Stinging nettle is an herb used for medicinal purposes. It was originally the native of Europe, Asia, northern Africa, and western North America.
However, it is now found all over the world. The plant gets its name due to the stinging sensation produced when the skin comes in contact with it.
This sensation is produced due to the fine hairs present on the leaves and stems. These hairs contain irritating chemicals and when the skin comes in contact with it, these chemicals are released and they produce an irritating sensation.
Stinging nettle has been used in herbal medicine for centuries. It has numerous medicinal properties and provides a natural cure for many diseases. Its leaves and roots are used in various preparations. The most common form is the stinging nettle tea.
However, even the best of things are beneficial only if taken moderately. If taken in excess, it can cause problems. So, it is important that you take precautions while consuming stinging nettle in any form.
Stinging nettle is safe to consume for up to 2 years when taken by mouth or when applied to the skin in the correct manner. However, it might also cause stomach complaints and sweating in some people. On touching the stinging nettle plant, you may get a tingly and stinging feeling. Stinging nettle is can prove dangerous to consume during pregnancy.
It can stimulate uterine contractions and this might lead to a miscarriage. It is also advisable to avoid the use of stinging nettle while you are breast-feeding. There has also been proof that the above ground parts of stinging nettle which means the leaves, stem, etc. can decrease the blood sugar levels.
This can further lower the blood sugar levels in people who suffer from diabetes and related diseases. So, if you have diabetes and are still consuming stinging nettle, it is advisable that you should constantly monitor your blood sugar levels to avoid any complications.
However, stinging nettle might cause a considerable reduction in the blood pressure of people who are prone to low blood pressure problems. If you suffer from low blood pressure problems, to avoid any trouble later, it is better that you discuss the pros and cons of consuming stinging nettle with your healthcare provider before you start taking it on a regular basis.
The above ground parts of stinging nettle have also been seen to increase urine flow and hence stinging nettle acts as a diuretic. If you suffer from any kidney related problems, you should first discuss the risks involved in consuming stinging nettle with your healthcare provider before starting it.
It can cause serious complications if it is taken without any instructions. Stinging nettle can also affect the blood’s ability to clot, and can possibly interfere with the blood-thinning drugs such as Warfarin (Coumadin), Clopidogrel (Plavix) and Aspirin.
The consumption of stinging nettle should be avoided if you are taking anti-inflammatory drugs as well. It has also been seen to cause digestive discomfort in some people.
Avoid using stinging nettle if you find that you are allergic to the plant. Conclusively, though stinging nettle has many medicinal benefits, it is important to take proper precautions in consuming it and make it a point to consult your healthcare provider when in doubt.