Introduction of Nettle:common nettle or greater nettle.

Popular Herbs. ✵The article gives records of the herb Nettle, its English name, Latin name, common names, property and flavor, its botanical source four plant species, ①.Urtica dioica L., ②.Urtia laetevirens Maxim.,③.Urtica fissa Pritz., ④.Urtica amgustifolia., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of these four plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of these four plant species, the features of the herb Nettle, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Nettle(common nettle).

Urtica dioica English Name: Nettle.
 Latin Name: Urtica dioica L.
 Common Names: common nettle, greater nettle, stinging nettle, wide-leaf nettle, narrow-leaf nettle, etc.
 Property and flavor: The smell is slight, the taste is light, slightly pungent.

 Brief introduction: This flowering perennial populates wastelands in USA(the United States of America), Canada, and Europe. Upon contact with skin or other surfaces, bristles on the dark green leaves spring into action something like tiny hypodermic needles, and cause quite a sting. Medicinal preparations made from the leaves, stems, and roots of nettle are used both internally and externally. Some of the information for nettle also applies to the small stinging nettle Urtica urens, and hybrids thereof. It is used for controlling female discomforts such as heavy menstrual periods and vaginal infections and boosting milk output in nursing mothers, as a hay fever remedy, diuretic, and for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Nettle lotions and teas are used to stop bleeding, help wounds heal, encourage hair growth, and lessen nerve pains and rheumatic aches.

 Nettle young shoots have been eaten as a vegetable and added to beer and other drinks and foods, the vitamin C-rich shoots were once used to treat scurvy. Nettle has been used as fodder for crops, as fiber for textiles, and as a source for dye in the form of chlorophyll.

 Botanical source: Common herbal classics defined the herb Nettle as the leaves and roots of the species (1).Urtica dioica L.,(2).Urtia laetevirens Maxim.,(3).Urtica fissa Pritz.,(4).Urtica amgustifolia., they are plant species of the Urtica genus, the Urticaceae family (nettle family). The leaves, stems and roots are used medicinally. These commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Urtica dioica L.

 Urtica dioica L:growing plants Botanical description: The plant grows from 60 to 150 cm high and has a hard rhizome. The leaves are opposite, oblong cordate, and roughly serrated. The whole plant is covered in stinging hairs.

 Urtica dioica L:growing plants The flowers are greenish-white in axillary, clustered, hanging panicles. The perigone has 4 tepals. There are 4 stamens and 1 ovary with a brushlike stigma. The flowers are dioecious. The male flowers have only stamens, and the female flowers have only a style or a seed-producing organ. The male flower consists of a perianth of 4 segments, which enclose an even number of stamens. The stamens curve inward in the bud stage and spring back at the end of flowering for the anthers to fling out the pollen. The fruit is a small single-seeded nutlet.

 Ecological environment: The plant is common in most temperate regions of the world.

(2).Urtia laetevirens Maxim.

 Urtia laetevirens Maxim:growing plants Botanical description: Urtia laetevirens Maxim is commonly known as wide-leaf nettle.

 Urtia laetevirens Maxim is a perennial herb, the stems grow to 40~100 cm high, covered by sparsely stinging and puberulent, unbranched or branched. Leaves are opposite; petiole is 1~3 cm long; stipules are 4 per node, free, sometimes more or less connate in the upper part, lanceolate; leaf blade is narrowly ovate or broadly ovate, 4~9 cm long, 2.5~4.5 cm wide, the apex is short tapering to long tapering, the base is broadly wedge-shaped or rounded, with sharp teeth or serrations on the edge, sparsely pubescent and hirsute on both sides, stalactites are short rod-shaped, sometimes are punctate; basal veins 3.

 Monoecious; male inflorescences grow in the upper leaf axils of the stem, about 8 cm long; tepals 4, stamens 4; female inflorescences grow in the lower leaf axils, shorter; Achenes are ovate, slightly flattened, up to 1.5 mm long. The flowering period is March to May, and the fruiting period is May to August.

 Ecological environment: Urtia laetevirens Maxim grows in mountain forests or ditch edges. The plant grows in North, WestNorth, upper reaches of the Yangtze river, southwest, Tibet, and other areas of China.

(3).Urtica fissa Pritz.

 Urtica fissa Pritz:growing plants Botanical description: Urtica fissa Pritz is a perennial herb, the stems grow up to 60~100 cm high, covered by stinging and recurved puberulent. Leaves are opposite; petiole length is l~7 cm; stipules connate, ovate; leaf blade is broadly ovate or nearly pentagonal, 5~12 cm long and wide, the apex is tapering, the base is rounded or shallow heart-shaped, nearly palmately lobed, the lobes are triangular, with irregular teeth, puberulent on the back surface and stinging along the veins.

 Monoecious or dioecious; male inflorescences grow up to 10 cm long, with sparse branches, under the female inflorescences when monoecious; male flowers are about 2 mm in diameter, tepals 4; female inflorescences are shorter, very short branches, female flowers are small, about 0.4 mm long, the stigma is brush-headed, the achenes are nearly spherical, flat, with fine pubescent hairs. Seeds have yellowish spots. The flowering period is from September to October, and the fruiting period is from October to November.

 Ecological environment: Urtica fissa Pritz grows in the grass or ditch beside the hillside roadside at an altitude of about 1,000 meters. The plant grows widely in the Yellow River area and Yangtze river area of China.

(4).Urtica angustifolia.

 Urtica angustifolia:growing plants Botanical description: Urtia angustifolia is commonly known as narrow-leaf nettle.

 Urtica angustifolia is a perennial herb, it grows up to 150 cm. Stems are upright, quadrangular, and stinged. Simple leaves are opposite; petiole length is 8~17 mm; stipules are linear, separated; leaf blade is oblong-lanceolate or lanceolate, 4~12 cm long, 1.2~2.8 cm wide, the apex is tapering, the base is rounded, margins thick serrated, with tips toward the apex of the leaf.

 Dioecious, inflorescences grow up to 4 cm long, multi-branched; male flowers are about 2 mm in diameter, perianth 4; stamens 4; female flowers are smaller than male flowers, 4 perianth segments, enlarged in fruit stage; the ovary is oblong, stigma is brush-head shape. Achenes are ovate, about 1 mm long, wrapped in the persistent perianth. The flowering period is from July to August, and the fruiting period is from August to October.

 Ecological environment: Urtia laetevirens Maxim grows on the edge of mountain forests or ditch. The plant grows in the North of China and other areas.

 Nettle:dried leaves Characters of herbs: Broad-leaf nettle is cut into short segments, varying in length, stems are 1.4~3.8 cm long, 1.5~4 mm in diameter, green to reddish purple, with obtuse edges, sparsely stinging hairs, and pubescent hairs, with opposite leaves on nodes, the leaves are green, shrunken and brittle. Inflorescences are spicate, shrunken, and several grow in axillary, with short peduncles. Achenes are dense, broadly ovate, slightly flattened, and about 1.5 mm long. The herb is light and soft. The smell is slight, the taste is light, slightly pungent.

 The herb of Urtica fissa Pritz is different from the last species: the leaves have 5~7 pairs of palmate lobes, and the lobes have triangular thick serrations. For the body, the stems and leaves are green.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.mild diuretic effect; ②.relieve BPH; ③.reduce hay fever symptoms; ④.lower blood sugar levels and control diabetes; ⑤.antifungal effects and viral inhibiting effects; ⑥.anti-inflammatory effect;etc.

 Nettle has a mild diuretic effect, taking the dried leaves will slightly increase urine output, it was recommended as a remedy for premenstrual bloating and venous insufficiency, chronic poor drainage of leg veins, for increasing urination to treat inflammatory conditions of the lower urinary tract, and to help prevent and treat kidney stones.

 Nettle is effective in relieving early symptoms of BPH (Benign prostatic hyperplasia), BPH is a noncancerous prostate enlargement that plagues millions of men around the world and can cause difficulties starting the urine flow, sensations of incomplete emptying, and other annoying complications. Nettle extracts suppress the growth of prostate cells as well as certain vital functions within them.

 Nettle reduces hay fever symptoms, including sneezing and itching.

 Nettle tea could lower blood sugar levels and help control diabetes, but some studies reported slightly increased blood sugar levels in rabbits fed nettle.

 The lectin nettle agglutinin has shown antifungal activity as well as the ability to bind chitin. Nettle agglutinin is a lactin with immunostimulating activity and the ability to bind to the epidermal growth factor receptor.

 Stinging nettle leaves extract and its main phenolic component, caffeic malic acid, show a strong concentration-dependent inhibition of cyclooxygenase-derived reactions.

 Medicinal efficacy: Nettle was used since ancient times for reducing congestion, coughs, and relieving asthma symptoms. It was also used to promote urine flow as a diuretic, encourage menstruation, control diabetes, and stimulate and soothe the body as a general tonic. It was used by Native American tribes to aid delivery and stanch uterine bleeding.

 In Europe, the herb nettle flowering plant is approved for infections of the urinary tract, kidney and bladder stones, and rheumatism. The herb stinging nettle root is approved for prostate complaints, and irritable bladder.

 Administration of Nettle (common nettle): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Nettle (common nettle)
Herbal classic books and TCM Books: Dosage: As a diuretic, nettle is taken in an infusion made by steeping 3 to 4 teaspoons, about 4 to 6 grams of leaves and stems in 150 ml of boiling water, drunk three to four times a day along with additional water. One to two 480 mg leaf capsules is taken two to three times a day. A common dose of the root is 4 to 6 grams per day in the form of a decoction, 1 teaspoon of powdered root equals about 1.3 grams. The average daily dose of stinging nettle flowering plant is 8 to 12 grams of herb, one cup several times daily as a diuretic. To prepare an infusion of stinging nettle root, use 1.5 grams of the coarsely powdered herb in cold water, heat to boiling point for 1 minute, then steep, covered, for 10 minutes, and strain.
 Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions:Nettle appears to be relatively safe to use for most ailments, however, one needs to stick to typically recommended dosages. The FDA placed nettle on their formerly maintained list of "Herbs of Undefined Safety", some nettle tea or preparations in large amounts can cause stomach upset, urine suppression, burning sensations on the skin, and other uncomfortable reactions. Pregnant women should avoid oral formulations altogether, just to be safe, in rare cases, nettle causes allergic reactions.

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