Ancient Egyptians used nettle infusions to treat pain associated with arthritis and lumbago (lower back pain). Doctors in medieval Europe used it widely as a diuretic and to treat joint pain. Thanks to its rich vitamin and mineral content, traditional herbalists have used it to treat scurvy, anemia and lack of energy.
The bright-green leaves of stinging nettle reveal the high chlorophyll and iron content of the herb. Rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, silicon, sulfur, copper, chromium, zinc, cobalt and phosphorus, as well as vitamins such as A, C, D, E and K, stinging nettle treats specific medical conditions and benefits a user's overall health.
Widely used to treat BPH in Europe, stinging nettle relieves urinary problems associated with the condition, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMC). Because it also contains natural antihistamine properties, the herb helps relieve itching and sneezing in hay fever sufferers. In addition, because it's got high levels of potassium, calcium and magnesium, stinging nettle may help relieve gout symptoms, according to Arthritis Today magazine.
How to Make Stinging Nettle Tea
For a fresh infusion, carefully snip the light-green tips of the nettle plant using gloves and collect them in a bowl. Wash the leaves and chop them using a pair of scissors. Bring water to boil in a kettle or a pot; add the nettle leaves to the boiling water. Let the leaves steep in hot water for at least 10 minutes to remove the sting. Strain the leaves and enjoy. Substituting dried leaves instead of fresh ones also makes an excellent tea. Drinking three to four cups a day provides optimal benefits, according to the UMC.
Handle the nettle plant with extreme caution---it may cause an allergic rash. While herbs like stinging nettle have a long, safe history of medicinal use, they can sometimes interact with other herbs and medications and cause unwanted side effects, according to the UMC. The center also recommends using nettle infusions to treat BPH only after a positive diagnosis (its symptoms sometimes mimic those of prostate cancer).