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Stinging Nettle leaf tips may be collected safely early in the spring before the irritating bristles develop. They can safely be cooked as a vegetable or added to salads as a good source of beta carotene, calcium, potassium, and vitamins C and K.

The entire top part of the plant is cut and dried just after the flowers bloom for use in herbal preparations. Most of the irritating chemicals are removed by drying the plants.

Used for hundreds of years, stinging nettle today is used in connection with rheumatism, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia. It is also used in connection with kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and urinary problems during the early stages of enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH).


During the allergy season, two to three 300 mg nettle leaf capsules or tablets can be taken three times per day. For BPH, 120 mg of a concentrated root extract in capsules can be taken two times per day. However, talk with your health care professional before taking nettle for BPH and related conditions. There are several products for BPH that will combine nettle root with saw palmetto or pygeum extracts. These should be considered before taking a pure nettle leaf supplement.

This herb is not recommended for children.


Always use as directed. Be careful if you are handling the nettle plant for you may get hives or a rash with skin contact. Mild side effects include gastrointestinal irritation, excess fluid, or decreased urine flow. Do not take if you are pregnant or nursing. Stinging nettle can also change the menstrual cycle. Always check with your health care provider if you have questions or concerns.

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