This flowering perennial can be found growing wild in the wastelands of the United States, Canada, and Europe. Nettles grow to a height of 30-50cm, and are covered in stinging hairs that cause skin irritation. The leaves are dark green, covered in hairs and sharply toothed. Nettle flowers (which appear in summer) are tiny, green and hang in dense clusters (female) or flower spikes (male).
The herb and leaf have several known therapeutic qualities: They fight inflammation, act as an antihistamine, and have a diuretic effect. Topical formulations of nettle herb juice have also been used to treat joint pain, as well as acne and other skin problems, and the herb has been explored as a treatment for premenstrual bloating (fluid retention).
Specifically, nettle root may also help to;
Fight infections and act as a tonic - the herb has immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties
Treat joint pain and reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis and rheumatism
Treat prostate problems - nettle root appears to be particularly useful for men with BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia), a condition in which the prostate gland gradually enlarges, slowly narrowing the urethra that drains urine from the bladder and ultimately causing urination difficulties. Study findings indicate that preparations made from nettle root specifically (not the stems or leaves) may relieve some of the early symptoms of BPH, including night time urination and residual urine. The root may do this by slowing the growth of the prostate. Nettle root extract, when blended with an extract of the herb pygeum africanum, may inhibit the hormonal changes that lead to BPH. In fact, herbal remedies for prostate enlargement frequently combine these herbs along with saw palmetto, another natural substance that has shown great promise in controlling BPH symptoms.