Nettle extract is taken from the leaves or the root of the stinging or common nettle plant, many species of which grow around the world. The extract can be ingested as a dietary supplement in pill or tincture form, and it is believed to have several possible health benefits. The plant contains dense levels of vitamins and minerals and can act as a diuretic. Anti-inflammatory agents in the extract could have a number of positive effects for individuals with ailments from arthritis to eczema to allergies. Nettle root extract is commonly recommended for men, as it has shown an ability to increase testosterone levels and decrease the effects of an enlarged prostate.
In terms of nutrient density, nettle extract has been compared to spinach. Those who are anemic may find the extract’s high levels of iron a helpful supplement. The plant also contains the green pigment chlorophyll. In human bodies, chlorophyll may have many positive effects such as an increase in oxygen to the blood stream and a decrease in free radicals.
Nettle extract often has the effects of a diuretic. Individuals with urinary tract problems are usually prescribed diuretics because they stimulate the bladder and decrease painful bloating. Likewise, women who suffer from the physical aspects of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) often take diuretics in order to relieve swelling and retention in the reproductive system. Nettle extract is thought to help with all of these issues. One should remember to increase the intake of electrolytes when using any form of diuretic.
Active ingredients in nettle extract have shown an ability to attack inflammatory agents that bond to joints and cause swelling and pain. For this reason, nettle leaf has been used to treat rheumatism and various forms of arthritis. It should be noted, however, that no government drug administration has seen sufficient evidence that the extract should be prescribed by doctors as medication.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or swelling of the prostate gland, is a common occurrence for middle-aged and older men. This condition can have various negative effects on a man’s ability to urinate or to control the timing and frequency of urination. In vitro studies have suggested that nettle extract could not only reduce the symptoms of BPH, but over time, it could also decrease the size of a swollen prostate.
Individuals who wish to increase testosterone levels may sometimes take nettle supplements. Those who take steroids for health or physical performance typically see a decrease in testosterone levels. Nettle extract could counteract this effect.