Nettle is perhaps best known as a highly nutritious feed herb/fodder for animals, and has been used through the ages for this purpose, occasionally even cultivated en masse and mown to provide â€˜hayâ€™ for milk cows. It is considered a spring tonic and detoxifier for human and animal alike. It is rich in chlorophyll, and is an excellent source of calcium, chromium, magnesium, zinc, cobalt, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, protein, riboflavin, selenium, silicon, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. No wonder then that nettle is such an appetiser, and conditioning, restorative tonic for horses. It is reputed to enhance coat shine and dappling, and, interestingly, is a folk remedy for hair loss (perhaps based on its reputation for enhancing circulation).
Nettle is diuretic (increases urine production) and has been helpful in eliminating uric acid from the body and thereby relieving the symptoms of gout. It is also approved for treating and preventing kidney stones.
Nettle has been shown to have a number of anti-inflammatory constituents which act via more than one pathway in the body. This anti-inflammatory activity, hand-in-hand with nettleâ€™s ability to reduce bleeding, has been applied to easing gastro-intestinal troubles, including inflammatory bowel disease.
Sufferers of arthritis (both osteo- and rheumatoid) have received significant benefit from using nettle. It can be taken internally or applied externally â€“ studies of both methods have shown relief of symptoms. Amazing results have also been seen when nettle is used as an adjunct to standard drug anti-inflammatory treatment. In one study, patients who took a combination of nettle and an anti-inflammatory drug substantially reduced the dose of the drug needed for pain relief. Only one quarter of the standard dose required to provide pain relief was needed when drug treatment was combined with nettle intake.
Nettle has a centuries old reputation for relieving the symptoms of nasal and respiratory ailments such as bronchitis, asthma and allergic rhinitis, as well as skin conditions such as eczema.
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