Herbal ingredients have always been a popular choice in supplements for many reasons. For starters, they are naturally derived. This makes them safer for consumption and more trustworthy. This is due to the fact that natural ingredients are typically free from any foreign chemicals and harmful additives. Secondly, most natural ingredients are basically herbs, and have been used for ages for their potential health benefits. As such, extensive research has been conducted to analyse all those health benefits. Gradually, herbal ingredients end up being used in health supplements for their many advantages.
About Nettle Leaf Extract:
One of the most potent herbal ingredients that has been widely used in health supplements in recent times is the nettle leaf extract. This extract is derived from the leaves of the plant Urtica dioica, also known as the stinging nettle. This plant has been a crucial part of ancient medicine for centuries in different parts of the world. Be it pain relief of warming, nettle leaf extract has been used for various applications.
You must be curious about why the plant is known as ‘stinging nettle’. Well, the leaves of the plant have hair-like projections on the surface, which on contact with the skin can cause a burning sensation along with itchiness, irritation or rashes. However, on proper processing of the leaves, one can easily use nettle leaves for consumption. This processing involves various drying and cooking procedures.
The nettle leaf extract has been identified to possess several health benefits by various scientific studies. This article provides an insight into all the research that has gone into creating evidence for these health benefits and presents the dosage, side effects and ways to consume nettle leaves. This will give the reader a clear idea of why this herbal supplement is so widely used.
Health Benefits of Nettle Leaf Extract
High nutritional value
Nettle leaf extract contains a large number of nutrients which includes all the essential amino acids, useful fats, vitamins A, B, C and K, minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium, flavonoids and polyphenols. Research has provided evidence for the presence of all of these nutrients in nettle leaves.
Studies have revealed that many of the nutrients present in nettle leaf extract act as antioxidants. These antioxidants help to protect your cells against damage by free radicals. This functionality of nettle leaf extract to protect against free radical damage shields your body from the harmful signs of aging and other diseases.
As an anti-inflammatory agent
It is a well-known fact that inflammation is a natural response from your body to fight against infections. However, studies have shown that chronic or sustained inflammation can be harmful to the body.
Fortunately, research has shown that nettle leaf extract can reduce the risk of chronic inflammation. Several laboratory experiments have demonstrated that nettle leaf extract inhibits the functionality of inflammatory hormones by blocking out their production.
Helps to deal with arthritis
Studies have revealed that applying a cream made of stinging nettle helped to reduce pain caused by arthritis.
Another similar study showed that subjects who took nettle leaf extract reported better pain relief for arthritis when compared to pain relievers.
Treatment of enlarged prostate
Reports show that around half of men over the age of 50 have an enlarged prostate gland. This condition is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and studies are still on to find out what exactly causes this condition. Passing urine becomes extremely painful in these cases.
Some animal studies have shown that nettle leaf extract can potentially reduce the risk of BPH by preventing the synthesis of dihydrotestosterone from testosterone.
Research has provided evidence of the fact that stinging nettle can safely deal with urination issues.
Useful in the treatment of Hay Fever
When the lining of your nose develops inflammation and you experience a severe allergic reaction, then the condition is known as hay fever.
Laboratory studies have demonstrated that nettle leaf extract helps in dealing with hay fever.
Lowers blood pressure
Studies have successfully used nettle leaf extract to successfully lower high blood pressure. Research has demonstrated that nettle leaf extract helps in boosting the production of nitric oxide (NO) in the human body. Nitric oxide works by dilating the blood vessels, resulting in enhanced flow of blood throughout the body.
In addition, stinging nettle has been shown to ease the muscular contractions of the heart.
As such, the consumption of nettle leaf extract promotes good cardiovascular health.
Controls blood sugar levels
Extensive research on both humans and animals have demonstrated that the intake of nettle leaf extract lowers blood sugar levels. Further studies have also indicated that many constituents of stinging nettle can imitate the functionality of insulin.
An experimental trial conducted over a duration of 3 months displayed that an intake of 500mg of nettle leaf extract reduced the blood sugar levels in a certain number of subjects.
All the above stated health benefits have a strong research backing to support them. The following health benefits still require extensive studies. But nonetheless, the potential certainly exists.
Reduces blood loss
Studies have shown that medicines containing nettle leaf extract can reduce bleeding to a considerable extent.
Promotes the health of the liver
Research has shown that the consumption of nettle leaf extract helps to protect the liver against damage from toxins.
Promotes the healing of wounds and burns
There is no recommended dosage for stinging nettle. Nettle leaf extract is traditionally available in the form of dried or frozen leaves, creams, ointments and pills.
Coming to the stinging nettle plant, you can brew tea from the dried leaves and flowers.
The other parts of the plant can be put into soups and dishes.
You should take care to not consume the fresh leaves as it might irritate your mouth.
Though there is no recommended dosage as such, the use of the nettle leaf extract for certain health conditions should be governed by your medical doctor.
Consumption of the dried or frozen leaves is safe.
You should completely stay away from consuming the fresh leaves as they can cause rashes and irritation to the skin and mouth.
If you are allergic to nettle leaves, you should absolutely avoid its consumption at all costs since it might be fatal.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not consume any form of stinging nettle. There is too much of risk associated with it if you are pregnant or lactating.
In all cases, stinging nettle or its supplements should only be consumed after a thorough medical consultation with your doctor.
Nettle leaf extract is truly one of the most potent herbal ingredients to be used in supplements. Basically, all parts of the plant can be put to some use or the other. We can vouch for the fact that dishes containing nettle are delicious!
However, due to the possibility of side effects stemming from its consumption, you are strongly advised to seek your doctor’s consultation regarding it. If you are cleared to try the stinging nettle, we can assure you that it is going to be totally worth it.