Nettle, stinging nettle, nettle leaf are all part of the same plant species and a member of the mint family. Nettle grows all over the world, and the history of stinging nettles is vast and compelling. In Denmark, burial shrouds dating back to 2-3000BC have been found to be made of nettle fabrics and reports have been found in Ancient Egypt showing the benefits of nettle for arthritis and lower back pains. Here are 3 key benefits of stinging nettle.
Remains of nettle cloth burial shroud found in Denmark [Credit: National Museum of Denmark]
1. It’s nutrient dense
The fresh leaves contain high concentrations of vitamins A, C, D, E, F, K and P, as well as other vitamin B-complexes. It’s very rare for plants to have vitamin D, or vitamin K2. Its vitamin A content is impressive, containing nearly 3 times your daily requirement in a single cup. Additionally, The leaves are also known to contain particularly large amounts of the minerals like selenium, zinc, iron and magnesium.
The benefits of these nutrients are vast, for example iron, vitamin C and chlorophyll, help iron-deficiency anaemia. Therefore it’s considered an excellent nutritive herb for heavy menstrual bleeding.
2. Helps improve the immune system and inflammation response
The nutrients in stinging nettle can help support the immune system and inflammation, especially in the cases of allergies, such as hay fever. In one study hay fever patients noted a significant benefit when using nettle versus a placebo. In another study, this time with osteoarthritis patients, it was found that there was less pain when using nettle topically compared with using the placebo.
3. Skin & Hair
Because of its nourishing, diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties, nettle tea is a natural beautifier to skin and hair. It has been shown to clear acne and eczema as well as encourage thicker, shinier hair and promote new hair growth. One of the ways it does this is through its potential benefits on circulation as by improving scalp blood circulation it helps the hair.