Other names: Common nettle, stinging nettle

Scientific name: Urtica dioica, urtica urens

Common names: Chinese nettle, Common nettle, Common stinging nettle, Great nettle

Ayurvedic names:

Chinese names: Hsieh-tzu-ts’ao, xun ma

Bangladesh names: Bichchuti, Lata-bichchuti, Beshani

Arabic names:   القراص (al qarraas) 

Rain Forest names:

Family: Uritcacea

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Flower, leaf, root

Collection: Normally collected when it is flowering

Annual/Perennial: Perennial

Height: 25-150cm

Actions:  Alterative, anti-inflammatory, astringent, digestive, diuretic, hemostatic, pectoral rubefacient, styptic, tonic

Known Constituents: Chlorophyll, formic acid, glucoquinine, histamine, iron, Vitamin C; flavanol glycosides; sterols; scopoletin (isolated from the flowers); sterols; sterol glycosides including sitosterol lignans; carotenoids, B vitamins

Constituents Explained:


leaf: 3.5-8.5cm long

A weed, its stinging leaves contain small sharp spurs.  It often grows in waste places, particulary on nitrate rich soil.7  The flowers are green. The root and rhizome are normally a shade of yellow.  The flowers are opposite (picture), cordate (picture) and the leaves are deeply serrataed.  The flowers are small and green.

Traditional Use:

Used for its high nutrients content.  Known to be high in iron, calcium, vitamin a, vitamin c and silicon.  Nettle is believed to be a more easily extracable source of Silicon than horsetail.  A 1:100 decoction of the dried leaves, that are simmered for about 30 minutes gives from every gram of nettle used about 5mg of cilicon.  Its believed this is about half the amount that is given from horsetail that has been decocted for 3 hours.7 The hairs on the surface of the nettle that gives it the name ‘Stinging nettle’ are believed to be high in silicon.

It is sometimes used as the source of chlorophyll.7  This level of chlorophyll might be why some people have considered it a blood purifier.  It was once used for its fibre before the use of flax.7 Used to relieve joint inflammation and

The sting in the leaves are believed to be due to the high amount of histamine in the leaves, an dpossibly serotonin ? Checl

Its sometimes used in cases of enlarged prostate, pariculary when it is interfering with the flow of urine.

Its used to stimulaet criculation and clearing uric acid and eczema.  The seeds are used for the respiraotry sytem.An astrigent, it is used to stop excess nose bleeding or those in cases of menstration.  Sometimes used in anti allergy formulas for hay fever.

The flowers and leaves are picked in Summer, the stems are picked in spring and are sometimes eaten as a vegetable.

Jethro Kloss used this as a urinary disinfectant.   He used it to increase the menstrual flow.

When picked in order to avoid being stung, the leaf is usally picked from underneath, and folded along the top of the leaf.  When boiled, the nettles usually float to the top of the liquid and should be removed. Heat or dryness tends to remove the sting.  Poison most commonly comes from uncooked plants that are old.

Clinical Studies:

A study determined the effects of therapy with Urtica dioica for symptomatic relief of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) secondary to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). A 6-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, partial crossover, comparative trial of Urtica dioica with placebo in 620 patients was conducted.

Patients were evaluated using the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), the maximum urinary flow rate (Qmax), postvoid residual urine volume (PVR), Serum Prostatic- Specific Antigen (PSA), testosterone levels, and prostate size.

At the end of 6-month trial, unblinding revealed that patients who initially received the placebo were switched to Urtica dioica. Both groups continued the medication up to 18 months. 

558 patients (90%) completed the study. By intention- to-treat analysis, at the end of 6-month trial, 232 (81%) of 287 patients in the Urtica dioica group reported improved LUTS compared with 43 (16%) of 271 patients in the placebo group.

Both IPSS and Qmax showed greater improvement with drug than with placebo. In Urtica dioica group, PVR decreased from an initial value of 73 to 36 mL. 

No appreciable change was seen in the placebo group. Serum PSA and testosterone levels were unchanged in both groups. A modest decrease in prostate size as measured by transrectal ultrasonography (TRUS) was seen in Urtica dioica group.

At 18-month follow-up, only patients who continued therapy, had a favorable treatment variables value. No side effects were identified in either group. Urtica dioica have beneficial effects in the treatment of symptomatic BPH.


Safarinejad MR. “Urtica Dioica For The Treatment Of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: A Prospective, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study.” 2005