferers may benefit from nettle's anti-inflammatory actions. Topical formulations of nettle herb juice have also been used to treat joint pain, as well as acne and other skin problems.
As nettle is rich in silica and other minerals important for nail growth, a cup of nettle leaf tea a day may help to nourish and strengthen nails.
Specifically, nettle leaf may help to;
Fight urinary tract infections - drinking nettle leaf tea has become popular in parts of Europe for treating bladder infections and other inflammations of the lower urinary tract. Nettle Leaf promotes the excretion of excess fluids (which helps flush out harmful bacteria)
Assist with general well-being - the herb has immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties
Reduce seasonal allergy (hay fever) symptoms - hay fever symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, itching and watery eyes are triggered by an immune-system overreaction to airborne particles (allergens) such as pollen and ragweed. Nettle leaf may help minimise hay fever discomforts by supplying compounds that inhibit the release of histamine, the inflammatory substance triggered by these allergens