Q. I was intrigued to read that stinging nettle can be used for allergies and enlarged prostate. I do not suffer from those conditions, but years ago we carefully picked wild stinging nettles with clippers, dropping the nettles into a large paper sack. Once home, we dumped them into a sink full of cold water and then cooked them. Believe me, they tasted much better than spinach!

A. When stinging nettles contact the skin, their tiny hairs cause acute pain, redness and irritation. For many centuries people have eaten nettles as a vegetable as well as using them for medicine. Once cooked, they no longer sting and people find them very tasty. Stinging nettles are also used to treat arthritis, bladder infections and kidney stones.

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  1. steve
    United States

    I have an enlarged prostate and have tried several prescribed medicines, which help, but the side effects make me miserable, so I don’t take them. during the last few years when doing yard work during the spring, my painful urinations go away. Obviously something growing in my yard has some beneficial effects or possibly my body’s production of histamine creates some self remedy, anyone have similar experience? When my allegies kick in at other times of the year I also have a lessening of painful urination

  2. DL

    I can’t speak for stinging nettle but beta-Sitosterol was recommended to my spouse by his medical doctor for enlarged prostate. Pycnogenol with L-Arginine have also been studied with promising results. Likewise, quercetin and bromelain would appear to have been studied more for treating seasonal allergies. Holy Basil is good for asthma, in my experience. Some people also report good results from the digestive enzymes “Serrazimes”, used to thin down mucus associated with chronic cough, asthma and sinus congestion.

  3. Aubrey

    I have terrible seasonal allergies and live in North Carolina where it’s green and beautiful, but allergy season is brutal – at least until I discovered nettles tea. I have tried every allergy drug there is, I’ve done allergy shots, I tried local honey, but nothing was working anymore. Until I asked an herbalist what I should take and she recommended nettles tea. Seriously, it is a miracle herb! I couldn’t believe that something so simple changed my life. I have to say that I do have to eat more healthy as well – no refined sugar, low gluten, enough protein. But it’s worth it if every area of my face doesn’t itch. Anyway, try it. It totally worked for me!

  4. kris w.

    I used this to counteract a rash around my mouth caused by a mango. I had an initial benefit, but then after the mango swelling decreased, broke out in hives that have lasted a week now. It is so, so, SO horrible. I am trying to use calamine lotion and antihistamine Tylenol PM, but that is not controlling it.

  5. Patrick S.

    I buy organic, dried nettle leaves (sold in one-pound bags) from a company on the internet. From the same company, I get bags of dried peppermint leaves. I combine the two herbs and make a great tea which I drink iced. I usually make a big vat of the tea at one time (it lasts about 4-5 days refrigerated).
    Regardless of how much I make, I add about twice as much peppermint as I do nettle leaves. This still amounts to a good amount of nettle in each glass of the tea (I like strong tea). I have always liked peppermint tea, but I think the two herbs together are actually much better than plain peppermint tea–and definitely better than tea made from nettles alone (which is kind of disgusting, IMO).
    In addition, for die-hard folks on the site: you can order seeds on amazon and grow your own nettle plants. Further, on that same site you can find Peppermint-Nettle tea for sale; apparently it’s somewhat common in the UK.

  6. TW

    I drink nettle tea. It is for digestion. My nutrition store gets it in for me. I had reflux terribly and from my readings, this is the tea that would help me. I love it. It is an acquired taste.

  7. CAB

    Paul43, I can assure you that stinging nettles do occur in some parts of the north. I live in Oregon and got into some stinging nettles while hiking last summer. Ouch!

  8. pc

    It’s the stinging nettle root extract that is used for shrinking the prostate. It may work but some men may find it causes back pain same as Flomax. That’s what my hubby found out. He never has back pain so we know it was from these.
    I rather think the 1000 mg pumpkin oil & pygenum 100 mg we are trying now is helping the nightly symptoms.
    If you search out mothernature.com you can read parts of James Dukes book on natural remedys for the prostate.

  9. Paul43

    Do they just grow in the South–never heard of them up North?

  10. JMF

    Is there any remedy that actually shrinks the prostate gland?
    Thank you.

  11. JMF

    Does this actually help to shrink the enlarged prostate, and/or is there any remedy that does? Thanks.

  12. CG

    I have been taking 300mg capsules of stinging nettle 2-3 times a day (depending on time of year) – primarily for allergies and secondarily for enlarged prostrate.
    I have suffered miserably for years with allergies living in the desert and previously had to stay pumped with antihistamines on a daily basis which I didn’t feel were helping my blood pressure. Went to nasal sprays but didn’t like the steroids included in these.
    But once I started my stinging nettle routine, I have only had to resort to antihistamines during really bad allergy outbreaks or when I have a cold bug.
    Wonderful little herb!!

  13. Patric F.

    Can these nettle’s be purchased in the market’s produce area? I’ve never seen them on display before.

  14. Dee

    What cooking method did you use? How did you remove them from the sink and
    put them into a cooking pot without touching them? Have they been made into capsules or pills available in health food stores?

  15. Alice

    I have been taking commercially produced stinging nettle capsules for years. I have year round allergies and I have chronic post nasal drip. This causes me to have a productive cough. 15 minutes after taking the nettle capsules, the coughing stops. I have taken many over the counter meds such as Zyrtec,etc which work for a limited time. As their are restrictions on how much one can take, I suffer after a time. With the Nettle, I take it as many times as I begin coughing again.

  16. Sue

    Wow, did not know they could be eaten. My sister said it is the only thing that helped her scalp dermatitis recently.

  17. Cindy B.

    I take one capsule in the a.m. of stinging nettles and another {if I remember it} in the evening. It really does help with allergies for me. I don’t have as much trouble with a stuffy nose as long as I take it. ~ Cindy

  18. T Allyn

    Stinging nettles were known as a “Spring tonic” by old timers in the NC mtns because that is the best time to harvest the upper leaves, before flowering. They grow in thick patches in the woods. Deer also eat the tops in the Spring.
    They are best harvested by respectfully pinching off the tender tops. If you are stung, Nature has a way of offering a complete medicine cabinet in the woods: burdock always grows where stinging nettles grow. If you should develop a stinging itch from them, crush a leaf of burdock and rub it on the affected area – the pain and itch will disappear!
    Some people call nettles wild spinach. It is delicious whether boiled, steamed, or “killed” (sauted in olive oil). The water used in boiling them is a wonderful hair tonic, esp for oily hair, and is also good as a skin wash. Nettles water can be used as an antiseptic, too. Nettle root can also be wild crafted and used.

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