The stinging nettle plant, or Urtica dioca, is an herbaceous shrub that grows worldwide in areas with nitrogen-rich soil. Many of its parts are used in natural medicine, and the stinging nettle root has pharmacological properties that are different from those of the leaves. The root is consumed in several forms, including tea, creams and tincture form, which is a solution of the root in alcohol. The stinging nettle root is used to help the painful symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and its related problems, as well as joint pain. It also is used as a diuretic and an astringent.
When used in a combination with saw palmetto, stinging nettle root can be very effective at relieving pain caused by BPH. This condition is caused by an enlarged prostate pressing on the urethra. Men who have BPH experience a wide variety of ailments.
The stinging nettle root has testosterone and estrogen, and it works to slow the growth of prostate cells. Consuming a stinging nettle root tincture can ease the symptoms of painful urination, post-urination dripping, irritable bladder and nighttime urination. Other BPH symptoms include too frequent urination or the inability to urinate.
Stinging nettle root can also ease joint pain, such as sprains and strains. For this type of treatment, the root is typically applied in cream form. Some people also use the root tea leaves to create hot and cold compresses to be applied directly to the affected area.
The leaves of the stinging nettle plant were used by the ancient Greeks as a laxative and diuretic. In modern times, the root is also used as a diuretic. This type of alternative medicine treatment is typically from the root in tea form. It might assist people who suffer from water retention and poor circulation.
The root tincture is sometimes applied directly to scrapes and scratches on the skin. It acts as an astringent because it can help shrink or constrict skin tissue, which reduces blood flow to the affected area. Stinging nettle root tincture is used on insect bites as well.
People who are interested in incorporating stinging nettle root into their alternative medicine practices should consult with their doctors first. Many of the treatments have not been scientifically proved, and there could be adverse reactions if it is taken for long periods. It might be unsafe to take during pregnancy, because it could stimulate contractions and cause a miscarriage.