Updated: Apr 22
Yes I am talking about that obnoxious weed you find popping up in all the worst places in your way leaving you stung from its tiny fragile hollow hairs breaking off like needles as you brush past it which pierce the skin and inject the nettles irritant chemicals.
Have you heard that if you get a dock leaf (yes another one of those obnoxious weeds) and rub it over the area you were stung by the nettle, it takes away the itch?
Personally just picking the leaf and rubbing it over didn't work for me and I can find no scientific studies done on Dock to prove that it has any benefit in this application at all HOWEVER..... just because the study has not been done doesn't make it nonsense.
Traditionally the Maori used Dock on boils, cracked lips, abrasions, wounds and cuts so there may be some logic to this. The trick was to crush up the leaf and turn it into a poultice thus activating the medicinal compounds in the leaf and applying them directly to the affected area. Does it actually work? Only one way to find out and that is to try it.
So given that fact this plant can leave you an itchy, burning red blistery mess it is hard to fathom that it could help Allergies right? I mean it seems like it creates an allergic reaction so how could that be possible?
Well providing it has been processed correctly and by that I mean either dried, freeze dried or cooked the science shows that it does actually help with allergies due to its antihistamine properties.
It blocks the histamine receptors and immune cells from releasing chemicals that trigger allergy symptoms according to this study And according to this study it also has extracts that can inhibit inflammation that can trigger season allergies.
For this reason I use Nettle in my Allergy Tea, for best effect it is recommended that you start drinking it about 6 weeks before Hay fever season which here in NZ is during spring and early summer. That makes the optimal time to start taking it if you suffer from seasonal allergies around the end of July. Drink 2-3 cups a day. This tea also contains Peppermint so if you are already a fan of Peppermint tea making the transition to Allergy tea will be easy
But wait there's more.....
Nettle has many other health benefits as well and aside from helping with Allergies my favourite thing about Nettle is that it contains so many nutrients. It has Vitamin A, C and K as well as several B vitamins. Minerals such as Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium & Sodium. ALL of the essential Amino Acids. Essential fats such as Linoleic Acid, Stearic Acid and Oleic Acid and I could just keep going!
Nettle has a variety of compounds that fight inflammation, in this study participants taking a Needle supplement found that it significantly reduced arthritis pain to the point they could reduce the dose of their synthetic pain relief!
Now I'm not suggesting if you have an enlarged prostate that this is the best form of treatment, for serious medical issues you should always see your GP but if you are so inclined you may like to try something natural to aid in your recovery.
Nettle may prevent the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone and stopping this from happening can help reduce prostate size according to this study
If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of heart disease and strokes so again this is another conversation you should have already had with your GP.
Nettle has been used historically to lower your blood pressure and it is thought that this is achieved through a couple of ways.
The first being that it stimulates nitric oxide production and nitric oxide for those of you who don't know relax the muscles of your blood vessels helping them widen and not contract making it harder for your heart to pump blood through them. This was confirmed in this study
It also contains compounds that act as calcium channel blockers which relax your heart therefore reducing the force of its contractions according to this study