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Stinging nettle is a perennial plant originally from Europe. It is now found throughout the United States and some parts of Canada. Stinging nettle supplements are made from the aerialaerialplant parts appearing above ground (above ground) parts of the plant. The shoots of the stinging nettle plant are rich in vitamin C and carotene. It also contains vitamin B complex and vitamin K.
How is this product usually used?
Stinging nettle is usually taken orallyorallyto be taken by mouth (swallowed). The plant has a high water content and so it is commonly available as a juice. The usual daily amount ranges from 15 mL to 45 mL, usually divided into 1 to 3 doses.
Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.
What is this product used for?
People use stinging nettle in traditional herbal medicine:
- as a diureticdiuretican agent that increases urine flow (an agent that increases urination to get rid of excess fluid in the body)
- as a supportive treatment to relieve symptoms of rheumatic (joint) conditions (e.g., arthritis)
- as a nutritive tonictonican agent that strengthens and invigorates (an agent that is said to increase energy and a sense of well-being)
- to help relieve seasonal allergy symptoms
Other conditions that stinging nettle has been used for include urinary tract infections and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, an enlarged prostate). However, there is not enough evidence to support the use of stinging nettle for these conditions.
Using stinging nettle as soon as allergy symptoms begin may help reduce some symptoms. However, it has not been shown to be an effective allergy treatment.
Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.
What else should I be aware of?
Stinging nettle isconsidered safe for most adults when used in recommended doses for limited periods of time. Side effects of using stinging nettle include diarrhea, nausea, stomach upset, sweating, fever, headache, urinary tract infections, blood in the urine, urinary obstruction, and allergic reactions. Stinging nettle can be irritating when used on exposed skin.
Stinging nettle should only be used occasionally as a diureticdiuretican agent that increases urine flow (an agent that increases urination). Due to stinging nettle’s diuretic effect, it can slightly lower blood pressure in some people. Be careful about using stinging nettle with other medications or natural health products that lower blood pressure. Talk to a health care provider if the symptoms being treated persist or get worse.
Stinging nettle may change your blood sugar levels, so be careful about using it if you have diabetes or are taking diabetic medications. You might need to monitor your blood sugar more frequently.
Stinging nettle may increase your risk of bleeding. It needs to be used with care if you have a bleeding disorder or are taking medications that can increase the risk of bleeding.
If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, bleeding disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, or reduced kidney function, consult your health care provider before taking stinging nettle.
There may be an interaction between stinging nettle and the following:
- anticoagulants (e.g., heparin, warfarin)
- antiplatelets (e.g., clopidogrel)
- ASA (Aspirin®) and other NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen)
- blood-pressure-lowering medications
- CNS depressant medications (e.g., sedativesedativean agent that induces sleep, relaxes, and reduces tensions, anti-anxiety agents)
- ginkgo biloba
- medications for diabetes
- saw palmetto
Do not use stinging nettle if you are pregnant or breast-feeding or if you are under 12 years old.
Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.
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