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April 15, 2021
By: Dr. Hamad Shafqat
Stinging Nettle is not very liked because of its tiny needle-like stingy filaments that can irritate the skin upon contact. However, it has been used in the Middle Ages and ancient Greek times as a traditional herbal medicine to treat many diseases. Nowadays, Stinging Nettle has become an incredible remedy for hair and skin.
This article explains what Stinging Nettle is, its beneficial effects on skin and hair, and some of its side effects.
Urtica dioica (Stinging Nettle) is a plant that usually grows in moist and damp soil, mainly on the roadside, by the rivers, and in forests. Urtica dioica is a Latin word, ‘Uro’ means ‘burn’ because you feel a burning sensation when you touch its leaves. 1
Stinging hairs cover the leaves and release pain-inducing toxins, which upon contact, cause itchy and burning patches on the skin.
Its chemical composition is what makes it an antimicrobial and antioxidant powerhouse. Stinging Nettle is rich in:
Stinging Nettle has been proved to be beneficial for hair growth because it improves blood circulation in the scalp, feeds the hair follicles, and prevents hair shedding. Moreover, Nettle tea supports thicker, healthier, and more strong hair growth and effectively treats dandruff and male pattern baldness.
A major cause of hair loss is free radical damage, which contributes to unhealthy and thinner hair. Antioxidants present in the leaves of Stinging Nettle destroy free radicals, thereby encouraging healthy hair growth, production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and healthy scalp. 3
Numerous research studies have supported the beneficial effects of Stinging Nettle on the skin. Topical application of Stinging Nettle on the skin eases many skin conditions like dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.
According to a study, the antioxidant capacity of Nettle plants has anti-aging effects on collagenase and elastase on the skin. As it is rich in histamine, iron, oxyacetylene, and chlorophyll, it can ease itchy skin, heals minor skin injuries like cuts, and treats acne-prone skin. 4
For skin-soothing purposes, the leaves of Stinging Nettle are heated, followed by grinding, which results in the destruction of tiny stringy filaments. All that is left is nurturing and amazing astringent property of Stinging Nettle, which tightens the upper layer of skin and boosts collagen production. 5
Despite their stingy leaves, Stinging Nettle is safe to consume. However, it is not safe for children and pregnant women. Side effects of Stinging Nettle, when taken by mouth, include constipation, urinary issues, stomach problems, and sweating. If you want to use this herbal remedy for medical treatment, you must consult your doctor first.
Topical application of the Nettle plant in appropriate amounts is considered safe.
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