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Nettle

The leaves of various species of epimedium have been used as the herb known as yin yang huo, which literally translates as horny goat weed, in traditional Chinese medicine. The various species grow naturally from southern central to northern coastal China as well as Korea. Other species of epimedium are found in many parts of the world, though their similarity to horny goat weed is uncertain.

Uses

For these conditions, treatment consists of tea made from 5 grams (1 tsp) simmered in 250 ml (1 pint) of water for 10 to 15 minutes, three times daily

Atherosclerosis
Horny goat weed has historically been used in people with symptoms caused by hardening of the arteries, in particular those recovering from strokes.

Erectile Dysfunction
Horny goat weed has long been used in traditional Asian medicine for people with sexual difficulties. It has been shown in

Botanical name: Urtica dioica
Nettle is a leafy plant that is found in most temperate regions of the world. The Latin root of Urtica is uro, meaning “I burn,” indicative of the small stings caused by the little hairs on the leaves of this plant that burn when contact is made with the skin. The root and leaves of nettle are used in herbal medicine.

Uses

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
120 mg of root extract (capsules or tablets) twice per day or 2 to 4 ml of tincture three times per day
A concentrated extract made from the roots of the nettle plant may increase urinary volume and flow rate in men with early-stage benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Osteoarthritis
Apply stinging nettle under the direction of a qualified healthcare practitioner
Stinging nettle has historically been used for joint pain and has been shown to be safe and effective for relieving the pain of osteoarthritis.

Hay Fever
0.5 to 8 grams daily
Taking nettle leaf may ease symptoms, including sneezing and itchy eyes.

How It Works

There has been a great deal of controversy regarding the identity of nettle’s active constituents. Currently, it is thought that polysaccharides (complex sugars) and lectins are probably the active constituents. Test tube studies suggest the leaf has anti-inflammatory actions. This is thought to be caused by nettle preventing the body from making inflammatory chemicals known as prostaglandins. Nettle’s root affects hormones and proteins that carry sex hormones (such as testosterone or estrogen) in the human body. This may explain why it helps benign prostatic hyperplasia. Although less frequently used alone like saw palmetto or pygeum, some limited clinical trials suggest benefit of nettle root extract for men with milder forms of BPH.

Nettle leaf also contains a variety of flavonoids, which may have antihistamine effects. A preliminary trial reported that capsules made from freeze-dried leaves reduced sneezing and itching in people with hay fever. Further studies are needed to confirm this finding, however.

The historical practice of intentionally applying nettle topically with the intent of causing stings to relieve arthritis has been assessed by a questionnaire in modern times. The results found intentional nettle stings safe, except for a sometimes painful, sometimes numb rash that lasts 6 to 24 hours. Additional trials are required to determine if this practice is therapeutically effective.

Side Effects

Nettle may cause mild gastrointestinal upset in some people. Although allergic reactions to nettle are rare, when contact is made with the skin, fresh nettle can cause a rash secondary to the noted stings. Nettle leaf is considered safe for use in pregnancy and breast-feeding.

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known interactions with this supplement.


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