Pregnancy Use

Use of nettle during pregnancy is contraindicated because of its effects on hormones (WHO 2003).

PRACTICE POINTS/PATIENT COUNSELLING

• Preliminary research has demonstrated anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antiviral activity for nettle.

• Several test tube studies have shown that it reduces prostate cell proliferation and slows the progression of prostate cancer in both an in vivo model and in vitro system.

• The aerial parts are most commonly used to relieve symptoms of arthritis, whereas the root is used for BPH symptom relief, and both uses are supported by clinical evidence.

• Application of nettle leaf for 1 week reduced pain and disability in arthritis under double-blind test conditions.

• One double-blind study found that nettle reduced symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

• Studies using nettle root in combination with saw palmetto or pygeum have shown positive results in BPH.

ANSWERS TO PATIENTS' FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What will this herb do for me?

Nettle leaf appears to reduce pain in OA when applied topically for 1 week, whereas oral preparations of nettle root alone or in combination with saw palmetto or pygeum reduces symptoms of BPH. Internal preparations of the leaf reduce symptons in arthritis and may also reduce symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

When will it start to work?

Topical applications of the leaf in OA have been shown to work after 1 week, whereas benefits in BPH require at least 28 days' treatment. Are there any safety issues?

Local application of nettle can be irritating and cause contact urticaria, but preparations taken internally seem generally well tolerated.

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