Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle: traditional medicine
for allergy symptoms

With a name like Stinging Nettle, this plant has to have good effects or nobody would touch it. And in fact, the Nettle has a long history of effective use in botanical medicine, which is really the traditional medicine of cultures close to the earth around the globe. This herbal medicine has the botanical name Urtica dioica. It has a long history in herbal medicine going back to ancient Greece where it was known to reduce coughing and arthritis symptoms.

This herbal medication is a good example of the complexity and science of the field. It does not suffice to say that any plant has a health effect. One needs to know what part of the plant is effective for which condition, how it should be extracted and delivered as a dose. So for nettle, the root extract has effect in reducing the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia in men, because of its hormonal effects. But it is the leaf that has anti-inflammatory properties and seems to reduce prostaglandin production in the body. A study just published in the journal Phytotherapy Research in 2009 demonstrated in the laboratory that the Nettle leaf blocks histamine receptors, and acts to block prostaglandin production by the COX-1 and COX-2 pathways. It also blocks the release of enzymes from mast cells. All those effects together make this a pretty potent anti-allergy medicine. And confirming the lab data are some studies showing that it reduces sneezing and runny nose for people with allergies.


But if you are going to take stinging nettle for allergies, make sure you are taking a freeze-dried extract of the leaves. This is the one with the biologic activity preserved. The recommended dosage would be about 300 mg freeze dried leaves 2 or 3 times daily during allergy season. It will not cause any drowsiness like some antihistamines, and still is just as effective in the observation of herbal practitioners.


To your health and wellness,




Robert Pendergrast, MD 

Return from Stinging Nettle to Holistic Medicine MD home page.