Stinging nettle
Stinging nettle

Background

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a plant with pointed leaves and white to yellowish flowers. The root and above ground parts are used for diabetes.

The stinging nettle plant is typically 2-4 meters tall. It contains ingredients that might decrease swelling and increase urination. The leaves are sometimes eaten as a cooked vegetable.

Stinging nettle is most commonly used for diabetes and osteoarthritis. It is also sometimes used for urinary tract infections (UTIs), kidney stones, enlarged prostate, hay fever, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Don't confuse stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) with white dead nettle (Lamium album).
When taken by mouth: Stinging nettle is possibly safe when used for up to 1 year. It might cause diarrhea, constipation, and upset stomach in some people.

When applied to the skin: Stinging nettle is possibly safe. Touching the stinging nettle plant can cause skin irritation.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy: Stinging nettle is likely unsafe to take during pregnancy. It might stimulate uterine contractions and cause a miscarriage.

Breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if stinging nettle is safe to use during breastfeeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Effectiveness

Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
  • Diabetes. Taking stinging nettle by mouth seems to reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
There is interest in using stinging nettle for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions

Dosing & administration

There isn't enough reliable information to know what an appropriate dose of stinging nettle might be. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult a healthcare professional before using.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

Lithium

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Stinging nettle might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking stinging nettle might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium.

Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Stinging nettle might lower blood sugar levels. Taking stinging nettle along with diabetes medications might cause blood sugar to drop too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.

Warfarin (Coumadin)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Stinging nettle above ground parts contain large amounts of vitamin K. Vitamin K is used by the body to help blood clot. By helping the blood clot, stinging nettle might decrease the effects of warfarin. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin might need to be changed.

Water pills (Diuretic drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Stinging nettle can decrease potassium levels. "Water pills" can also decrease potassium levels. Taking stinging nettle along with "water pills" might make potassium levels drop too low.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar: Stinging nettle might lower blood sugar. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might lower blood sugar too much. Examples of supplements with this effect include aloe, bitter melon, cassia cinnamon, chromium, and prickly pear cactus.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 27/01/2023 23:01:58 and last updated on 22/07/2020 20:11:59. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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