Updated: Jun 5
If you think nettle is just a weed, think again!
This amazing plant might be stingy, but it comes with a powerhouse of skin benefits having been an important ingredient in herbal medicine for centuries, dating back as far as Ancient Greece.
Its scientific name, Urtica dioica, comes from the Latin word uro, which means “to burn,” because its leaves can cause a temporary burning sensation upon contact.
It’s a member of the mint family and grows best in nitrogen-rich soil and blooms from June to September. Stems are upright and rigid and reach a height of 0.6 to 2m tall. Leaves are heart shaped, finely toothed, and tapered at the ends, and the flowers are yellow or pink. The entire plant is covered with tiny stiff hairs, mostly on the underside of the leaves and stem. These hairs act like needles, injecting histamine and other chemicals when touched by humans or animals, creating a stinging sensation.
When nettles come into contact with a painful area of the body, they can actually decrease the original pain. Scientists think nettle does this by reducing levels of inflammatory chemicals in the body, and by interfering with the way the body transmits pain signals.
Nettle has extraordinary anti-inflammatory properties, it is renowned for its natural ability to calm irritation and can be exceptionally helpful in easing skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Its rich histamine content along with; chlorophyll, oxyacetylene and iron make it a wonderful remedy for easing itchy skin.
Studies have shown nettle is effective against bacterial infections.
Since it kills off fungi and bacteria, nettle is truly effective against microorganisms that may lead to inflammation and acne. It fights infections, such as pimples, eradicating and preventing them from recurring.
Boasting a high concentration of polyphenols, nettle acts as a powerful antioxidant ensuring an optimal amount of free radicals when used in skincare. Besides a firming effect, it also keeps fine lines at bay working as a great anti-aging agent. A great source of vitamins A, C, D and B complex, nettle boosts skin radiance, giving complexions a fresh glow.
Oily skin highly benefits from the astringent property of nettle which gently shrinks and tightens the top layer of skin. This fantastic property of nettle will also aid healing of minor skin injuries like scrapes and annoying razor nicks.
Nettle is a natural and safe way to stop hair loss and make hair glossy and healthy.
Shampoo bars made with nettle have many benefits for your hair and scalp. The most noticeable benefit is the reduction of a dry, itchy scalp as well as dandruff. Nettle leaves are rich in silica and sulphur which which, apart from encouraging hair growth, works to improve hair health by strengthening the hair shaft, making hair shinier and healthier and reducing split ends. Nettle leaves are also rich in minerals like iron, magnesium, and zinc, so the hair follicles get a great boost. Nettle enhances blood supply to the scalp, aiding in circulation and increasing the amount of oxygen and nutrients received by the scalp and hair follicles so hair roots get a better supply of nutrients and oxygen and, as a result, hair can grow stronger and longer.
But nettle isn’t just good for treating your dry scalp; it’s one of the oldest recorded remedies used for treating and preventing hair loss. Nettle leaf is known to inhibit the formation of DHT – the androgen hormone that causes male and female baldness.