Formic acid which is present in a stinging nettle plant is responsible for the initial pain but the longer term effects are caused by histamine, acetylcholine and 5-hydroxytryptamine. Brushing the nettle plant produces a stinging on the skin of varying intensity. There is almost no-one who has not been stung by this plant.
Its above ground parts are used in combination with large amounts of fluids in so-called “irrigation therapy” for urinary tract infections (UTI), inflammations, and kidney stones.
More research is needed on the benefits of stinging nettle, but it is also said to help with:
• Hair growth
• Control blood sugar in patients with diabetes
• Reduce bleeding related to gingivitis
• Water retention
Stinging nettle has been in use for hundreds of years in the treatment of painful muscles and joints, eczema, gout, and anemia. Today, many people use it to treat urinary problems during the early stages of an enlarged prostate (a condition known as prostatic hyperplasia or BPH).