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Highlights on nutritional and therapeutic value of stinging nettle (Urtica Dioica)



Urtica dioica L. is a herbaceous plant belonging to the family of Urticaceae that has been used for centuries against a variety of diseases. Thanks to its high content of nutriments and bioactive compounds like poly phenols, vitamins and minerals, nettle possesses a great nutritional value and a large number of pharmacological effects, including anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, immunostimulatory, anti-infectious, hypotensive, antiulcer activities and cardiovascular disease prevention. Stinging nettle is considered safe and has been shown to be side effects free, when taken by mouth of up to 18 gram per day. The most common stinging nettle preparations usually include the crude dried powder, dry extract, infusion (herbal tea), decoction or fresh juice. Stinging nettle root is mainly used for mictional disorders related to benign prostatic hyperplasia while the leaves are used for arthritis, rheumatism and allergic rhinitis. This up to date review highlights the current knowledge and scientific advances concerning Urtica dioica. © 2015, International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science. All rights reserved.
Review Article
1Laboratory of Pharmacognosy, 2Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry and Food Science, 3Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry, Faculty of
Medicine and Pharmacy of Casablanca, Hassan II University, 19 rue Tarik Ibn Ziad, BP 9154, Casablanca, Morocco
Received: 26 Jul 2015 Revised and Accepted: 02 Sep 2015
Urtica dioica L. is a herbaceous plant belonging to the family of Urticaceae that has been used for centuries against a variety of diseases. Thanks to
its high content of nutriments and bioactive compounds like poly phenols, vitamins and minerals, nettle possesses a great nutritional value and a
large number of pharmacological effects, including anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, immunostimulatory, anti-infectious,
hypotensive, antiulcer activities and cardiovascular disease prevention. Stinging nettle is considered safe and has been shown to be side effects free,
when taken by mouth of up to 18 gram per day. The most common stinging nettle preparations usually include the crude dried powder, dry extract,
infusion (herbal tea), decoction or fresh juice. Stinging nettle root is mainly used for mictional disorders related to benign prostatic hyperplasia
while the leaves are used for arthritis, rheumatism and allergic rhinitis. This up to date review highlights the current knowledge and scientific
advances concerning Urtica dioica.
Nettle has been used for over 2,000 y as a natural remedy for its
therapeutic properties. However, it was until the beginning of the
Keywords: Urtica dioica, Polyphenols, Urtica Dioica Agglutinin (UDA), Benign prostatic hyperplasia, Rheumatism.
Nettle is a herbaceous plant, 1 to 2m tall and perennial with
rhizomes. It belongs to the Urticaceae family in the Rosales order
and the genus Urtica characterized by unicellular stinging hairs.
The erect stems are strong, hairy, mostly unbranched and
quadrangular. They are green in young plants and
purple/reddish in older ones. The leaves are opposite, egg-
shaped, elongated, with a strongly serrated margin and a pointed
tip (fig. 1). The leaves and stems are very hairy and bear many
stinging hairs whose tips come off when touched, transforming
the hair into a needle that injects a stinging liquid. The nettle is
dioecious with separate male and female plants that flower from
June to September. The flowers are unisexual, small, and are
arranged in clusters on slender, branched spikes formed in the
leaf axils. Female flowers are greenish and have a unilocular
ovary with a solitary ovule bearing one style with a brush-like
stigma. Male flowers are yellowish and composed of 4 stamens,
with long elastic filaments, which are bent inwards in the bud.
Stinging nettle produces oval-shaped achenes (one-seeded
fruits) containing tiny dark brown or almost black seeds. The
root system is composed of a taproot which branches into fine
rootlets allowing the tuft nettle to expand [1, 2].
century that its medicinal importance was largely studied and
dramatically enhanced, beginning with the determination of the
chemical structure of the main chemically active agents and their
pharmacological properties. It should be stressed that most of the
indications from traditional medicine have been validated and new
properties have been discovered. Moreover, given its balanced
protein composition and its high content of minerals and vitamins,
nettle has also been shown to be of great nutritional interest.
In Morocco, these medical and nutritional data remain poorly
explored, and the use of nettle is being increasingly neglected both
in the culinary field and in the medical and veterinary areas.
This work highlights the current knowledge and scientific advances
concerning Urtica dioica. We begin with a botanical and a
phytochemical study of the plant and its traditional medical uses in
Morocco. We then look in detail at its nutritional and medical
properties and we describe, at last, its methods of preparation and
use, its toxicity and the use precautions.
Botanical study
Native to Eurasia, nettle was widely distributed throughout all the
temperate regions of the world. It is now found in Europe (more in
northern than in southern Europe), in northern Africa, in Asia and in
northern and southern America where it’s also largely widespread [1].
Table 1 summarizes the most known common names of Urtica dioica.
Traditional medicinal
In Morocco, all parts of the plant are used in traditional
medicine. The whole plant is used as a diuretic, anti-
hypertensive, anti-diabetic, hemostatic, anti-asthenia,
antianemic, antispasmodic, antirheumatic and as a remedy for
headaches and chills [3, 4]. Nettle is also used to treat spleen,
renal and dermal disorders [5]. The seeds are administered
orally for their aphrodisiac and galactagogue effects and other
traditional uses against tuberculosis and kidney stones have
been described [6]. External uses include the treatment of
aphthae, hemorrhoids, scabies and pruritus [4].
Table 1: Common names of Urtica Dioica all around the world
Latin name
Urtica dioïca L. Syn
English names
Nettle; Common nettle; Stinging nettle; Tall nettle; Slender nettle; Greater nettle.
French names
Ortie dioïque; Grande ortie; Ortie piquante; Ortie élevée.
Arabic names
(Hourriga; Kerrass)
Spanish names
Ortiga; Ortiga gran; Ortiga grossa; Ortiga major; Ortiga inayor.
German names
Brennesslbatter; Brennessel-kraut; Nesslkraut; Haarnesselkraut.
International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
ISSN- 0975-1491 Vol 7, Issue 10, 2015
Academic Sciences
Ait Haj Said et al.
Int J Pharm Pharm Sci, Vol 7, Issue 10, 8-14
Fig. 1: Urtica dioica, botanical aspects (Pictures from Wikipedia.
Permission granted to copy, distribute and/or modify under the
terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)
Nettles secondary metabolites have marked pharmacological
properties. The main flavonoids are quercetin, kaempferol and rutin.
These flavonoids have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
that may limit oxidative damage responsible for some chronic
diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and degenerative
diseases. They have many other effects, such as the inhibition of lipid
peroxidation of liver mitochondria and blood cells and have also
been shown to have hypoglycemic, antibacterial and antiviral
properties [8-10]. The most active flavonoid is quercetin. It has
strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions [11]. It is not only
capable of reducing the incidence of mammary tumors in rats [12,
13] but it also has anti-tumor activity against prostate cancer [14].
Its anti-ulcerogenic activity has also been demonstrated [15, 16].
The antioxidant activity of rutin is similar to that of quercetin [17-
19]. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer properties and
reduces the cytotoxicity of oxidized bad cholesterol (LDL) [20, 21].
Tannins, caffeic acid, ferulic acid and coumarins also have
antioxidant activity and may protect cells against damage caused by
free radicals [22, 23].
The leaves of nettle are rich in flavonoids, as well as phenolic
compounds, organic acids, vitamins and minerals. The root contains
lectins, polysaccharides, sterols and lignans. The stinging action is
due to the liquid contained in nettle’s hairs. This liquid contains at
least three compounds that could be the cause of its allergic
reactions: acetylcholine, histamine and serotonin [2, 7].
Nettle root contains a lectin called Urtica dioica Agglutinin (UDA).
This lectin is somewhat unique. It has a low molecular weight (8 to 9
kDa) and consists of a single polypeptide chain of less than 100
amino acids [24]. The UDA has immunomodulatory activity and
appears to limit the autoimmune manifestations [25]. Table 2
summarizes the chemical composition of nettle’s main parts.
Nutritional value
Nettle leaves are rich in protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins,
minerals and trace elements. Proteins make up of 30% of the dry
mass [31]. Furthermore, the protein content of the leaves widely
covers the needs of amino acids, especially the essential amino acids
for humans [33, 38]. Content of mineral substances is about 20% of
the dry mass [31, 45]. Nettle is rich in iron, zinc, magnesium,
calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Leaves content of cobalt, nickel,
molybdenum and selenium have also been determined [32]. The
proportions of different compounds given in the literature are
different. The origin and time of sample collection may be
responsible for that. The maximum and minimum levels of various
compounds are
shown in tables 3 and 4.
Part used
Table 2: Chemical composition of Urtica dioica
Chemical composition
Flavonoids: Quercetin-3-O-rutinoside (rutin), kaempferol-3-O-rutinoside and isorhamnetin-3-O-glucoside.
Organic acids: Caffeic acid and its esters, ferulic acid, chlorogenic, citric, fumaric and phosphoric acids.
Essential oil: Carvacol, carvone, naphthalene, (E)-anethol, hexahydrofarnesyl acetone, (E)-geranyl acetone, (E)-β-
ionone and phytol.
[26, 29]
Minerals and trace elements: Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Iron, Sulphur, Zinc, Manganese, Copper,
Nickel and Selenium.
Vitamins: vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin C
(ascorbic acid), vitamin K (phylloquinone).
Other constituents: Tannins, chlorophyll and carotenoids.
[33, 38]
Acidic polysaccharides: glucans, arabinogalactans and rhamnogalacturonans.
Flavonoids: myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol, quercetin-3-O-rutinoside (rutin), kaempferol-3-O-rutinoside and
Minerals and trace elements: Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Manganese and Copper.
Lectins: Urtica dioica agglutinin (UDA), consisting of a single-chain polypeptide made of 89 amino acids and rich in
glycines, cysteines and tryptophans.
Phytosterols: β-sitosterol; β-sitosterol-3-O-β-glucoside, (6'-O-palmitoyl)-sitosterol-3-O-β-D-glucoside;
hydroxysitosterol; -hydroxysitosterol; -hydroxysitosterol-β-D-glucoside; -hydroxysitosterol-β-glucoside; 24R-
ethyl--cholestane-3β,6α-diol; stigmasterol, campesterol, stigmast-4-en-3-on, hecogenin.
[24, 41]
Lignans: neo-olivil, secoisolariciresinol, dehydrodiconiferyl alcohol, isolariciresinol, pinoresinol, and 3,4-
[27, 39]
Coumarins: Scopoletin
[42, 43]
[39, 43]
Fixed oil: saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.
Carotenoids: β-carotene, lutein and violaxantin.
The vitamin composition is very varied. It contains both fat-soluble
vitamins A, D, E and K, and also significant amounts of water-soluble
vitamins, such as vitamin C and the B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B9).
Wetherilt found that 100g of fresh leaves contained 0.0l mg vitamin
B1 (thiamine), 0.23 mg of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), 0.62 g of vitamin
B3 (Niacin), 0.068 mg vitamin B6, 238 mg of vitamin C, 5 mg of pro-
vitamin A (β-carotene) and 14.4 mg of vitamin E (α-tocopherol) [38].
This richness in nutrients gives the nettle valuable nutritional and also
pharmacological properties. Trace elements and vitamins strengthen
Ait Haj Said et al.
Int J Pharm Pharm Sci, Vol 7, Issue 10, 8-14
the immune system and allow the body to better resist bacterial and
viral infections. The simultaneous presence in nettle of vitamins B1, C,
E, iron, zinc, selenium and manganese contributes to its anti-oxidant
qualities. Nettle has also a remineralizing action, thanks to the
presence of calcium, potassium, silicon and iron. It would be beneficial
in osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. The high potassium content is
another indicator of the protective power of nettle leaves against
cardiovascular disease. The iron content and also the presence of
vitamin C, which increases the bioavailability of iron makes that nettle
is indicated for the treatment of anemia. Additionally, the magnesium
intake it provides reduces the incidence of all forms of stress while
zinc has an anti-inflammatory action.
Another asset of the nettle is chlorophyll. The nettles leaves contain
a significant amount of chlorophyll, around 4.8 mg per gram of dry
leaves [46]. This chlorophyll promotes cleansing and detoxification,
it cleanses the digestive system and fights bloating and bad breath.
In addition, chlorophyll promotes regeneration of cells and activates
wounds healing.
Finally, thanks to their high content of protein, essential amino acids,
vitamins and iron, n
ettle leaves can be an important nutritional
supplement. Therefore, they can be a good remedy for the treatment
of protein-energy malnutrition in malnourished children, pregnant
women, convalescents and the elderly.
Table 3: Nutritional composition of fresh leaves of stinging
nettle [31, 33-36]
Min (%)
Max (%)
Table 4: Content of mineral and trace elements (mg/100 g of
dry matter) [31-37]
Minerals and trace elements
mg/100 g of dry matter
Trace elements
Pharmacological properties
Many research works show that nettle root's components can
interfere with several mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of
benign prostatic hyperplasia. The antiproliferative effect on prostate
cancer cells of UDA and the methanolic alcoholic root extracts has
been demonstrated in vivo and in vitro [45, 47, 48].
Antiproliferative activity
Lignans from root extract not only inhibit the binding of androgens
to their transporter proteins SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin),
but also the binding of these proteins to the membrane receptors of
the prostate, thereby inhibiting their proliferative activity on
prostate tissues [42, 45, 49].
The root extract reduces the production of estrogen by aromatase
inhibition, thereby decreasing the conversion of androgens to
estrogens [50]. Also, it was mentioned that root extracts inhibit the
enzymatic activity of the membrane of prostate cells, which would
stop its growth [45, 51]. Clinical studies on a root extracts showed a
significant improvement of the symptoms of benign prostatic
hypertrophy [52-54].
Anti-inflammatory activity
Scientific research has highlighted the nettle's ability to decrease the
inflammatory response, through multiple mechanisms whose
consequences are the reduction of synthesis of lipid mediators and
proinflammatory cytokines. Indeed, leaf extracts inhibit the
biosynthesis of arachidonic acid cascade enzymes, in particular the
cyclo oxygenases COX-1 and COX-2, thereby blocking the
biosynthesis of prostaglandins and thromboxanes [55].
In addition, an inhibitory effect was demonstrated on the NF-kappa
B (nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells)
system involved in immune, inflammatory and antiapoptotic
responses [56,57] and the PAF (Platelet Activating Factor) [55].
Furthermore, several studies have shown that the extract of the
leaves reduces the release of Interleukins IL-2 and IL-1β, Interferon
γ (IFN γ) and Tumour Necrosis Factors TNF-α and TNF-κ [58,59].
Therefore, the anti-inflammatory effect of nettle leaves suggest that
it may be useful in acute inflammatory diseases but also in chronic
diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis.
The aqueous extract of nettle roots also has anti-inflammatory
activity. Wagner had shown that a polysaccharide fraction of this
extract has an inhibitory effect on the induced rat paw oedema,
comparable to that of indomethacin [60]. The anti-inflammatory
effect is related to the inhibition of cyclo oxygenases and
lipoxygenases, and to cytokines production.
Antioxidant activity
Extracts of nettle have a neutralizing role of reactive oxygen species
(ROS). Their antiradical activity on the superoxide anion O2 °-, the
hydroxyl radical OH ° and nitric oxide radical NO ° was determined
by spectrophotometry. Numerous studies have shown that the
methanolic and ethanolic extracts of leaves have a remarkable
antioxidant effect on the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radical
(DPPH) [9, 61-63].
Chelation of ferrous iron was evaluated using ferrozine, which forms
a red chromophore with the residual iron (FeII-Ferrozine) having an
absorption maximum at 562 nm. The absorbance obtained shows
that nettle has a significant chelating activity of the ferrous ions [63].
Another study conducted on rats treated with carbon tetrachloride
Immunomodulatory activity
), showed that nettle decreased lipid peroxidation and
increased the activity of the antioxidant defense system playing thus
a protective role against hepatotoxicity. This antioxidant activity is
essentially correlated to the phenolic compounds content [9, 64].
Many studies indicate that flavonoids are able to modulate the
immune system. This modulatory effect of the aerial parts of nettle
was studied on mice, using an ethanolic extract at two different
doses (50 and 100 mg/kg), taken orally for 14 d. The activities of
enzymes such as cytochrome P450, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)
and NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase showed a significant
decrease while the antioxidant enzymes showed a significant
increase. In addition, the plant has also shown a modulatory effect
on enzymes of the kidney, lung and stomach, such as glutathione-S-
transferase, superoxide dismutase and catalase [65].
Quercetin-3-O-rutinoside, kaempherol-3-O-rutinoside and
isorhamnetin-3-O-glucoside present in the aerial parts of the nettle
contributes to the immunomodulatory activity [2, 66].
Furthermore, the immunomodulatory effect of the UDA isolated
from the roots, has been demonstrated in several studies that
elucidate their action on T cells, macrophages, thymocytes and on
the release of TNFα [60].
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Int J Pharm Pharm Sci, Vol 7, Issue 10, 8-14
Analgesic and antinociceptive properties
In addition to its anti-inflammatory action, the nettle has an
analgesic effect, proved in vivo in rats and mice. The aqueous extract
of the leaves at the dose of 1200 mg/kg is capable of reducing the
thermal stimulation in the hot plate test at 55 °C and causes a
greater resistance to pain [67].
The antinociceptive effect of the hydroalcoholic extract of nettle
leaves was evaluated through the acetic-acid writhing test and
formalin-induced paw licking test. The results obtained show that
the hydroalcoholic extract significantly reduces in a dose-dependent
manner the nociceptive response in mice and rats. Flavonoids, the
caffeoyl malic acid and the caffeic acid could be responsible for these
analgesic properties [56].
Antiulcer properties
The protective effect of the nettle against gastric ulcers is dose
dependent. The aqueous extract of aerial parts, at doses of 50 and
200 mg/kg protected rats against gastric ulcer, with significant
protection rates ranging from 67.7 to 77.8%. Moreover, this extract
showed analgesic activity against gastric dilatation caused by acetic
acid [63].
Anti-infective properties
The antibacterial properties of various extracts of Urtica dioica
against different bacterial strains were identified by several studies.
In a study conducted on nine bacteria: Citrobacter koseri,
Enterobacter aerogenes, Escherichia coli, Micrococcus luteus, Proteus
mirabilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus,
Staphylococcus epidermidis, and Streptococcus pneumoniae, the
aqueous extract of aerial parts inhibited the growth of all these
bacteria except some strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa [63].
Another study on 38 microorganisms brought evidence of the
bactericidal effect of organic extracts of the aerial parts. These extracts
inhibited the growth of Acinetobacter calcoaceticus, Bacillus cereus,
Bacillus spizizenii, Bacillus subtilis, Citrobacter freundii, Entrobacter
aerogenes, Erwinia sp., Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae,
Micrococcus sp., Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Salmonella paratyphi B,
Serratia marcescens, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
(MRSA) and Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Phenolic compounds in the
nettle would be responsible for this antibacterial effect [68].
The antiviral activity of the nettle was evaluated in vitro [69]. The
selective and powerful inhibitory action of UDA on the intracellular
replication of HIV (HIV-l and HIV-2), respiratory syncytial virus
(RSV), and cytomegalovirus (CMV), was well elucidated [70].
The antimycotic activity on some pathogenic fungi (Alternaria alternata,
Aspergillus flavus, Candida albicans, Ceratcystis ulmi, Fusarium
oxysporum, Fusarium solani, Phoma exigua, Phytophthora carotovora,
Porphyromonas gingivalis, Microsporum cookei, Microsporum gypseum,
Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Trichoderma viride, Trichophyton
mentagophytes and Rizoctonia solani) was also confirmed [63, 71].
Furthermore, studies performed on the islets of Langerhans have
demonstrated the stimulatory action of nettle on insulin secretion,
accompanied by a decrease in blood sugar. Tests performed on
normal and diabetic rats after intra peritoneal injection of aqueous
extracts confirmed this result [73].
A study conducted to evluate the anti-diabetic activity in vivo
showed the hypoglycemic effect of aqueous extracts of leaves of
nettle on diabetic rats. These results are explained by the inhibition
of the intestinal absorption of glucose [72].
Intravenous injections of an aqueous extract of the aerial parts of the
nettle, using two concentrations: 4 and 24 mg/kg/h resulted in a
blood pressure drop of 15% and 38% proportionally to the
administered dose. This decrease was correlated with an increase in
diuresis and natriuresis. However, the hypotensive effect was
reversible after one hour if a low concentration (4 mg/kg/h) had
been used, while it persisted when using a high concentration (24
mg/kg/h) [74].
Moreover, root extracts tested on isolated pieces of vaso constricted
aorta showed a relaxant activity. This vasodilator effect is due to the
release of the endothelial nitrogen oxide, potassium channel opening
and a negative inotropic action [75].
Antihypertensive action
Effect on platelet aggregation
Several studies indicate that extracts of nettle strongly inhibit
platelet aggregation. The inhibitory effect of the aqueous extract of
the leaves on platelet aggregation induced by thrombin was clearly
demonstrated. Flavonoids are the main compounds involved in this
activity [76, 77].
Action on hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis
Daily administration of aqueous extract of Urtica dioica at 150
mg/kg for 30 d, either as part of a normal or high fat diet, caused a
reduction in serum lipids and lipoproteins. Significant decreases in
cholesterol and LDL/HDL ratio (Low Density/High Density
Lipoproteins) were observed [77].
Similarly, administration of an ethanolic extract to
hypercholesterolemic rats, using doses of 100 mg/kg and 300
mg/kg, was responsible for the decreased of cholesterol and LDL
levels [78, 79].
Whereas the LD50 of hydro-alcoholic extracts administered
intraperitoneally is 600 mg/Kg [82]. The toxic dose of the fixed oil of
nettle seeds is greater than 12.8 ml/kg [83]. For chronic oral
application in rats, the DL50 was 1.31g/kg (table 5).
Anti allergic activity
The anti-allergenic activity of the nettle is mainly due to two
mechanisms. In addition to its inhibition of histamine H1 receptors,
nettle inhibits tryptase, consequently reducing mast cell
degranulation and the release of proinflammatory cytokines [55].
In a randomized double-blind study with allergic patients having
allergic rhinitis, an improvement in symptoms was observed after
one week of treatment [80].
Toxicological studies have shown that the LD50 (median lethal dose)
of the aqueous extract of the leaves administered intraperitoneally
in mice is 3.5g/Kg [72]. While the LD50 of the hydro-alcoholic
extract of the leaves administered orally is 5.77 g/Kg [56].
Toxicity studies carried out on the roots have shown that the LD50
values obtained after intravenous injection of an aqueous extract
and an infusion of the roots to rats are respectively 1.721 g/kg and
1.929 g/kg [81].
Table 5: LD50 of different Urtica dioica
Animals tested
Administration routes
LD50 (mg/kg)
Fixed oil
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Int J Pharm Pharm Sci, Vol 7, Issue 10, 8-14
Modes of use and
Thanks to their high content of iron and trace elements, nettle leaves
infusions, tinctures or fresh juices are prescribed to treat anemia and
also for asthenia, convalescence and demineralization states. In
association with the marigold (Calendula officinalis) and curled dock
(Rumex crispus), nettle leaves are used for the treatment of chronic skin
conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and hives [85]. Nettle fresh juice has
a hemostatic effect on the skin and nasal bleeding. It also overcomes the
heavy periods or menorrhagias by reducing their flow [85].
use precautions
Nettle is used by oral and local routes. The most frequently used
preparations in herbal medicine are the total dry powder, dry
extracts, infusions, decoctions and the fresh nettle juice.
Orally, aerial parts are used as diuretics and also in the treatment of
arthritis, rheumatism and gout. Nettle teas are also used in the
treatment of rhinitis and seasonal allergies [84].
Used in mouthwash, nettle is also effective against oral infections
such as aphtha, gingivitis and tonsillitis [86]. External preparations
like fresh nettle poultices are used in cases of acne and to alleviate
arthritic and rheumatic pain [86].
Nettle preparations are also applied externally in hair care against
dandruff and oily hair. Furthermore, the nettle roots, alone or
associated with saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), are used as teas or
extracts in mictional disorders due to benign prostatic hyperplasia
The adherence to dosage recommendations is essential. The
recommended adult dosage of the dried aerial parts is 1.2 to 18g per
day. For fresh juice, the recommended dose is 15 to 45 ml per day.
Dosages for the dried root preparations are 0.3 to 24g per day.
Recommended dosages and frequency of administration for each
type of preparations are shown in table 6.
Table 6: Recommended doses of Urtica dioica extracts
Parts used
Recommended doses
Dried aerial parts
Dry powder
6 à 12 g,
8 à 12 g, 2 à 3
per day
2 à 5 g, 3
times daily
3 à 6 g, 3
times daily
times daily
6 à 12 g,
3 à 5 g, 1 à 3
per day
times daily
2 à 5 g, 3
3 à 6 g, 3
times daily
times daily
2 à 5 g, 3
times daily
Liquid extract
(Dry weight equivalent
6 à 12 g,
2 à 5 g, 3
per day
2 à 4 g, 3
times daily
times daily
1.4 à 2.8 g,
(Dry weight equivalent)
0.5 à 1g, 3
per day
0.4 à 1.2g, 3
times daily
times daily
Fresh aerial parts
15 ml, 1 à 3
Fresh juice
times daily
0.3 à 0.6 g,
Dry powder
4 à 6 g,
per day
per day
4 à 6 g,
per day
4 à 6 g, 3 à 4
times daily
4 à 6 g,
4 à 6 g, 3 à 4
per day
times daily
Liquid extract
1.5 à 7.5 g,
(Dry weight equivalent)
4.5 à 7.5 g,
per day
1 à 1.5g, 3
per day
times daily
Dry extract
2.1 à 8.4 g,
(Dry weight equivalent)
4.5 à 12.1 g,
per day
per day
Dried roots
3 g,
(Dry weight equivalent)
0.5 à 1g, 3
per day
1 à 1.5g, 3 à 4
times daily
times daily
Despite having anti allergic properties, nettle may cause allergies in
sensitive people. Some rare hypersensitivity reactions like hives,
itching, edema, oliguria and gastralgia have been reported [92, 93].
Furthermore, the use of nettle orally is contraindicated in pregnant
women because of the risk of abortion [94] and in children under 12
because of a lack of clinical studies in this area [1].
Notorious for its unpleasant irritant effects, stinging nettle is actually
rich in vitamins and minerals and possesses many medicinal
properties. During the last decades, several studies have focused on
the pharmacological properties and the analysis of the chemical
composition of this plant.
Although its potential benefits are still not entirely defined, many
studies have strengthened its claimed indications from traditional
medicine. Conducted in vitro and in vivo in animals, these studies
have indeed approved many of the nettle pharmacological effects as
antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, analgesic, anti-
ulcer, immunostimulating, anti-infectious, anti-hypertensive and
also as protective against cardiovascular diseases.
In addition, and in regard to its richness in protein, minerals and
vitamins, the stinging nettle provides a proven great nutritional value.
In the perspective of a large medical use, several clinical trials
conducted in humans, confirmed these pharmacological and
nutritional properties. And many toxicological studies proved that
nettle can be considered safe since significant doses, administered
orally in humans, showed no side effects.
Declared None
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2. Bhuwan CJ, Minky M, Ajudhia NK. Pharmacognostical review of
Urtica dioica L. Int J Green Pharm 2014;8:201-9.
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... Nettle has been used as a natural remedy for its healing properties for over 2000 years. However, it was not until the turn of the century that its medicinal potential was fully appreciated, beginning with the identification of the chemical structure and pharmacological qualities of the principal chemically active compounds (Said et al., 2015). For almost a century, they have been considered a food or portion of food that has therapeutic properties and is supposed to prevent and treat diseases (Pant, 2019). ...
... Formic acid, acetyl choline, serotonin, and histamine are thought to be present in the trichomes of the nettle (Singh and Kali, 2019). Some of its qualities include anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, immunological stimulatory, anti-infectious, hypotensive, anti-ulcer, and cardiovascular disease prevention (Said et al., 2015). Stinging nettle is also used as a source of bast fibers for textiles and is occasionally used in cosmetics (Das and Petruzzello, 2015). ...
... With a history stretching back over 2000 years, nettle has been used as a natural remedy for ages (Said et al., 2015). Medicinally, all plant components (seeds, leaves, and roots) are used (Jan and Singh, 2017). ...
Full-text available
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.) is a wild herbaceous perennial blooming plant that is commonly known as stinging nettle. It’s a common, multi-purpose crop that’s sometimes overlooked. Europe, Asia, North Africa, and North America are all home to stinging nettle. It is a plant that’s edible and has nutritional and medicinal properties. Young leaves can be used to make curries, herb soups, and sour soups. The root of the stinging nettle is used to treat mictional difficulties associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia, while the leaves are used to treat arthritis, rheumatism, and allergic rhinitis. Its leaves are abundant in fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidant compounds like polyphenols and carotenoids, as well as antioxidant compounds like polyphenols and carotenoids. Stinging nettle has antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, anti-infectious, hypotensive, and antiulcer characteristics, as well as the ability to prevent cardiovascular disease, in all parts of the plant (leaves, stems, roots, and seeds). Stinging nettle improves fish reproductive performance, making it a cost-effective aquaculture plant. Fertilizer and insecticides can be made from the plants. This review examines the nutritional and pharmacological aspects of stinging nettle, as well as its possible health advantages. Scientists, farmers, and academicians interested in stinging nettle collecting, cultivation, research, and development would find this review useful.
... The flowers are dioecious or monoecious, small, and are arranged in clusters on slender, branched spikes formed in the leaf axils. The fruits are small achenes containing tiny dark brown or almost black seeds(Joshi et al., 2014;Said et al., 2015). Nettle is widely used by the traditional medicinal practitioners for curing various diseases such as jaundice, menorrhagia, arthritis, nephritis, haematuria and rheumatism(Joshi et al., 2014;Said et al., 2015). ...
... The fruits are small achenes containing tiny dark brown or almost black seeds(Joshi et al., 2014;Said et al., 2015). Nettle is widely used by the traditional medicinal practitioners for curing various diseases such as jaundice, menorrhagia, arthritis, nephritis, haematuria and rheumatism(Joshi et al., 2014;Said et al., 2015). The plant has been reported having various pharmacological activities like anti-proliferative, anti-infectious, antibacterial, antioxidant, antiviral, immunomodulatory, hepatoprotective, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-colitis, anticancer, hypotensive, antiulcer properties(Joshi et al., 2014;Said et al., 2015). ...
... Nettle is widely used by the traditional medicinal practitioners for curing various diseases such as jaundice, menorrhagia, arthritis, nephritis, haematuria and rheumatism(Joshi et al., 2014;Said et al., 2015). The plant has been reported having various pharmacological activities like anti-proliferative, anti-infectious, antibacterial, antioxidant, antiviral, immunomodulatory, hepatoprotective, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-colitis, anticancer, hypotensive, antiulcer properties(Joshi et al., 2014;Said et al., 2015). The phytochemical investigations on Urtica dioica have revealed the presence of various phytochemicals including volatile compounds, fatty acids, flavonoids, terpenes, minerals, protein, vitamins, tannins, polysaccharides, isolectins and sterols(Joshi et al., 2014;Said et al., 2015). ...
Full-text available
The incidence of hypertension is very high in human societies and its treatment is the most important priority in many countries. Knowledge of the plants that are used may provide insight on their properties, for further exploration. This study aimed to collect the knowledge on traditional medicine for the treatment of hypertension in different regions of Morocco. We reviewed 145 research publications based on data from the six explored regions of Morocco published until August 2021 in various journals. This was achieved using literature databases: Google, Google Scholar, PubMed, Medline, Science Direct and Researchgate. The findings of this study indicated that 23 plants have been reported to possess antihypertensive activities in in vivo / in vitro experiments, while 81 plants had not been studied for such an activity. Plants from the Lamiaceae, Asteraceae and Apiaceae families were used most often. Leaves were the plant parts used most often. Decoction was the main preparation method. Twenty three plants have been explored experimentally for their antihypertensive activity. This review provides baseline data for plant species used to treat hypertension in Morocco and provides new areas of research on the antihypertensive effect of these plants.
... Studies have indicated the importance of using nettle, especially the vegetative part (leaves), as it was used as a nutritional supplement in poultry feed (5) to enhance the physiological and productive performance of hens (6). Nettle plant has a variety nutrients, including: antioxidants, vitamins (vitamin B complex, A, C, E, and K) (7,8), which are a necessary for the bird's resistance against diseases and stress, hemoglobin formation, and tissue growth (9), as well as being a good source of amino acids which is important in the bird's body growth such as lysine and glutamine and methionine (8). ...
... Also it contains several mineral salts such as calcium, iron, magnesium, cobalt, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and sodium (7). Also, it contains histamine, acetylcholine, serotonin, anticoagulants, formic acid, salicylic acid, thymol and carvacrol (8,10). ...
... The addition of nettle improved the blood picture, as it significantly increased the values of PCV, Hb and MCHC compared to the control group. These findings agree with the Al-Salihi et al. (5) and Hashemi et al. (11) who said that nettle plant contains several vitamins, minerals (vitamin C, A, E, B complex, iron, copper) (7,8), antioxidants (4) and formic acid, salicylic acid, thymol and carvacrol (8,10), which increases the absorption and metabolism of iron from the gastrointestinal tract, and activates the secretion of the erythropoietin from the kidney, which in turn stimulates the bone marrow to produce red blood cells and then increase the PCV and Hb (20). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The objective of this study is to find out the impact of the nettle plant (Urtica dioica L.) on broiler, because of its wide spread in our regions, and insufficient information about its effects on the broiler, as most of the current researches refers its uses in folk medicine. So, this research had been conducted to evaluate the effects of adding 0.25 and 0.5% crushed nettle/kg diet on the blood picture and some biochemical indices of broiler. 180 broiler chicks (Ross 308), one-day-old were randomly distributed into 3 groups (60 birds/group) with 3 replicates/group (20 birds/replicate), and treated until 42 days age as follows: 1st group (Control): standard diets without additives, 2nd group: 0.25% nettle/kg diet, 3rd group: 0.50% nettle/kg diet. Results showed that crushed nettle plant led to an increase in the values of packed cell volume, hemoglobin, mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, and it's shortened clotting time, as well as a significant increase (P≤0.05) in the number of basophils compared to the control group. In regard to the biochemical profile in the blood serum of broiler, most of biochemical indices values became better and significant when adding nettle (high-density lipoproteins, low-density lipoproteins, risk index, total protein, globulin, aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase). In conclusion, nettle can be given to broiler in these proportions to improve the hematological and biochemical indices due to its properties and contents.
... The high content of minerals in food enriched with nettle means that it can be used in diets for those at risk of osteoporosis or cardiovascular diseases. The fact that nettle contains significant amounts of vitamin C means that the iron contained in it will be characterized by increased bioavailability [23]. Table 3. Concentration of the ions in the raw materials and uncooked pasta samples. ...
... It is believed to have detoxifying properties and support cleansing of the digestive tract. In addition, it prevents flatulence and bad breath [23]. The literature data indicate that the content of chlorophyll and carotenoids in food products is positively and significantly correlated with antiradical activity. ...
Full-text available
Citation: Krawęcka, A.; Sobota, A.; Pankiewicz, U.; Zielińska, E.; Zarzycki, P. Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica L.) as a Functional Component in Durum Wheat Pasta Production: Impact on Chemical Composition, In Vitro Glycemic Index, and Quality Properties. Molecules 2021, 26, 6909. Abstract: Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.) is a good source of biologically active compounds with proven beneficial health effects. This study aimed to investigate the effect of nettle herb supple-mentation on chemical composition, including the content of selected minerals and pigments, the in vitro glycemic response, and the cooking and sensory quality of extruded pasta. Tagliatelle-shaped pasta was produced under semi-technical scale by partial replacement of durum wheat semolina with 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5% of lyophilized nettle. The partial substitution with freeze-dried nettle caused a statistically significant (p ≤ 0.05) increase in the content of minerals, especially calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium in the products. The calcium content in the pasta fortified with 5%-addition of stinging nettle was 175.9 mg 100 g −1 and this concentration was 5.8 times higher than in the control sample. At the same time, high content of chlorophylls and carotenoids (237.58 µg g −1 and 13.35 µg g −1 , respectively) was noticed. Enriching pasta with a 0-5% addition of stinging nettle resulted in a statistically significant (p ≤ 0.05) increase in the content of the total dietary fiber (TDF) (from 5.1 g 100 g −1 to 8.82 g 100 g −1) and the insoluble dietary fiber (IDF) (from 2.29 g 100 g −1 to 5.63 g 100 g −1). The lowest hydrolysis index of starch (HI = 17.49%) and the lowest glycemic index (GI = 49.31%) were noted for the pasta enriched with 3% nettle.
... In Portugal, there are 4 known species of nettle plant, Urtica dioica (Figure 1), Urtica pilulifera ( Figure 2), Urtica membranaceae ( Figure 3) and Urtica urens (Figure 4), whose distribution, habitat and flowering season are presented in Table 1. Urtica dioica is, nowadays, the most common species, however, they are all possess by the same properties, namely, analgesic and dermatological applications (Said, Otmani, Derfoufi & Benmoussa, 2015). Regarding textile main applications, such as fabrics and biocomposites, this specie is also the most common source, considering it has a more abundant growth not only in Europe but also in Asia and North America (Sett, et. ...
... As can be seen in Table 2, freeze-dried nettle leaves powder contained the highest amount of K, followed by the rosehip fruit, beetroot powder and mulberry leaves. According to the literature, nettle leaves [11] and rosehip fruit [45] are excellent additives for the development of enriched foods with an increased amount of potassium. The amount of K can range from 2590 to 3600 mg 100 g −1 for nettle leaves [46] and from 1110 to 4540 mg 100 g −1 for rosehip fruit [47]. ...
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Yogurt products are consumed by millions of people every day. Consumers’ priority for ready-to-eat yogurt snacks enriched with various plant raw materials have increased each year. Therefore, the aim of this study was to prepare freeze-dried yoghurt bites with the addition of powders of beetroot, mulberry leaves, nettle leaves and rosehip fruit and to investigate these raw materials’ influence on the proximate composition, mineral and total phenolic content. The moisture, protein, fat, carbohydrate and sugar content of the yogurt bites were established using standard methods: mineral composition—using an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS); total phenolic content—by the spectrophotometric method. The results demonstrated that the addition of different raw material powders to the formulation of yogurt bites had no significant influence on carbohydrate, protein and total fat amounts. However, the incorporation of powders of beetroot, mulberry leaves, nettle leaves and rosehip fruit in yogurt bites allowed a significant increase of the amounts of all investigated minerals and total phenolic content of the manufactured bites. Among all investigated yogurt bites, the highest amounts of K, P, Mg, Fe and Zn were determined for yogurt bites enriched with nettle leaves. In conclusion, the enrichment of yogurt bites with freeze-dried plant raw material powders can increase amounts of selected minerals and total phenolic content.
... The seeds are taken through oralroute for their galactagogue and aphrodisiac properties, as well as other common uses for tuberculosis and kidney stones. Aphthae, haemorrhoids, scabies, and pruritus are some of the external uses [26]. ...
Utricaceae is a family of herbs and shrubs that can be found in a variety of habitats around the world. A lot of research has been carried out till date targeted for close understanding of this medicinal plant. The botanical distribution, Ethnomedicinal applications, Traditional uses as well as Pharmacological properties of the Urtica genus, are discussed in this study. The composition such as flavonoids and array of phenolic compounds which includes alcohols, Diocanol, Diol glucosides, Terpenes diols, and sugars as well are an inclusion in the genus Urtica. A wide range of research reports have been published representing its biological and pharmacological potential against cancer, tumors, bacterial, viral or fungal infections significantly. The information about the Urtica genus has been extracted using electronic database search such as Google Scholar and Pubmed as well as a library search for peer-reviewed journal publications.
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Introduction: The Urtica dioica extract and quercetin have the ability to decrease the inflammatory response, through multiple mechanisms whose consequences are the reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines, IL-2, IL-1β, IFN γ, TNF-α and TNF-κ.
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Nettle is most often studied as a spinning plant, as a source of biochemicals and environmentally safe fungicides. Major studies are mostly conducted on natural samples and plant populations. Prospects for the use of plant biological resources of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.) from the Cretaceous south of the Central Russian Upland to create cultivars for a wide range of applications are considered. The aim of the study is to investigate the productivity of fresh weight and its biochemical composition in the variety of stinging nettle Avicenna, created on the basis of the initial material selected in the Belgorod region of Russia and patented in 2019, and new promising cultivars UD 32/06 and UD 12/16. The experiments were carried out by the split plot method with full randomization in four replicates. The cultivars UD 32/06 and UD 12/16 reliably surpass the Avicenna cultivar in the collection of fresh mass weight by 16.6–22.7% and 23.1 to 27.8%, dry weight by 11.4–28.7% and 1.9–32.7%, and seeds by 19.7–32.0% and 23.2–40.0% accordingly. Analysis of variance showed a significant effect of the factor “Cultivar” on the productive traits “Fresh weight yield” (strength influence 87.2%), “Dry weight yield” (strength influence 43.9%), and “Seed yield” (h2x = 61.6%). The content of crude protein in dry weight of the Avicenna and new varieties is 21.1–24.2%, crude fat: 2.5–4.2%, fiber: 12.0–14.8%. High content of ascorbic acid, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc were observed in all material tested. It is concluded that the biological resources of the wild-growing forms of Urtica dioica L. from the European south of Russia are a valuable source material for obtaining varieties, and varieties with high productivity of the aboveground mass and stable seed productivity. The obtained research results prove the usefulness of nettle cultivation.
Herbal teas can cause diseases, when their naturally high microbial load is not inactivated via proper brewing. Cold plasma as effective and gentle decontamination technique was investigated for dried peppermint, stinging nettle, and lemongrass. Microwave-driven plasma processed air (up to 7.5 min) significantly reduced total viable counts up to 1.6 log10 CFU/g (initial counts were 8.02, 7.43, and 7.44 log10 CFU/g for peppermint, stinging nettle, and lemongrass, respectively). Spore-forming bacteria, Enterobacteriaceae, yeasts, and molds were inactivated up to 2 log10 CFU/g. MALDI-ToF MS analyses showed a 30–100% reduction in microbial diversity as result of the plasma treatment. Color of most samples was visibly reduced in greenness and antioxidants, phenols, flavonoids, and free amino groups mostly decreased by plasma treatment. Overall, use of plasma processed air could be a suitable tool to decontaminate dried herbs at larger scale but has to be improved by testing different sources, gases, or times. Industrial relevance Cold atmospheric plasma can inactivate herb-associated microorganisms. Its possible effect on quality parameters such as flavor, color or phenolic content should be further studied and reduced, as particularly gentle decontamination processes that preserve the natural appearance of the food are accepted by the consumer. It seemed, that the intensity of the treatment can be reduced by pulsed plasma applications. There is great potential for application on an industrial scale. Peppermint seems to be the most suitable in this context, as it showed the highest microbial reduction together with low quality changes and is widely used, including in so-called cold brew teas, which require particular safety.
In our study, we aimed to investigate the acute toxicity and analgesic effect of Urtica dioica L fixed oil (UD) in mice, and its anti-inflammatory effect in rats. The acute toxicity of UD was tested for the increasing doses between 0.2 and 12.8 mL/kg. The anti-inflammatory effect was studied in carrageenan induced tissue inflammation model and the effect of two different doses of UD was compared with that of isotonic saline, ethyl alcohol, and indomethacin. The analgesic effect was evaluated by tail-flick response and the effect of UD was compared with that of morphine hydrochloride and isotonic saline. It was found that the reduction in inflammation was 95.70% with indomethacin (3 mg/kg i.p.), 47.40 % with 0.05 mL/kg UD i.p. and 56.97% with 0.15 mL/kg UD i.p. Both UD doses showed statistically significant anti-inflammatory effect compared to the control groups but weaker than indomethacin. UD showed no significant analgesic effect compared to the control group. Fixed oil of UD was non-toxic. Our preliminary data show that UD fixed oil extract has a mild anti-inflammatory effect but it is not analgesic or toxic in the dose range examined.
Urtica dioica L. belongs to the family Urticaceae, is a perennial herb commonly known as ′stinging nettle′. This herb is found in many South Asian Countries, Indian subcontinent and has been known in the world as a medicinal herb for a long time. U. dioica is widely used by the traditional medicinal practitioners for curing various diseases such as nephritis, haematuria, jaundice, menorrhagia, arthritis and rheumatism. Phytochemical studies revealed the presence of many valuable chemical compounds like phytosterols, saponins, flavanoids, tannins, proteins and amino acids. The plant also has been used as food, fiber, paint, manure and cosmetics. U. dioica has been reported to have various pharmacological activities like antibacterial, antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, immunomodulatory, hepatoprotective, anti-colitis and anticancer effects. The current review summarizes published information about the ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry, biological activities and toxicological reports of U. dioica. The present review summarizes all the research work carried out on this plant in order to provide updated information for future works.