Stinging nettle, or urtica dioica,
is a perennial flowering plant that has been used medicinally for ages, dating
back as far as Ancient Greece. Today, it can be found all over the
world, but its origins are in the colder regions of Europe and Asia. The plant
usually grows between two to four feet high and blooms from June to September.
It grows best in nitrogen-rich soil, has heart-shaped leaves, and produces
yellow or pink flowers.
While best known for the stinging reaction that
occurs when the skin comes into contact with the fine stinging hairs (also
known as trichomes) located on its leaves and stems, when processed and
used medicinally, stinging nettle has a number of helpful health benefits,
according to the Department of Dermatology at the Penn State University College
of Medicine. (1)
Most stinging nettle
products are made from the stem and leaves, but the roots also have pharmacological
qualities. The herb has anti-inflammatory
qualities that can affect
treatment of many health issues. (2)
The aboveground parts have typically aided in allergy relief and other
breathing-related problems. The roots are able to provide relief for urinary
disorders and enlarged prostate as well.