Stinging Nettle for Aches and Pains and Arthritis

Did You Know…this prickly plant can soothe pain as effectively as prescription pills?

It may seem improbable that a plant known as stinging nettle would have the ability to soothe sore joints, but studies show that’s exactly what nettle does.

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) earns its name thanks to the tiny, stiff hairs that cover it.  These hairs release irritating chemicals when touched—but strangely enough, when applied to a painful area of the body, nettle soothes the pain quickly and safely.

Treating Pain—Externally and Internally 

Studies on the use of nettle to treat arthritis and sore muscles have been small in scale, but the findings are quite promising:

When participants in a study on joint pain were asked to evaluate the effectiveness of nettle, 94% said the treatment had been “very helpful.”

Several participants even considered themselves cured!

Scientists have suggested two potential explanations for why the topical use of nettle alleviates pain:

  • Nettle reduces levels of inflammatory chemicals
  • Nettle disrupts the body’s transmission of pain signals

Stinging nettle can also work internally to treat pain.  An open, multi-clinic trial compared nettle to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for the treatment of arthritis.  The trial, which enrolled 219 patients, showed nettle could bring about similar reductions not only in pain but also in immobility.

A separate study compared nettle to a prescription pain reliever, and once again, nettle proved to be the drug’s equal.

Half the study’s participants took the full 200 mg dose of the drug, while the other half took only 50 mg of the drug in combination with stewed nettle leaf.

Using both objective and subjective measures, the researchers showed that the combination of nettle and 1/4 the standard dose of the drug was just as effective as the full 200 mg dose.  The authors noted that it was highly unlikely that 50 mg of the drug would produce “such a profound effect,” especially considering that prior research had shown 75 mg was unable to relieve arthritis pain.

No Denser Nutrition on the Planet 

There is no denser source of nutrition on the planet than nettle, not even bluegreen algae.  In addition to the full spectrum of vitamins it contains, nettle is also rich in critical trace minerals such as anti-cancer selenium… immune-enhancing sulfur… memory-sharpening zinc… diabetes-thwarting chromium… and bone-fortifying boron.

Despite the wealth of nutrients it offers, nettle tends to be quite reasonably priced.  The most cost-effective option is to purchase several ounces at once.  Susun Weed, a natural health and herbal medicine expert, recommends consuming at least an ounce of nettle in order to access its true power.  Weed gives the following recipe for a nettle infusion:  “Measure out one ounce of the dried herb.  Boil a quart of water.  Put the dried herb into a quart jar and fill to the top with the boiling water.  Stir with a wooden spoon and add water until the jar is full to the top.  Lid tightly and set aside to brew for at least four hours, or overnight, whichever is easier for you.”