Nettle - medicinal plant with tradition

The nettle is rather unpopular because it multiplies massively and hurts uncomfortable when touched. But as a medicinal plant, it has a long tradition and helps with rheumatism, cystitis and prostate problems. Historically, the nettle is a plant with a quite impressive career: The first poetic praise is given to the nettle by the Roman poet Catullus in the 1st century BC, who praised this plant after it cured his head cold and cough. Dioscorides, a Greek doctor of the 1st century AD, treated diseases with the stinging nettle, which she still uses today.

Nettle as a measuring tool

In the Middle Ages, the nettle served in the case of illness as a test of how seriously it was ordered to the patient. To do this, the plant was placed in the urine of the patient. If the stinging nettle remained green day and night, this indicated a speedy recovery, but it shrank, showing the severity of the condition.

Spread and types of nettles

The nettle family, the urticaceae, has more than 30 species. The large stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) grows to a height of 60 cm to 150 cm and, from a botanical point of view, has a special feature: it is a so-called dioecious plant, ie it has only male or female flowers. The small nettle (Urtica urens) is only 15 cm to 45 cm high and each plant has united in the flower female and male parts.

The genus name Urtica comes from the Latin "urere", which means "burn" means, dioica means the said "dioecious". Both species are distributed all over the world in the temperate zones. Especially the small stinging nettle grows almost everywhere - on paths, fields, meadows, screes and gardens. The plant blooms from early spring to late autumn with ears of small greenish flowers and is collected - flowering or not - from May to the end of July.

Stems and leaves are studded with burning hairs whose globular tips break off on contact with the fresh plant. Their ingredients (formic acid and pro-inflammatory substances) are released into the skin and trigger the typical burning and wheals. In view of this effect, the nettle has given its name to an allergic reaction of the skin: hives or urticaria.

Nettles for bladder and kidneys

In medicine, the plant parts of the large nettle are mainly used. The preparations from the leaves and the herb are slightly water-drenching, which is attributed to the high content of minerals, especially potassium. Therefore, the tea preparations of nettle leaves and herb as a water-secreting agent (diuretic) are suitable for flushing in inflammatory diseases of the urinary tract and renal seminal formation.

Nettles against rheumatism

The nettle owes its healing effect in rheumatism and inflammatory joint diseases to its content of caffeoyl-malic acid and unsaturated fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Standardized finished products are often of higher quality than the loose tea drug. Because the herb is often mixed with stem pieces that contain fewer ingredients. Nettle extract is well tolerated and can be taken over the long term to support anti-rheumatic treatment.

Nettle for the treatment of the prostate

The root of the nettle is suitable for the treatment of complaints at the beginning of benign prostate enlargement. It is unclear what ingredients work here: fatty acids, phytosterols or lekins. In most cases, finished medicinal products with a constant active ingredient content are used. However, these only remedy the discomfort, but not the enlargement of the prostate itself. Regular visits to the doctor are therefore important.

Preparation of nettle tea

Nettle tea helps to prevent bladder infections and kidney semolina and to treat them as supportive. Add 3 to 4 teaspoons of stinging nettle herb or leaves (about 4 g) with 150 ml of hot water and pour it through a tea strainer after 10 minutes. Drink a cup of freshly prepared tea three to four times a day. In general, in cases of discomfort of the urinary tract, attention must be paid to a sufficient supply of fluid. But beware: Patients with cardiac or renal weakness or water retention in the tissue may consume only a limited amount of fluid!

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