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Therapeutic Plants & Materials Herboveda Series: 16 Nettle root The prostate Protector Origin The Nettle plant, technically called as Urtica Dioica, is  a herbaceous perennial flowering plant native to Europe, Asia, northern Africa and North America. Historically, Nettle    had been used to treat cough, tuberculosis and other respiratory conditions, including allergic rhinitis.  Widespread use had been recorded as far back as the Late Bronze Age, or between 1570 and 1200 BC.  In the bronze age Nettle was used as fabric. Records indicate that Julius Caesar’s troops  use  nettles to keep them awake and alert during  difficult campaigns between 58 and 45 BC.  In France,   in the medieval times,  nettle was  used  in their production of paper, among many other items. In Europe     leaves were used in  many recipes from salads and soups to  beer.  The Nettle plant Urtica  dioica, is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant whose common name is ‘Stinging Nettle’.  These plants grow to a height around 3 ft. Basically the nettle is considered a weed.  Nettle plants posses a creeping roots which are yellow in colour. The leaves have a strongly serrated margin. The  leaves and stems are hairy, with both stinging and non stinging hairs which act like a needle when touched, injects a mixture of histamine and formic acid thus causing the irritation. This provides chemical defense against herbivorous animals.  Due to this reason, gloves and a knife or scissors are used when harvesting.  The flowers  are in full bloom between early summers to early autumn.  The fruit is an achene (1 to 1.25 mm long), enclosed by large perianth segments. Urtica urens can be distinguished by its annual habit, smaller size, smaller leaves and is monoecious (containing male and female flowers in separate clusters) The root and rhizome are long, creeping and yellowish in colour. Phyto chemistry  Nettles contain a significant number of biologically-active compounds •	The “stinging” hairs and leaves of this plant contain histamine, serotonin, acetylcholine and 5-hydroxytryptamine, compounds that typically are the cause of allergic symptoms. •	The leaves are rich sources of terpenoids, carotenoids and fatty acids, as well as of various essential amino acids, chlorophyll, vitamins, tannins, carbohydrates, sterols, polysaccharides, isolectins and minerals. •	The roots contain oleanol acid, sterols and steryl glycosides.  •	Higher quantities of proteins  are available  in the leaves than in the stems and roots.   •	Fresh leaves contain high concentrations of vitamins A, C, D, E, F, K and P, as well as of vitamin B-complexes. They also contain  large amounts of the metals: selenium, zinc, iron and magnesium. Urtica leaves in addition contain boron, sodium, iodine, chromium, copper and sulphur.   •	Fresh nettle leaves contain smaller amounts of sterols and higher concentrations of flavonol glycosides. The leaves of the plant also contain carotenoids, mainly  beta carotene, violaxanthin, xanthophylls, zeaxanthin, luteoxanthin and lutein epoxide.  •	Leaves also contain some amounts of Terpene diols, terpene diol glucosides, alpha-tocopherol, as well as five monoterpenoid components •	Stems and roots contain larger amounts of calcium than magnesium. However, roots have low quantities of bio-active compounds.  contain starch, gum, albumen, sugars and resins, as well as neurotransmitters and receptors, such as histamine, acetylcholine, choline or serotonin. •	The element cobalt is also present in the Nettle plant. Cobalt content  is  higher in leaves than in stems and roots •	Nettle plants also contain anti-microbial compounds like miconazole nitrate, amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, ofloxacin and netilmicin, that are effective against Gram-positive & Gram-negative bacteria infections.  Traditional and  modern Applications and Uses Nettle has been in traditional medicine for long, while modern medicine is also exploring  various therapeutic applications. Let us see a few: •	Dried extracts of leaves are often recommended  in the cases of  allergies such as Allergic rhinitis. •	Nettle root tea is used in treating cough and throat irritation. •	For long Nettle leaf extracts have been in use in the treatment of Asthma. helps to expectorate phlegm and to raise the imposthumed pleurisy.  •	Nettle extracts are used as bladder irrigants (Flushing the bladder), to reduce blood loss and inflammation in bladder. For commercial fiber production, stinging nettles should be harvested when the seeds are mature or when the stalks reach 80% of the aboveground biomass, from the second year of planting
Health Scan: November 2019 - www.healthscan.biz
Herboveda Series: 16