Nettle: What are its properties, benefits and what is it for?

Belonging to the genus Urtica, the nettle plant is one of the "weeds" categorized worldwide. Its fame is due to the fact that it causes itching and inflammation in the skin when it is handled directly, since it contains toxic substances. What many do not know is that the nettle has numerous medicinal properties They are used to treat many conditions and generate many health benefits.

Formerly, history refers to the nettle as "the herb of the blind", because even people with this disability could recognize it just by touching it. Because one of its main characteristics is to have some hairs stinging which are shaped like tiny blisters filled with a irritating liquid. Upon contact with the skin, they cause a small lesion and distil their contents, causing hives, itching and itching.

Among its other visual characteristics is that it is a shrubby plant that can reach a maximum height of 1.5 meters and has a rough appearance. Its leaves are oval, pointed and rough. They are dark green in color with small soft yellow petals. This general appearance is usually present in the different species of this herb although both grow in soils rich in nitrogen and humid.

Types of nettles

Botanical experts indicate that to date there are two types of nettles that are well known and these are the following:

Green nettle

Urtica dioica is the most popular, so it is also called by the name of greater or green nettle. It can reach a height between 50 centimeters and 1.5 meters. It is characterized by having minimal hairs that contain a caustic liquid (acetylcholine) that generate a very strong itch on contact with them. It has a square-shaped stem, oval leaves, with a serrated edge, its flowers are small and grow in groups.

Lesser nettle

Its scientific name is Urticaurens, and grows to only 60 centimeters tall. It usually develops alongside the greater nettle. And although it produces more irritation than green, it also has less therapeutic properties.

Nettle properties

Nettle leaves

The active principles of nettle are flavonoids, highlighting those of action antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Similarly, it contains mineral salts, vitamins A and C, organic acids, formic acid, potassium and resin.

This herb also has a substance called secretin, which is considered one of the best stimulants of stomach secretions. Including the pancreas and bile. While chlorophyll and organic acids offer a marked diuretic effect.

In addition, it has been scientifically proven that nettle has bacterial properties and favorable effects in the treatments of skin conditions.

Medicinal benefits of nettle

Thanks to all the active principles of this herb, they derive multiple benefits for human health. Here we show you what are all the virtues that this plant can generate to your system.

  • Fight acne and skin conditions.
  • Prevents and fights allergies.
  • It acts as a diuretic and purifies the blood.
  • Avoid hair loss.
  • Treats inflammatory / rheumatic diseases.
  • It works as a remineralizer and antianemic.
  • Fight overweight.
  • Relieves hemorrhoids
  • Has anti-hemorrhagic effects
  • Eliminates mucus present in the body
  • It is effective against infections in the kidneys and urinary tract.

What is it for?

Nettle has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal plant due to its high content of vitamins, flavonoids, minerals and trace elements. These properties allow the herb to be used for digestive disorders, rheumatism, anemia, dermatological problems, even asthenia.

Some recent studies refer to its use as a treatment for diabetes, allergic rhinitis and menopause. Its tonic effect on the body has also worked to treat many symptoms related to abstinence, such as fatigue and physical weakness.

Diseases such as gout, arthritis, and kidney stones have been treated for many years with the root of the greater nettle. And in the same way some urination disorders, such as urinary discomfort.

The purifying effect of nettle in turn serves to purify the body, especially on the skin. The properties of nettle work to regulate sebum production, which is very beneficial for acne.

Each part of this herb can be used almost entirely, they can be consumed fresh or that have previously undergone a drying process. This last special form for the elaborations teas.


Nettle tea can be made from dried or fresh leaves of the plant, but dried leaves are generally used because they have a higher concentration. To prepare the infusion, a teaspoon of these leaves should be placed in the measure of a cup of water, approximately 200 ml. Heat up to the boiling point (without boiling), pay the heat and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. A dose of 2 cups a day of this infusion is usually recommended before each meal.


The slurry or extract of the nettle is widely used in gardening for being a natural biostimulant that generates many benefits to the garden.

Is rich potassium, calcium, nitrogen and the assimilation of these elements is very fast in plants. Also, it has been shown to be effective as a repellent against whiteflies, aphids, fungi, and more; since it strengthens the defenses of the plants avoiding diseases. In addition, it strengthens their growth.

To obtain the extract of this herb, the measure of 1kg (without the root) must be collected before flowering. It is placed in a bucket with 10 liters of water, the mixture is left to macerate for 15 days, trying to stir every 2 days. The slurry is ready when bubbles are released and there is a film covering it.


Despite all the benefits of nettle that we have mentioned, this herb also produces some contraindications. These depend directly on the pathology that a person has or the conditions of its use. For these reasons, before being consumed, all medical options should be considered to know if it is feasible or not. Here are the risk scenarios:

  • Low blood pressure.
  • Renal-type insufficiencies.
  • Heart failure.
  • Women in a state of pregnancy or lactation.

Does nettle still seem like just a weed? Now you know how to take advantage of its properties

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