Urtica dioica herb and extract supplement health benefit - Stinging Nettle herb research studies and review of medical uses
Feb 28 2014

Urtica dioica is a flowering plant, also known in the United States as "7-minute-itch." Urtica dioica is an herb with stinging hairs found in the United States mostly in forests, mountains, weedy, undisturbed areas and roadsides. Extracts of the Urtica dioica roots have been used in Germany for prostate health, joint disorders and respiratory health. See prostate saw palmetto for more information on herbal treatment for prostate enlargement. Urtica dioica is the botanical name for stinging nettle herb. It does not seem to be an effective erectile dysfunction herb.

Urtica dioica for allergic rhinitis
Nettle extract Urtica dioica affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis.
Phytother Res. 2009. Roschek B Jr, Fink RC, McMichael M, Alberte RS. HerbalScience Group LLC, Naples, FL, USA.
Urtica dioica extract shows in vitro inhibition of several key inflammatory events that cause the symptoms of seasonal allergies. These include the antagonist and negative agonist activity against the Histamine-1 (H(1)) receptor and the inhibition of mast cell tryptase preventing degranulation and release of a host of pro-inflammatory mediators that cause the symptoms of hay fevers. The Urtica dioica extract also inhibits prostaglandin formation through inhibition of Cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1), Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and Hematopoietic Prostaglandin D(2) synthase (HPGDS), central enzymes in pro-inflammatory pathways. These results provide for the first time, a mechanistic understanding of the role of Urtica dioica extract in reducing allergic and other inflammatory responses in vitro.

Urtica dioica for prostate enlargement
Urtica dioica appears to be helpful for prostate enlargement.

Urtica dioica for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study.
J Herb Pharmacother 2005. Safarinejad MR. Department of Urology, Urology Nephrology Research Center, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
A 6-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, partial crossover, comparative trial of
Stinging Nettle with placebo in 620 patients was conducted. At the end of 6-month trial, unblinding revealed that patients who initially received the placebo were switched to Urtica dioica. Both groups continued the medication up to 18 months. By intention- to-treat analysis, at the end of 6-month trial, 232 (81%) of 287 patients in the Urtica dioica group reported improved LUTS compared with 43 (16%) of 271 patients in the placebo group. Serum PSA and testosterone levels were unchanged in both groups. A modest decrease in prostate size as measured by transrectal ultrasonography (TRUS) was seen in Urtica dioica group (from 40.1 cc initially to 36.3 cc). There was no change in the prostate volume at the end of study with placebo. At 18-month follow-up, only patients who continued therapy, had a favorable treatment variables value. In the present study, Urtica dioica have beneficial effects in the treatment of symptomatic BPH. Further clinical trials should be conducted to confirm these results before concluding that Urtica dioica is effective.

Urtica dioica leaf extract has antiplatelet activity
Inhibition of rat platelet aggregation by Urtica dioica leaves extracts.
Phytother Res. 2006. El Haouari M, Bnouham M, Bendahou M, Aziz M, Ziyyat A, Legssyer A, Mekhfi H.
Laboratoire de Physiologie et Ethnopharmacologie, UFR 'Physiologie et Pharmacologie', Département de biologie, Faculté des sciences, Université Mohamed Premier, Oujda, Morocco.
Platelet hyperactivity plays an important role in arterial thrombosis and atherosclerosis. The present study was undertaken to investigate the effects of different extracts of Urtica dioica leaves on platelet aggregation. Rat platelets were prepared and incubated in vitro with different concentrations of the tested extracts and aggregation was induced by different agonists including thrombin (0.5 U/mL), ADP (10 microm), epinephrine (100 microm) and collagen (5 mg/mL). The crude aqueous extract inhibited thrombin-induced platelet aggregation in a dose-dependent manner. It is concluded that Urtica dioica has an antiplatelet action in which flavonoids are mainly implicated. These results support the traditional use of Urtica dioica in the treatment and/or prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Urtica Dioicia side effects
No significant urtica dioicia side effects
have been found in studies that tested this herb for up to 2 years.

No Allergy to Urtica dioica ?
Allergenic proteins in Urtica dioica, a member of the Urticaceae allergenic family.
Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2006. Vega-Maray AM, Fernández-González D, Valencia-Barrera R.
Department of Vegetal Biology (Botany), Faculty of Biology, University of León, Spain.
Allergy to the pollen of flowering plant species significantly affects the health of people in many parts of the world. Pollens of related genera usually share common antigens and are often, but not always, cross-reactive. Several studies have shown that Parietaria pollen is one of the most common causes of pollinosis in the Mediterranean area, whereas Urtica has no allergenic significance. We report on the localization of Parietaria judaica major allergen in Urtica dioica pollen grains and on the detection of allergenic proteins in Urtica dioica pollen grains during the hydration-activation process. A combination of transmission electron microscopy and immunocytochemical methods was used to locate allergenic proteins in Urtica dioica pollen grains. Conclusions: Immunocytochemical methods confirmed the absence of cross-reactivity between 2 related genera, Parietaria and Urtica, and the lowest allergenic potential of Urtica dioica.

Use of lupin, Lupinus perennis, mango, Mangifera indica, and stinging nettle, Urtica dioica, as feed additives to prevent Aeromonas hydrophila infection in rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum).
J Fish Dis. 2010. Awad E, Austin B. School of Life Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK.
Abstract Feeding rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum), with 1% lupin, Lupinus perennis, mango, Mangifera indica, or stinging nettle, Urtica dioica, for 14 days led to reductions in mortality after challenge with Aeromonas hydrophila. In addition, there was significant enhancement in serum bactericidal activity, respiratory burst and lysozyme activity in the treatment groups compared to the controls. Use of lupin and mango led to the highest number of red blood and white blood cells in recipient fish, with use of stinging nettle leading to the highest haematocrit and haemoglobin values; the highest value of mean corpuscular volume and haemoglobin was in the control groups and those fed with stinging nettle.

Insulin mimetics in Urtica dioica: structural and computational analyses of Urtica dioica extracts.
Phytother Res.. Domola MS, Vu V, Robson-Doucette CA, Sweeney G. Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Urtica Dioica (UD) is a plant shown to reduce blood glucose levels upon oral ingestion; however, neither its active component nor its mechanism of action has been identified. One active fraction of this extract, termed UD-1, was separated by molecular sieve column chromatography and purified by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). While UD-1 did not stimulate insulin secretion in glucose-responsive MIN6 clonal beta-cells, chronic exposure (24 h) significantly enhanced glucose uptake ( approximately 1.5-fold) in L6-GLUT4myc myoblast cells. Using HPLC and MALDI-TOF, we further purified the UD-1 fraction into two fractions termed UD-1A and UD-1B. Computational and structural analyses strongly suggested that the antidiabetic component of UD-1 was due to one or more structurally related cyclical peptides that facilitate glucose uptake by forming unique glucose permeable pores. The structure and function of these glucose-conducting pores are discussed herein.