Stinging+nettle - now there's an off-putting word combination if ever there was one! Not very welcoming or user-friendly. In my thesaurus, nettle is synonymous with words like annoy, pester, peeve, and disgust. As for stinging? Well thats just like adding fire ants to a swollen lip. So hows this for hilarity and irony: stinging nettle tea is actually a curative for your skin! [Read on after you stop chuckling.]
Stinging nettle is an herbaceous shrub native to colder regions of Europe and Asia.
A chemical on its hairy leaves can irritate and even sting normal healthy skin. Yet when these hairs or spines contact a painful rash, that same chemical can neutralize the pain from the rash.
Scientists speculate that the nettle chemical inhibits how the body transmits the pain signals. As a topical treatment nettle tea has soothed the irritation from eczema and insect bites, eased the discomfort from sprains and strains, and assuaged the frustration from oily scalp and hair loss.
Stinging nettle has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries with great success.
The ancient Greeks used the tea as both a mild diuretic and a laxative. It has also supplemented the treatment for arthritis, gout, and anemia.
Its rich supply of calcium and magnesium rivals that of spinach. Its also a healthy source of the flavonoid, quercetin, which is a vital antioxidant. Nettle also contains beta-sitosterol, which can help your heart absorb less dietary fat.
It has also been recommended for people with circulatory and respiratory problems, including asthma. There are anecdotal reports that nettle tea can alleviate the sneezing, itching, and watery eyes from seasonal allergies, but research findings remain inconclusive. And for help below the belt, nettle tea has reportedly relieved kidney stones, diarrhea, and urinary tract problems caused by an enlarged prostate.
Collecting and preparing your own stinging nettle leaves may cause more problems than you bargained for. After consulting your physician [especially if you're pregnant] consider purchasing nettle tea from your local health food store. Do your own research to make sure that the nettle tea doesn't interact with prescription medications or other herbs and cause negative side effects. Start slowly, drinking moderate amounts daily, as some stomach irritation may occur with excessive use.
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