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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]
Nutritional constituent
Min (%)
Calories (kcal/
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
1. Ghedira K, Goetz P, Jeune L. Urtica dioica L., Urtica urens et ou
hybrides (Urticaceae). Phytothérapie 2009;7:279-85.
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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... Stems and leaves of U. dioica are nutrient rich containing large amount of protein and a variety of essential amino acids, which make it as a useful choice for food and herbal treatments (Singh and Sharma, 2011). Furthermore, it has a variety of active ingredients, i.e., U. dioica lectins, polysaccharide, and flavonoids, which can produce antioxidant and anticancer effects at certain concentrations by promoting apoptosis of cancer cells and enhancing expression of pro-apoptotic proteins to exert anti-tumor effects (Wang and Pantopoulos, 2011;Abdeltawab et al., 2012;Said et al., 2015). For almost a century, they have been considered as food materials or a part of them having the ability to prevent and treat diseases (Pant, 2019). ...
... For almost a century, they have been considered as food materials or a part of them having the ability to prevent and treat diseases (Pant, 2019). They are currently being used with remarkable success in various areas such as makeup (Das and Petruzzello, 2015), medicine (Said et al., 2015), healthcare, plant pesticides (Sapkota and Shrestha, 2018), and immune stimulants (Di Virgilio et al., 2015;Grauso et al., 2020;Maricǐcé t al., 2021). It has been reported that the appropriate inclusion of U. dioica in animal diet can alleviate gastrointestinal motility disorders in ruminants and improve their immunity, which ultimately improves feed conversion and economic efficiency. ...
... Upon feeding at proper inclusion rate, U. dioica L. can positively affect the growth and development of livestock due to its nutrient-rich profile. It contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and several other minerals (Said et al., 2015). Likewise, it has low sodium content, which is advantageous for growth and development of an individual. ...
Full-text available
Several members of family Urticaceae are mainly found in the temperate and subtropical zones of the Northern Hemisphere and are important medicinal plants. Among them, Urtica dioica L. (Urticaceae) is an annual or perennial herb that has been used for feeding and medicinal purposes since long time and is the most exploited species of Urticaceae. Recently, it has received attention to be used as animal feed, as its fresh leaves fed to animals in moderate, dried, and other forms. This review details the advantages of U. dioica as an alternative feed in terms of germplasm specificity, nutritional composition, and feed application status. Its roots, stems, leaves, and seeds are rich in active ingredients. It has also been found to have anticancer effects through antioxidant action and promotion of apoptosis of cancer cells. In shady conditions, U. dioica is highly adaptable while under stressful conditions of drought; it also reduces light absorption and ensures carbon assimilation through light energy conversion efficiency. Therefore, it can be added to animal diets as a suitable feed to reduce costs and improve economic efficiency. This paper investigates the feasibility of using U. dioica as a feed and systematically presents the progress of research and exploitation of U. dioica .
... In this connection, U. dioica was also studied alone and in combination as a remedy against benign prostatic hyperplasia thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties [20][21][22]. Moreover, its role in preventing the development of cardiovascular disease has been explored [11,[23][24][25][26]. Additionally, U. dioica extracts have been investigated as potential anti-infective agents, also capable of ameliorating allergy symptoms and lowering skin irritability [27,28]. ...
Full-text available
Urtica dioica is a perennial herb from the family of Urticaceae that is commonly known as stinging nettle. This plant is widespread in Europe, Africa, America, and a part of Asia, as it adapts to diferent environments and climatic conditions. The leaves, stalk, and bark of U. dioica found applications in the feld of nutrition, cosmetics, textile, pest control and pharmacology. In this connection, bioactive chemical constituents such as favonoids, phenolic acids, amino acids, carotenoids, and fatty acids have been isolated from the plant. With this review, we aim at providing an updated and comprehensive overview of the contributions in literature reporting computational, in vitro, pre-clinical and clinical data supporting the therapeutic applications of U. dioica. Experimental evidence shows that U. dioica constituents and extracts can provide neuroprotective efects by acting through a combination of diferent molecular mechanisms, that are discussed in the review. These fndings could lay the basis for the identifcation and design of more efective tools against neurodegenerative diseases.
... The schematic interaction of this bivalent lectin is represented by Saul et al. [21]. However, review studies on the biological importance of U. dioica have highlighted a diversity of therapeutic values of UDA in immunomodulation, inhibition of microbial or viral pathogens, and anti-proliferative activity on cancer cells, implying its surprising potencies in glyco-targeting sciences [23,24]. In this context, UDA has been shown to disrupt EGF receptor activity in human benign prostatic hyperplastic lesions [25] and to more likely initiate the apoptotic cascade via EGFR binding [26]. ...
Full-text available
Background Current angiogenesis inhibitors target cellular vascularization processes, including proliferation, migration, and tube formation. In this study, we investigated the impact of Urtica dioica agglutinin (UDA) on the cellular vascularization process. Methods and Results: Various concentrations of UDA were applied to normal (HUVEC, MCF-10 A, and HDF from humans, and L-929 from mice) and cancer (A431 and U87 from humans, and 4T1 from mice) cell lines at different times. The MTT, cell migration assay, differentiation of endothelial cells, expression of VEGF-A/VEGF-R2, and integrin α2 were evaluated. The MTT results demonstrated that UDA was non-toxic to normal cells while inhibiting the growth of neoplastic cells. The migratory capacity of HUVECs and U87 glioblastoma cells was inhibited by UDA in the wound repair model. This lectin inhibited HUVEC-induced vessel sprouting in the collagen-cytodex matrix. In addition, UDA treatment reduced VEGF-integrin cross-talk in HUVECs, confirming the anti-angiogenic activity of this molecule. Conclusions: Based on our findings, UDA may have an effect on cancer cell proliferation and vascularization events while causing minimal toxicity to normal cells via binding glyco-conjugates containing GlcNAc/man oligomers like EGFR. This is a blue clue for the angiogenesis-related therapeutic importance of UDA.
... Due to growing concerns regarding the potential negative environmental effects of transgenic crops, the present study aimed to develop safe and effective techniques for non-transgenic antiviral resistance against CMV in Capsicum chinense Jacq. This investigation employs a non-transgenic RNA-based vaccine that has been shown to be effective against invading plant viruses such as TMV, ZYMV, and BCMV [25,29,54,[58][59][60][61]. Holeva et al. [23,24] first described RNA vaccination against CMV in tobacco, followed by Borah et al. [7] in pepper. ...
Weed control is one of the most challenging chores in agriculture which accounts for a significant portion of the cost of output. The use of mechanical devices for weed extraction reduces the cost of labor and saves time. However, a mechanical device is rarely used in the northeastern part of the country. The reason may include the undulated terrain condition, lack of awareness and technical knowledge, and poor economic conditions. To help farmers in rural areas overcome their challenges, a low-cost portable device for uprooting and eliminating weeds has been developed. A rolling wheel with spikes on the periphery at the front end and a fixed rake at the back end make up the developed tool's working mechanism. The fixed rake's function is to ensure that all weeds left behind by the rolling wheel are eliminated. As a result, there's a high probability that weeding efficiency could be improved when compared to currently available tools.KeywordsNortheasternLow costRuralPeripheryFixed rake
... From the study, it was noted that significant consumption of U. dioica products ranges from food to medicine. One of the distinguishing reasons for the high consumption of U. dioica as food and herbal tea is it's widespread in many countries, especially in the Morocco, and its high digestibility together with the high mineral contents of U. dioca leaves [20]. ...
... Fatty acids, terpenoids, phenolic compounds, and volatile compounds were discovered in leaves, roots, seeds, and stems [27]. Furthermore, the nettle supplement (powder/ extract) contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including both fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K and water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C and the B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, and B9) (Supplementary table 1) [28]. ...
Full-text available
Aquaculture will become an important food production sector for humans in the coming decades. However, disease outbreaks can be considered a significant obstacle to continually developing aquaculture. Plant powders and extracts are natural feed additives that, due to their bioactive compounds, including phenolic compounds, proteins, vitamins, and minerals, have antistress, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal effects on fish. One of these herbs is nettle (Urtica dioica), which has a long history of being used in traditional medicine. While it has been widely investigated in mammalian medicine, few studies have been done on aquaculture species. The positive effect of this herb on the growth performance, hematology, blood biochemistry, and immune system of fish species has been observed. When fish were exposed to pathogens, nettle-fed fish showed a higher survival rate and less stress than controls. Therefore, this literature review is aimed at reviewing the use of this herb in fish diets and its impacts on growth performance, hematology, blood biochemistry, liver enzymes, immune system stimulation, and challenges with pathogens.
... The plant Urtica dioica L. contains distinct classes of natural restorative mixtures, including phytosterols, saponins, flavonoids, tannins, sterols, fatty acids, carotenoids, chlorophylls, proteins, amino acids, and vitamins. It is a very nutritious plant, easy to digest, and rich in minerals (especially iron), vitamin C and pro-vitamin A (Said et al., 2015). In Morocco, these medical and nutritional data remain poorly explored, and the applications of nettle are being increasingly neglected both in the culinary field and in the medical and veterinary areas (Dhouibi et al., 2020). ...
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Citation: M'hamdi Z., Sabiri M., Elhourri M., Amechrouq A. (2023) Thermal analysis and determination of the heavy metal content of the plant Urtica Dioica L. by atomic absorption spectroscopy, Mor. Abstract: Today, medicinal plants are still the primary reservoir of new drugs. They are considered an essential source of raw material for the discovery of new molecules needed for the development of future remedies. Among these plants, we find Urtica dioica L., which belongs to the Urticaceae family. It is a perennial herbaceous plant commonly known as "nettle" it has been reported to have various pharmacological activities like antibacterial, antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer effects. In the present work, we are interested in one hand, in valuing this plant which was harvested from the region of Meknes, by thermal and gravimetric analysis ATD/ATG to determine the loss of mass as a function of temperature. This phenomenon was confirmed by the calcination technique in a muffle furnace at different temperatures (110°C and 300°C, 600°C). on the other hand, after the calcination of the plants, detection of the heavy metal content by an atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) technique was performed. The results obtained showed simultaneously high concentrations of Ca, K, Na, Li, and Cd and low concentrations of Pb, Ni, Cu, and Zn.
... Therefore, MHCs are considered as receptors for UDA in T cell activation and the structural characteristics of this bivalent lectin furnish the possibility of its dual binding to MHC-I and II to amplify their signaling [22]. The schematic interaction of this bivalent lectin is represented by Saul et al [21].However, review studies on the biological importance of U. dioica have highlighted a diversity of therapeutic values of UDA in immunomodulation, inhibition of microbial or viral pathogens, and antiproliferative activity on cancer cells, implying its surprising potencies in glyco-targeting sciences [23,24]. In this context, UDA was found to disrupt the EGF receptor activity in human benign prostatic hyperplastic lesion [25], and trigger the apoptotic cascade also more probably through binding to EGFR [26]. ...
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Background Cellular vascularization processes including proliferation, migration, and tube formation are selectively the purpose of current angiogenic inhibitors. In this study, we investigated the impact of Urtica dioica agglutinin (UDA) on the cellular vascularization processes events. Methods and Results Different concentrations of UDA were treated on various normal (HUVEC, MCF-10A and HDF from human and L-929 from mouse) and cancer (A431 and U87 from human and 4T1 from mouse) cell lines at different times. The MTT, cell migration assay, differentiation of endothelial cells, and expression of VEGF-A/VEGF-R2 and integrin α2 were evaluated. The MTT results demonstrated that UDA was non-toxic on normal cells whereas this lectin was able to prevent the growth of neoplastic cells. The migratory capacity of HUVECs and U87 Glioblastoma cells was inhibited by UDA in wound repair model. This lectin was a preventive agent for HUVECs-induced vessel sprouting in Collagen-cytodex matrix. Also, down-regulation of the VEGF-integrin cross-talk in HUVECs under the UDA treatment confirmed the anti-angiogenic activity of this molecule. Conclusions Based on our findings, UDA may have an effect on the proliferation of cancer cells and vascularization events with minimal toxicity on normal cells through binding glyco-conjugates which bear GlcNAc/Man oligomer like EGFR. This is a blue clue for the angiogenesis-related therapeutic importance of UDA.
Four major lifestyle diseases (LD), viz. cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic lung diseases, and diabetes, are increasing rapidly and causing loss of human life and productivity worldwide, particularly in rural areas due to the lack of availability and accessibility to healthcare facilities in resource crunched areas. This increasing LD burden demands dietary strategies to prevent and treat such diseases. The present study has reviewed the secondary metabolites of several leafy vegetables, their role in human health, and how different species pose specific promise w.r.t the prevention/cure of diseases. It also makes a framework to establish how processing and cooking methods might affect the uptake and absorption of several biomolecules. Among 521 species of leafy vegetables, more than 100 leafy vegetables are documented with their compositional and functional details. In the model, to assess the bioavailability of the secondary metabolites in leafy vegetables, we considered two discrete classes based on their absorption properties, i.e. water soluble and lipid soluble. Also, cooking techniques like drying, boiling, steaming, and frying were simulated in the present work. However, the proposed framework gives a relative value to select better processing methods for leafy vegetables. Therefore, the current communication illustrates a strategy to harness the protective role of leafy vegetables, especially in rural areas.KeywordsLifestyle diseaseLeafy vegetablesProximate compositionConsumption pattern
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Throughout human history, there have been several pandemics that caused a huge loss to humanity. Most famous of these include the 14th-century black death (estimated 75-200M deaths) 1918 Spanish flu ( 50M) 1957-58 swine Flu (estimated 2M) 1968 Hong Kong flu (estimated 1M) 2009-10 Swine flu ( 150 000-500,000), etc. Responding to or planning for a pandemic is a complex process. The most important global pandemic preparedness indicators take account of prevention for the emergence or release of the potential pathogens, early detection and assessing their expansion, emergency response, global risk mitigation, strong healthcare system, commitment to improving national capacity in compliance with the global needs an overall assessment of country’s vulnerability to risk/biological threat. The COVID-19 has proved that more work needs to be done for preparedness and countermeasures of possible pandemics. At the same time, in the era of information technology, one has to use social media for the good of humanity. Unfortunately, the use of social media has been counterproductive in the current pandemic. UNESCO estimates that over 1.5 billion students in 165 countries are out of school due to COVID-19. The pandemic has forced the global academic community to explore new ways of teaching and learning, including distance and online education. This has proven challenging for both students and educators, who have to deal with the emotional, physical, and economic difficulties posed by the illness while doing their part to help curb the spread of the virus. The future is uncertain for everyone, particularly for millions of students scheduled to graduate this year who will face a world crippled economically by the pandemic. To deliberate upon the gigantic role of scientists, researchers, medical practitioners, policymakers, students, media, etc. and to arrive at possible strategies, AASSA-PAS Webinar Series 2021 on Pandemic Preparedness: Science and Countermeasures were organized jointly by the Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS) and the Association of Academies and Societies of Sciences in Asia (AASSA) with the support of InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) consisting of four (04) webinars each covering a specific theme of the current pandemic scenario/situation and scheduled on April 27, 2021, May 4, 2021, May 25, 2021, and June 24, 2021. The webinar series has provided an opportunity to share lessons learnt among the participating countries and scientists about the Covid-19 and its relation to sustainable development goals; Strategy of the current issues, challenges while facing pandemics; and the increasing awareness about the preparedness of the future pandemics. Use of emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence Applications in Tracking Health Behaviors during Disease Epidemics and Encouraging the use of ICT technologies and social media for tackling the spread of misinformation regarding different aspects of the pandemic were discussed besides Pandemic: Bio-safety & Biosecurity and Ethics. In total, 48 lectures were delivered in the AASSA-PAS Webinar series 2021 by leading experts. Of these, eighteen (18) lectures were presented by the international speakers and thirty (30) lectures were presented by the Pakistani speakers. The resource persons in the Webinars were leading foreign experts from different countries i.e., Australia, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates (UAE), USA, and Vietnam. More than 2000 national and international participants registered for participation in the AASSA-PAS Webinar series 2021. These include 748 participants in Webinar I, 760 participants in Webinar II, 428 participants in Webinar III, and more than 300 in Webinar IV.
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.