10 Epic Nettle Oil Benefits You Wish Someone Had Told You Earlier

Nettle leaves have been long used as a source of food in the form of teas, broths, and soups. They are a great source of Vitamin A, C, and other vital minerals. However, this isn’t it. There are many other nettle oil benefits that not many are aware of and that’s exactly what we are going to tell you today.

What is Nettle Oil?

what is nettle essential oil

The oil of nettle or its extract is obtained from Urtica diocia, a fibrous and creepy plant from the perennial herb of the family Urticaceae. The oil is extracted through steam distillation.

Nettle is native of Eurasia, but today, are grown throughout the U.S and even in other parts of the world. It is also known as stinging nettle, devil’s nettle or hemp nettle. (1)

These plants are also found in the temperate regions and can be seen in Andes mountain of Japan. Nettle has a high impact on prostate cancer.

About the plant:

Nettle is a perennial, dioecious, and herbaceous plant. It can grow to a height of 1 – 2 meters in summers and show winter dormancy. It has rhizomes and stolon, which can grow wide. The rhizomes are creepy and bright yellow.

The leaves are 3 – 15 cm long and grow in the opposite direction on its erect stems, arranged in whirls with serrated margins.

A few species have hairs, which are stingy and needle-like when touched. These needle-like hairs release chemicals that can cause pain and inflammation if injected. This sting-causing nature has got many nicknames like stinging nettle, burn hazel, or burn weed.

The flowers are whitish-green and small with dense axillary inflorescence.

Scientific Name of Nettle Oil

The botanical name of nettle is Urtica dioica.

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History of Nettle Oil

Historical evidence tells us that nettle was used as flax and burial shrouds in Denmark from the bronze age (3000-2000 BCE).

Early Americans & Europeans used nettle fibres for making sackcloth, rope, sailcloth, and fishing nets. Even in Scotland, nettle plants were grown commercially for manufacturing paper.

From thousands of years, nettle was used in moderate doses in the form of food. People in ancient Egypt used nettle for treating arthritis.

Hippocrates illustrated that nettle can be used in almost 60 different kinds of ailments. (2)

The scriptures gained from the 2nd century, Galen mentioned nettle for a number of diseases and other medical conditions such as gangrenous wounds, dog bite, mouth sores, ringworm infection, and bleeding nose. (3)

Another botanist from the 17th century mentioned nettle-honey preparation for healing wounds and other skin infections.

Fact: In folk medicinal system, nettle plants were used in a practice called “urtication,” where the fresh herbs were thrashed throughout the skin to induce a burning, stinging sensation to relieve the deeper and extreme pain of rheumatism. (4)

Color, Consistency, and Smell of Nettle Oil

  • The color of nettle essential oil is whitish-green.
  • The consistency of nettle essential oil is even.
  • The smell of nettle essential oil is sweet.

Properties of Nettle Essential Oil

  • Anti-inflammatory – Reduces the effects of inflammation
  • Analgesic – Eases pain
  • Antipyretic – Effective against fever
  • Antioxidant – Scavenges free radicals
  • Anti-asthmatic - Prevents respiratory problems
  • Anti-rheumatic – Prevents rheumatoid arthritis
  • Anticonvulsant - Prevent or reduces epileptic fits and other convulsions
  • Antihistamine - Treats allergic rhinitis as well as other allergies
  • Hypotensive – Lowers high blood pressure
  • Hepatoprotective – Protects liver cells from damage
  • Anti-anaphylactic – Effective against severe allergies
  • Anti-diabetic – Prevents diabetes

Chemical Compounds in Nettle Oil

The chemical components of nettle essential oils are:

Benzaldehyde, Borneol, Camphor, Nonanal, 3-Octanone, Menthol, 3,5-Dimethyl-1,2,4-trithiolane, Safranal 2,4,6-Trimethyl-5H-1,3,5-dithiazine, Decan-2-one, Homocyclocitral, Decanal –Cyclocitral, 5,6-Dihydro-4-pentyl, Copaene-8-ol, 2,6-dimethyl-4, Thymol, Bornyl acetate, Carvacrol, Longipinene, Caryophyllene, Ionone, Geranyl acetone, Humulene,  Ionone, Selinene, Bisabolene, 2-Pentylfuran n-Octan, l 2,2,6-Trimethylcyclohexanone 2-(1 Pentenyl)furan, Cadinene, Vetivenene, H-1,3,5-dithiazine, Isopropyl dodecanoate, Farnesol, Hexahydrofarnesylacetone, Farnesylacetone, Methyl palmitate, Apoatropine.

Note: Phytol consists of 3 substances – histamine, acetylcholine, and 5HT, which together work as effective muscle stimulating agents. Also, the compounds formic acid & serotonin present in nettle oil are identified as pain relevant.

Benefits Of Nettle Oil

Health Benefits of Nettle Oil

Though nettle oil benefits are numerous, the most noteworthy ones demonstrated by different studies in recent years are listed below.

  • Has strong anti-diabetic effects
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Protects the liver cells from damage
  • Effective against viral infections
  • Useful in benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • A reliable treatment for osteoarthritis
  • Treats hay fever
  • Helps to cure prostate cancer
  • Heals allergic rhinitis
  • Potent cardio-protective agent

1. Has strong anti-diabetic effects

Nettle essential oil is an anti-diabetic herb. It has been found effective against type II diabetes. Diabetes is a condition generated due to disorders in metabolism, associated with cardiovascular diseases. Inflammation is said to be a participating factor for cardiovascular diseases.

A study proved that a few inflammatory inhibitors active in type II diabetes (or diabetes mellitus) were suppressed by the compounds in nettle essential oil. The compounds Il-6 (interleukin 6) and hs-CRP significantly decreased in patients suffering from type II diabetes after treatment of nettle oil. (5)

This study was conducted as a clinical trial and the results define the success story of nettle oil on diabetic patients. The property exists due to the presence of phytol in the oil of nettle.

2. Reduces inflammation

Nettle essential oil was found effective on inflammatory-causing factors by several studies and has been proven effective.

It regulates the intermediate factors of inflammation that participate in acute and chronic inflammation by producing pro-inflammatory factors in excess such as TNF-α, granulocytes or macrophage-stimulating factors like (GM-CSF) and interleukin 1b.

Whenever you are injured or have anything abnormal going on, the nociceptors get activated and your neurons feel the sensation of pain.

However, the stings of nettle are considered as a safe treatment for pain in the musculoskeletal system. Nettle oil contains compounds serotonin (often called the happy chemical) and histamine (a compound that tour cells release in response to injuries, allergies, and inflammatory reactions).

Both serotonin & histamine participate to trigger the factors responsible for neural growth. The oil of nettle hyper stimulates the nociceptors by causing TENS effect. From a few comparative clinical studies conducted among the marketed drugs and nettle extracts against pain, nettle extract showed similar results as that of 200 mg of diclofenac. (6, 7)

3. Protects the liver cells from damage

Nettle is often admired for its strong hepaprotective properties. Thus, it helps in protecting the liver cells from damage, especially the ones caused due to ischemia-reperfusion.

Also, it also has antioxidants and free radical scavenging property, which also defend the liver cells being damaged due to ischemia. It increases the activity of paraoxonase, arylesterase, and other catalase activities.

It decreases the level of free radicals in ceruloplasmin, the activity of LPO (lipid peroxidase). It prevents oxidation agents such as –OOH generated in the cases of ischemic reperfusion. Different studies evaluated the histopathological data of nettle extract and oil. They found better curative for hepatic damage.

The nettle oil also showed a hypocholesterolemic effect in a dose-dependent manner. The oil of nettle has antioxidant and anti-eicosanoid effects, which is better than that of thymoquinone. (8)

It is also found helpful in the prevention of liver cirrhosis and fibrosis. Nettle oil is effective in protecting liver cells from getting fibrosis by activating several immunomodulator factors. It also decreases lipid peroxidation and enhances the health of liver cells.

4. Effective against viral infections

Nettle essential oil is a strong antiviral herb. It is even found to be effective against HIV. Urticaria is the natural drug that has N-acetylglucosamine binding protein in abundance. This prevents the entry of HIV and other viruses that has the conserved site for N-glycosylation in GP120 being deleted. (9)

The mannose-binding proteins decrease the antiviral activity up to 50 - 100 folds, against the mutant virus, being exposed to UDA. UDA decreases antiviral activity to a limited extent. The nettle oil is even effective on mutant virus lacking 9 to 22 glycosylation sites in their GP120 envelop. (10)

5. Useful in benign prostatic hyperplasia

Nettle oil is found effective against benign prostatic hyperplasia, an age-associated condition where the prostate gland enlarges and causes difficulties in urination.

In a pharmacological study, they conducted the subcutaneous administration of testosterone in rats. They examined the prostate body weight, the testosterone level of serum, specific antigens for prostate, and amount of urine excreted weekly.

The study was conducted to evaluate the 5α-reductase inhibitory potential of nettle essential oil. In the histological examination, it proved that nettle oil is a potent drug for hyperplasia. (11)

6. A reliable treatment for osteoarthritis

Nettle essential oil has potent analgesic properties and has been found effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis as well as pain relief.

It is used as an effective analgesic & nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. During a double-blind clinical study, researchers compared the so-called, marketed drug phytalgic with nettle essential oil. It was found that it was effective in the treatment for osteoarthritis and helped in reducing pain sensation. (12, 13)

7. Treats hay fever

Nettle oil is found effective against hay fever, an allergic reaction that arises due to inflammation in nose lining.

It is found effective in controlling the factors associated with hay fever or it can also be said that nettle essential oil is found effective in controlling the allergic symptoms occurred due to seasonal factors or allergens. It blocks histamine receptors and also suppresses the body’s immune system.

8. Helps to cure prostate cancer

Nettle is a potent antioxidant herb and is often used in the treatment of prostatic cancer. Aromatase is a key enzyme responsible for the generation of prostate cancer and this component is inhibited by hydroxyl fatty acids and sterols present in nettle essential oil.

The extract of nettle roots inhibits the binding of globulin to the receptors. It directly inhibits the proliferation of HeLa cells and blocks them from bonding to epidermal growth factors.

The leaves of nettle also inhibit the activity of ADA in infected tissues of the prostate. The oil of nettle also has activity against CP (cisplatin) toxicity.  Due to its amazing antioxidant potential nettle is quite effective for prostate cancer. (14, 15)

9. Heals allergic rhinitis

Nettle oil can also treat allergic rhinitis or seasonal allergies. It is considered an effective OTC (over-the-counter) drug for treating several seasonal allergies such as dry mouth, headache, drowsiness, etc.

The leaves of nettle are used in preventing the release of pro-inflammatory mediators that are responsible for a few medical conditions such as watery eyes, itching of eyes, sneezing, nasal congestion. (16)

Dry & frozen stinging leaves and its extract are used for preserving several bioactive amines including histamine and acetylcholine. Different studies analyzed the compounds in nettle leaves and proved that they are effective in the treatment of allergic rhinitis and its associated symptoms. (17)

10. Potent cardio-protective agent

Nettle essential oil is also a potent cardioprotective. It protects the heart by controlling the increased blood pressure levels.

When it gets into the bloodstream, it starts working as a vasodilator. It releases NO (nitric oxide) in blood vessels. With the effect of NO, the blood vessels dilate and this, in turn, reduces high blood pressure.

The oil also blocks the calcium channel present on the walls of the cardiovascular system. Due to this blockage, the heart does not feel suffocated.

The powerful antioxidant potential of nettle oil also helps in relaxing the arteries and works as a cardioprotective.

When the chances of increased blood pressure decrease, it also helps in maintaining the health of the kidneys. When blood pressure decreases, the renal pressure also decreases and kidney works properly.

What Blends with Nettle Oil?

Nettle essential oil blends the best with:

How To Use Nettle Oil?

how to use nettle oil

The use of nettle oil is not new. It has been used for various purposes from 2000 years.

  • It can be taken to stop internal and external bleeding.
  • It is also considered as an effective blood purifier.
  • It works against diarrhea, skin irritation, mucus congestion, and also for water retention.
  • The oil can be used in shampoo for maintaining healthy hair.
  • It is also found effective on psoriasis.

Massage: Take 4-5 drops of nettle essential oil and dilute it with a carrier oil like coconut oil or olive oil (3 tablespoons). Use this mixture to massage your body. Wrap your body with a clean towel for 30 minutes so that the skin absorbs the oil properly. Have a bath with lukewarm water. This recipe also works for insect bites and eczema.

Clean stomach: You can take capsules made of nettle leaves for prostatic problems and gout. However, it is best to consult your doctor first.

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Side Effects of Nettle Oil

Nettle oil is considered as a safe oil when taken orally. Even topical application has been found safe. However, prolonged use can cause problems.

  • A few have reported to experience excessive sweating and stomachache issues.
  • It is considered unsafe for pregnant women and the baby.
  • It must be completely avoided during lactation.
  • It the patients is suffering from diabetes, it can aggravate it further. People with diabetes should be cautious about using nettle essential oil. Talk to the doctor first, especially if you are under any medication.
  • You should regularly check the blood sugar levels, as it can cause an instant decline in the blood sugar & blood pressure levels.
  • Nettle essential oil also increases the flow of urine. Hence, proper precautions must be taken by renal patients while using it.
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