(Urtica dioica radix)
Traditionally used for symptoms associated with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), including: difficulty in urination, excessive night time urination, frequent urination, painful urination, and urinary retention.
At the turn of the last century Eclectic physicians HW Felter and JU Lloyd, the well-known compilers of King's Dispensatory, listed chronic cystitis with mucous discharges as one of the indications for nettle root. As a diuretic, nettle root was valued for the treatment of urologic conditions, including benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).
In 1950 a German researcher began looking more closely at the benefits of nettle root for BPH and discovered that it produced better urine flow and reduced the frequency of nighttime urination. By the 1970s a large number of corroborative scientific studies started to appear.
As a result of all this, Commission E, which stands as Germany's foremost herbal authority, has endorsed the use of nettle root for difficulty in urination in cases of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) stages 1 and 2.
In their expanded Commission E monograph on nettle root, botanist Mark Blumenthal and his fellow researchers provide a good overview of some of the more cogent scientific evidence in favour of this herb's proven therapeutic effectiveness:
"The Commission E reported increased urinary volume, increased maximum urinary flow, and reduced residual urine activities. ...The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia reported prostatic action. Preliminary clinical observations of men after long-term treatment with an alcoholic extract of nettle root reported improvement of bladder outlet obstruction symptoms and decrease in post-voiding residual urine. A study of BPH patients treated with a nettle root alcoholic fluidextract reported a 66% decrease in residual urine; another study reported a reduction of nocturnal micturition frequency in patients over 60 years of age after six months of treatment with a nettle root alcoholic tincture of 5ml daily."
Medical herbalist Gazmend Skenderi gives a brief explanation of the pharmacological properties that make nettle root so wonderfully beneficial for the symptoms of BPH.
"Nettle root extract has been shown to inhibit the biosynthesis of DHT (=dihydrotestosterone, one of the main causes of a BPH) in the prostatic tissue as well as its binding to the receptors, with antiproliferative effect (=inhibition of prostatic cell division and growth). The effect is due in large part to phytosterols Â¦"
Nettle root may aid women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).