Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle is a plant that grows in North America, Europe, and Africa. It has been used as an herbal remedy for thousands of years.

The name comes from the stinging sensation that you get when you brush against the plant's hairy stem and leaves.

Recommended Related to Vitamins & Supplements


Gymnema is a shrub that grows in India and Africa. People in India have been using gymnema leaves for thousands of years to try to treat diabetes. The Hindu word for gymnema -- gurmar -- means "sugar destroyer."

Read the Gymnema article > >

Why do people take stinging nettle?

People take stinging nettle to try to treat health problems, including:

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Stinging nettle root is a common treatment in Europe for symptoms of BPH. This is a noncancerous condition that causes the prostate gland to enlarge, making urination difficult.

Some research shows that stinging nettle root may be helpful in treating this problem. Experts are not sure which components in the plant may have an effect on BPH. More research is needed to show that the treatment is indeed effective.

Allergies. Stinging nettle leaf may be useful in reducing the symptoms of hay fever by acting as an anti-inflammatory. Some research has linked treatment with stinging nettle leaf to relief of symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes. But more well-designed studies are needed to confirm this effect.

Joint pain. Research has found some evidence that rubbing stinging nettle leaves on painful joints can provide pain relief. One study also found that eating stewed nettle leaves was a helpful addition to the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac.

People have also used stinging nettle as a diuretic -- a treatment that causes the body to shed more water in the urine. Research has found this effect from stinging nettle in rats.

Optimal doses of stinging nettle have not been set for any condition. Quality and active ingredients in supplements may vary widely from maker to maker. This makes it hard to set a standard dose.

Can you get stinging nettle naturally from foods?

Stinging nettle can be eaten on its own or as an ingredient in foods. Nettle leaves must first be cooked or steamed to destroy the hairs on them, which contain a number of irritating chemicals.

Most medicinal uses of stinging nettle use more of the plant than you would typically eat.

Vitamins and
Lifestyle Guide

Which Nutrients
Are You Missing?

Learn More

Today on WebMD

vitamin rich groceries
Do you know your vitamin ABCs?
St Johns wart
Ease hot flashes and other symptoms.
Are you getting enough?
Take your medication
Wonder pill or overkill?
fruits and vegetables
Woman sleeping
Woman staring into space with coffee

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.