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erbal Medicine Materia Medica


© David L. Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH

Urtica dioica


Names: Stinging Nettle

Habitat: Everywhere!

Collection: The herb should be collected when the flowers are inbloom.

Part Used: Aerial parts.

Constituents: * Chlorophyll in high yields * Indoles such ashistamine and serotonin

* Acetylcholine * Vitamin C and other vitamins, protein anddietary fibre.

Actions: Astringent, diuretic, tonic, hypotensive.

Indications: Nettles are one of the most widely applicable plants wehave. They strengthen and support the whole body. Throughout Europe they areused as a spring tonic and general detoxifying remedy. In some cases of rheumatism and arthritis they can be astoundingly successful.They are a specific in cases of childhood eczema and beneficial in allthe varieties of this condition, especially in nervous eczema. As anastringent they may be used for nose bleeds or to relieve the symptomswherever there is haemorrhage in the body, for example in uterinehaemorrhage.

King's Dispensatory gives these specific indications and uses: "Chronicdiarrhoea and dysentary, with large mucous evacuations; profuse secretions ofgastric juice, with eructations and emesis; choleraic discharges; summer boweldiseases of children, with copious watery and mucous passages; chroniceczematous eruptions." Conditions that benefit from its use include: diarrhoea,dysentery, hemorrhoids, hemorrhages, febrile affections, gravel, nephriticcomplaints, chronic diseases of the colon, eczematous affections, eczema of theface, neck and ears, chronic cystitis.

Combinations: Nettles will combine well with Figwort and Burdock in thetreatment of eczema.

Preparations & Dosage: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water ontol-3 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse for l0-l5 minutes. Thisshould be drunk three times a day. Tincture: take l-4ml of the tincture threetimes a day.

Citations from the Medline database for the genus Urtica

NettlesBarsom S Bettermann AA [Prostatic adenoma. The conservative therapy with urtica extract]

ZFA (Stuttgart) (1979 Nov 30) 55(33):1947-50Czarnetzki BM Thiele T Rosenbach T Immunoreactive leukotrienes in nettle plants (Urtica urens).

Int Arch Allergy Appl Immunol (1990) 91(1):43-6Maitai CK Talalaj S Njoroge D Wamugunda R Effect of extract of hairs from the herb Urtica massaica, on smoothmuscle.

Toxicon (1980) 18(2):225-9Mittman P Randomized, double-blind study of freeze-dried Urtica dioica in thetreatment of allergic rhinitis.

Planta Med (1990 Feb) 56(1):44-7Wagner H Willer F Kreher B [Biologically active compounds from the aqueous extract of Urticadioica]

Planta Med (1989 Oct) 55(5):452-4

About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary......more
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