Arthritic Conditions

Traditionally, nettle herb and leaf have been used to treat painful joint diseases, and scientific investigation now shows there is a demonstrable benefit with its use.

One randomised, double-blind crossover study involving 27 patients with OA pain at the base of the thumb or index finger compared topical applications of stinging nettle leaf with placebo, used daily for 1 week. After a 5-week washout period, treatments were then reversed. Nettle application used for 1 week showed reduction in pain and disability and produced significantly superior results to placebo (Randall et al 2000). An open study of 17 patients reporting beneficial effects with the nettle sting of U. dioica showed that a transient urticarial rash can be associated with topical use (Randall et al 1999). It is suspected that a countedrritant effect is chiefly responsible.

In a multicentre study of 152 subjects with degenerative rheumatic conditions, 1.54 g dried nettle herb extract produced a subjective improvement in 70% of cases after 3 weeks (Ramm & Hansen 1995).

Four other studies using a nettle-leaf extract reported that most subjects rated the treatment as good or very good (ESCOP 2003).

Commission E approved as supportive therapy for rheumatic ailments when used internally or applied externally (Blumenthal et al 2000).

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