Urtica dioica / Grote brandnetel

Monografie uit het cursusboek van Maurice Godefridi Herboristen Opleiding 'Dodonaeus'

Algemene en Botanische Informatie


Familie: Urticaceae - Brandnetelachtigen
Naam: Grande ortie (Fr.), Große Brennessel (D.), Common netle (E.).
Soorten: Urtica urens L. - Kleine brandnetel.
Ecologie: Ruderaalplant

Materia Medica , gebruikte delen van Urtica
Urticae herba (folia)
, De gehele bovengrondse bloeiende plant met stengels van maximum 3 mm van Urtica dioica L., soms ook van Urtica urens L.

Oogst: Tijdens de vroege bloei, vooral het bovenste gedeelte van de plant
Beschrijving: Sterk gekrulde bladeren en bladdelen, aan de bovenzijde donkergroen, de onderzijde lichtgroen met brandharen en goed zichtbare nervatuur. De stengeldelen zijn vierkant, meestal platgedrukt, groen tot bruin.
Geur: typisch.

Urticae radix De wortel van Urtica dioica L.
Oogst: van Oktober tot Februari, niet de houtige of sterk vezelige delen
Beschrijving: gele, vezelige wortels
WHO monograph: Rhizome cylindrical and tapering, occasionally branched, up to about 6mm thick at upper end; outer surface yellowish-brown; internodes with deep longitudinal furrows, numerous smooth, very thin and wiry roots arising from the nodes; in the outer part, inner surface creamy-white with a central hollow; fracture fibrous and tough.
Root greyish-brown, irregularly twisted, about 5mm thick, distinct longitudinal furrows; hollow in cross-section, cut surface white; fracture fibrous and tough.

Urticae fructus (semen) De vruchten van Urtica dioica L.
Beschrijving: Rijpe vruchten, zandkleurig en eivormig. Lengte 1-1,5 mm, breedte tot 1 mm. Meestal nog om­geven door 2 bin­nenste grote en 2 buitenste kleine blaad­jes, groen van kleur.
Geur: wortelachtig?
Smaak: niet opvallend, wel ranzig na lang bewaren.

Samenstelling, inhoudsstoffen
Herba
* Hoge voedingswaarde: chlorofyl, carotinoïden o.a. ß-carotine, xantofyl.
* Vitaminen C, B en K1.
** Mineralen o.a. kiezelzuur, K en Fe (20 mg ?).
* Aminen o.a. histamine, serotonine en choline (vooral in de brandharen)
* Mierenzuur, azijnzuur e.a. (huidirritatie)
* Looistoffen.
* Glucokininen. (?) 

Fructus / Zaad, Vrucht
* Proteïnen.
* Vette olie met carotenoïden.
* Slijmstoffen. 
http://www.wjgnet.com/1007-9327/11/6684.asp

Radix / Wortel
* Looistof
* Sterolen: ß-sitosterol, scopoletine (4)
* Lignanen 
* 3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran of kortweg divanil. Divanil is een verbinding uit de wortels van de brandnetel of Urtica dioica. Divanil kan zich vastmaken aan het molecuul SHBG in de bloedbaan, zodat het molecuul geen SHBG meer kan opnemen en dus ook niet meer kan neutraliseren. Zo verhoogt divanil de concentratie vrij testosteron.

WHO radix: A large number of compounds of different polarity and belonging to various chemical classes, including fatty acids, terpenes, phenylpropanes, lignans, coumarins, triterpenes, ceramides, sterols and lectins, have been isolated from Radix Urticae. Among these are oxalic acid, linoleic acid, 14-octacosanol, 13- hydroxy-9-cis,11-trans-octadecadienoic acid, α-dimorphecolic acid (9-hydroxy-10-trans,12-cis-octadecadienoic acid), scopoletin, p-hydroxybenzaldehyde, homovanillyl alcohol, β-sitosterol, stigmasterol, 24-R-ethyl-5α-cholestan-3β,6α-diol, campesterol, daucosterol (and related glycosides), secoisolariciresinol-9-O-β-D-glucoside, neoolivil, oleanolic acid, ursolic acid 

Farmacologie, algemene fysiologische werking
Herba / Kruid
** Depurativum en zwak diureticum (2, 3) - Uitscheiding van chloriden en urinezuur. - Urinezuur wordt vanuit de weefsels naar de bloedbaan gebracht?
** 'Bloedopbouwend'
** Bloedstelpend (looistoffen, 9)
* Invloed op pancreas en bloedsuikergehalte. (?) Verhoging enzymenproduktie pancreas. (?)
* Revulsivum
Radix / Wortel
** Prostatotroop.
** Adstringentium.
* Ouderdomstonicum (?) (fructus) 
WHO radix: Intraperitoneal administration of a hydroalcoholic extract of the roots (20mg/kg body weight) suppressed testosterone-stimulated increases in prostate weight and prostatic ornithine decarboxylase activity in castrated rats. Daily oral administration of a hydroalcoholic extract of the root to dogs with BPH (30mg/kg body weight) decreased prostate volume by 30% after 100 days of treatment.
The effect of various root extracts was assessed after implantation of the fetal urogenital sinus into the prostate gland of adult mice. Intragastric administration of a butanol, cyclohexane or ethyl acetate extract of the root (0.25 ml/daily for 3 weeks) had no effect on the development of BPH in mice. However, intragastric administration of the same dose of a 20% methanol extract of the root reduced the development of BPH by 51.4%.

Indicatie, medisch en ander gebruik
Huid (Bloedzuiverend)
** Huidaandoeningen vooral van allergische aard: Zie ook Calendula, Plantago e.a. acné, eczeem, steenpuisten, brandwonden

Nieren / Stofwisseling (Drainage) Zie kruiden voor de nieren
* Reumatische aandoeningen
* Jicht
** Artrose
** Voorjaarskuur als thee, soep (2 tot 3 weken) Bloedbeeld
* Algemene zwakte met bloedarmoede Zie gemmotherapie en Fenegriek
** Neusbloedingen e.a. Zie looistofplanten 
* Nierdegeneratie. While caution is warranted in all cases of kidney disease, it is possible that nettle seed may fill a much needed gap in the materia     medica of the genito-urinary system as a renal trophorestorative.

Prostaat (Radix)
** Prostaatadenoom, hypertrofie 4 g/daags dec. 1' + inf. 10'
* Ouderdomstonicum (?)

Haar
* Als algemeen tonicum dec. herba 50 g/1 l als haarlotion
* Vet haar en haaruitval

Pancreas
* Als algemeen stimulerend middel, aanleg pancreatitis (?)

Dierenvoeding
* Om leg te bevorderen bij kippen (6)
* Om glans van paarden te verbeteren
* Ook als galactagogum (5)
Voeding
* Soep, aardappelpuree, brandnetelkaas.
* Thee.
* Als groente gemengd met o.a. spinazie.

Receptuur
Herba: Inf. 10', 20-30 g/1 l. dos.: 3 x daags 1 kopje
Radix: Dec. 1' + inf. 10', 10 g/1 liter: prostaathypertrofie
Fructus: Dec. 1' + inf. 10', 25 g/1 liter
Hydrolaat als haarlotion met Echte salie en Rozemarijn

Nota: Radix en fructus (semen) worden weinig gebruikt als thee, wel in prepara­ten als roborans en als ouder­domstonicum.

Siroop:
R./ Urticae succus 250 g Sap.
Suiker 250 g Ber.: inkoken (decoct) tot siroop.
Dos.: 30 - 60 g/daags.

Species:
R./ Urticae hb. Ber.: inf. 15', 50 g/1 liter
Equiseti hb. Dos.: 3 x daags 1 kopje.
Betula fol. Ind.: artrose.

Geschiedenis en Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek
Ravelingius: «Voor het graveel». (Blad, maar ook zaad.)
Dodonaeus: «Voor het bloeden uit de neus». (Vers gekneusd blad in neus.)
Fuchsius: «Om de maandstonden te wecken». (Blad op navel binden en inwendig zaad met wijn.)
Durantus C.: «Voor bloedzweren en beten van dolle honden».
Stocker J.: «Voor uitdroging en de lammigheidt van enig Lidt: Neem sap van Netelen ende bestrijkt het Lidt daarmede».
Plinius: «Voor het Flerecijn».

Chaurasia N. en Wichtl M.: Planta med. 53/432 - 1987.
Lutomski J. e.a.: Pharmazie in unseren Zeit 12/181 - 1983.
Kirchhoff H.: Ztschr. Phytoth. 4/624 - 1983.
Schilcher H. e.a.: Dtsch. Apth. Ztg. 126/79 - 1986.
Schmitt J.H.: Z. Naturheilkunde 30/74 - 1979.
Buchmeister G.A.: Hdb. d. Drogistenpraxis 216 - Berlin 1911.
Goetz P.: Die Behandelung der benignen prostatohyperplasie mit Brennes­selwurzeln. Ztschr. Phytoth. 10/175-178 - 1989.
Koffler Anna Prof. Dr.: Spurenelementen untersuchungen in 26 heilpflan­zen. Manuskr. - 1962.
Leclerc H.: La thérapeutique par les simples: les toniques astrigents. Courrier méd. - 1931. L'Ortie: Concours médical - 1925. Précis de phytothérapie. 

Referenties Urtica radix / Brandnetelwortel
  • Scapagnini U, Friesen A. Urtica dioica-Extrakt und Folgesubstanzen im Tierversuch. Klinische und Experimentelle Urologie, 1992, 22:138-144.
  • Daube G. Pilotstudie zur Behandlung der benignen Prostatahyperplasie bei Hunden mit Extractum Radicis Urticae (ERU). In: Bauer HW, ed. Benigne Prostatahyperplasie II, klinische und experimentelle Urologie 19. Munich, Zuckschwerdt, 1988:63-66.
  • Lichius JJ, Muth C. The inhibiting effects of Urtica dioica root extracts on experimentally induced prostatic hyperplasia in the mouse. Planta Medica, 1997, 63:307-310.
  • Planta Med. 1997 Dec;63(6):529-32. Lignans from the roots of Urtica dioica and their metabolites bind to human sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). Polar extracts of the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.) roots contain the ligans (+)-neoolivil, (-)-secoisolariciresinol, dehydrodiconiferyl alcohol, isolariciresinol, pinoresinol, and 3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran. These compounds were either isolated from Urtica roots, or obtained semisynthetically. Their affinity to human sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) was tested in an in vitro assay. In addition, the main intestinal transformation products of plant lignans in humans, enterodiol and enterolactone, together with enterofuran were checked for their activity. All lignans except (-)-pinoresinol developed a binding affinity to SHBG in the in vitro assay. The affinity of (-)-3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran was outstandingly high. These findings are discussed with respect to potential beneficial effects of plant lignans on benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
PubMedlinks
Internetlinks


Nettle: History en Futur

The use of nettle as a vegetable and folk remedy dates back to ancient times. It was mentioned by Hippocrates (ca. 460-370 BCE) and Theophrastus (ca. 371-287 BCE), by Dioscorides (40-90 CE) in Materia Medica, and by Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE) in Naturalis Historia.26 The Materia Medica suggested nettle for gangrene, rheumatism, tumors, ulcers, and dog bites.
In the medieval period, nettles were recommended by German philosopher, natural historian, and abbess Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) in Physica; by the Swiss physician Paracelsus (1493-1541) in his writings on the doctrine of signatures; by English physician Andrew Borde (ca. 1490-1549) in A Dyetary of Helth (1542); and by German botanist and physician Hieronymus Bock (1498-1554) in Kreütterbuch (1546).26

The English herbalist, physician, and botanist Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) said nettle was “an herb so well known, that you may find them by the feeling in the darkest night,” likely referring to its stinging hairs.27 He recommended nettle to break up stones, stop bleeding, and increase urination, and for diff
om Europe, American Indian tribes found uses for both U. dioica and U. urens.30 They used the plants for food and for fiber to make bow strings, cords, ropes, cloth, fishnet, and baskets. Infusions and decoctions were used internally for ague (alternating periods of chills, fever, and sweating, as in malaria), bladder conditions, colds, dysentery, locomotor ataxia (the inability to control bodily movements), bleeding hemorrhoids, headache, hives and itching, paralyzed limbs, upset stomach and stomach pain, skin conditions, and the promotion of urination. They were also used during pregnancy and to support blood flow after childbirth. The Nitinaht tribe (Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada) chewed and swallowed young nettle shoots to prevent illness. Externally, steamed nettle leaves and roots were used in poultices and sweat baths for sore and/or swollen arthritic joints, colds, grippe (influenza), heat rash, and pneumonia. Nettles were rubbed on the body for aches, pains, and soreness, and the plant’s juice was rubbed on the scalp to prevent hair loss and as a tonic for growing long, silky hair. More recently, some Native American tribes and others have used nettles to relieve arthritis and rheumatism through the practice of urtication, wherein the afflicted areas are whipped with nettle branches (flagellation). Curiously, this same method was used by married members of the Nitinaht tribe for “affection and faithfulness of spouses.” Stems were put under splints to hasten healing of broken bones, and the plant fiber was used for headaches, inflammation, and was applied to the skin for various ailments. At least one tribe, the Makah of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state, used the plant as a stimulant by rubbing it into the skin after bathing. They also rubbed whale hunters’ bodies with the plant for strength.30

Modern herbalists and other alternative health care providers use nettle for its astringent, tonic (i.e., nourishing, strengthening, and toning), hypotensive,31 anti-inflammatory,32 anti-hemorrhagic,33,34 diuretic,31,34,35 and hypoglycemic29 actions. It is used to improve urine flow, decrease residual urine volume, and reduce urinary frequency and nocturia (excessive nighttime urination) in early-stage benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), to address inflammation in the lower urinary tract and treat renal stones,36 to lower blood sugar levels, to alleviate myalgia (muscle pain), osteoarthritis,31,35 rheumatoid arthritis,31,34,35 allergic rhinitis (hay fever),32,34 childhood and psychogenic (especially nervous) eczema, 31,33 and to detoxify the body.31 Midwives use nettles to address anemia in pregnant women, and, topically, for pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP; a hives-like rash that sometimes occurs during pregnancy) in an Aloe vera (Xanthorrhoeaceae) gel, witch hazel (Hamamelis spp., Hamamelidaceae), or cream base.32

From the 19th century until the end of World War II, U. dioica was cultivated in parts of Europe as a fiber crop alternative to cotton (Gossypium spp., Malvaceae). Due to cotton shortages during the World Wars, Germany switched to nettle fiber to make military uniforms. In the early 1940s, approximately 500 hectares (1,236 acres) of nettle were under cultivation in Austria and Germany, but this came to a halt when the nettle processing facilities were destroyed during World War II. In recent years, U. dioica cultivation has started up again in Germany.37 (Interestingly, there is a German idiom — sich in die Nesseln setzen — which literally means “to sit down in nettles.” In context, it means that someone got himself into trouble.)

In 1986, the German Commission E approved the use of Urticae Radix (subterranean plant parts), prepared as an herbal tea infusion or in other galenical forms, as a nonprescription medicine taken orally to treat urination difficulties in BPH stages I and II.38 Subsequently, in 1987, the Commission E approved the use of both Urticae Folium (leaf) and Urticae Herba (aerial plant parts), as an herbal tea or in other galenical forms, taken orally as irrigation therapy for inflammatory diseases of the lower urinary tract and for the prevention and treatment of kidney stones. For topical application, spirit of nettle (an alcoholic solution of distilled nettle; 50% alcohol by volume)1 was approved as a supportive therapy for rheumatic ailments.38 In the meantime, official national labeling standards monographs of European Union (EU) member states, such as those of the German Commission E, have been superseded by monographs of the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
There are English-language quality standards monographs established by the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines (EDQM) for two articles, Urticae Folium PhEur and Urticae Radix PhEur,39,40 with corresponding labeling standards monographs established by the EMA.41-43 The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) provides quality standards monographs for the dried roots and rhizomes of U. dioica L. subsp. dioica with U. urens, as well as for the dry extract of the roots and rhizomes.44 Comprehensive monographs (quality and therapeutics) for Urticae Radix are available in the WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants,45 the English and Russian editions of the WHO Monographs on Medicinal Plants Commonly Used in the Newly Independent States (NIS),46 and the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and Therapeutic Compendium (AHP).47 There is also an AHP monograph for Stinging Nettle Herb.48

CURRENT AUTHORIZED USES IN COSMETICS, FOODS, AND MEDICINES
In the US, plant parts or preparations of U. dioica and/or U. urens are not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in food products, but are permitted as components of dietary supplement products. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires notification within 30 days of marketing (if a structure-function claim is made) and product manufacturing according to current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) for dietary supplements.49 In October 2015, nettle (U. dioica subsp. dioica) leaf was nominated for use in pharmacy compounding and placed on the FDA’s 503A List 1 – Bulk Drug Substances Under Evaluation,50 which means it is viewed as a bulk drug substance that may be eligible for inclusion on the 503A bulks* list, because sufficient supporting information was provided to the FDA for evaluation.51
In Canada, nettle is regulated as an active ingredient of licensed natural health products (NHPs), requiring pre-marketing authorization from the Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Directorate (NNHPD).52 The authorized uses for labeling of nettle NHPs vary somewhat depending on the plant part(s). Preparations of the aerial parts (as fluid extracts, tinctures, fresh juices, herbal tea decoctions or infusions) may be labeled with claims including “Traditionally used in Herbal Medicine as a diuretic,” and “Used in Herbal Medicine as supportive therapy to help relieve rheumatic complaints, as a nutritive tonic, and to help relieve seasonal [allergies].” Preparations of the root (dry or liquid extracts, herbal tea decoctions or infusions) may be marketed with the claim “Used in Herbal Medicine to help reduce difficulty in urination associated with the early stages of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).”

In the EU, while it is possible to market nettle leaf-containing products as food products without health claims, various defined therapeutic preparations of nettle leaf, nettle herb, and nettle root are regulated as traditional herbal medicinal products (THMPs), requiring registration and pre-marketing authorization. The EU approves the following therapeutic indications for nettle herb (prepared as an expressed juice, fluid extract, herbal tea, tincture, or dry extract): (1) “THMP to increase the amount of urine to achieve flushing of the urinary tract as an adjuvant in minor urinary complaints”; (2) “THMP for relief of minor articular pain”; and (3) “THMP used in seborrheic (inflammatory) skin conditions.”41 Indications (1) and (2) are also permitted for preparations of nettle leaf.42 Preparations of nettle root (herbal teas or dry or liquid extracts) may be labeled with the claim “THMP for the relief of lower urinary tract symptoms related to benign prostatic hyperplasia after serious conditions have been excluded by a medical doctor.”43 For marketing authorization, the applicant must specify the quality of the nettle active ingredients according to pharmacopeial standards and assure consistent quality through implementation of the EMA’s Good Agriculture and Collection Practices (GACP) for starting materials of herbal origin.53
For use in cosmetic products, the European Commission Health and Consumers Directorate lists Urtica Dioica Juice, Urtica Dioica Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica Root Extract, and Urtica Urens Leaf Extract for skin-conditioning functions.54 An extract of all aerial parts is authorized for antidandruff, astringent, hair-conditioning, skin-conditioning, soothing, and tonic functions.

MODERN RESEARCH
Chemicals produced in the stinging hairs of nettle include histamine, acetylcholine, serotonin, and formic acid.4,34,55 Other constituents found in nettle include leukotrienes, oxalic acid, tartaric acid,11 flavonoids (glucosides and rutinosides of isorhamnetin, kaempferol, and quercetin), caffeoyl-esters (caffeoylmalic acid [U. dioica only], chlorogenic acid, and neochlorogenic acid), caffeic acid, scopoletin (cumarin), sitosterol (-3-0-glucoside), polysaccharides, fatty acids, vitamin C and other vitamins, minerals, protein, and dietary fiber.31,34,55,56
Pharmacological studies of nettle extracts have shown the following effects in vitro and in vivo: analgesic,56,57 anesthetic, antianemic,56 antibacterial,58 anti-inflammatory, antilipidemic, antimicrobial,56 antioxidant,56-58 antiulcer,57 cardiovascular, central depressive, chemopreventive, diuretic, endocrine, gastrointestinal, hepatoprotective, platelet-aggregating, immunomodulatory, and vasoconstrictive.56
Clinical studies and case reports of varying quality have investigated the use of nettle alone, or in combination with other herbs, to address symptoms of type 2 diabetes, urinary conditions related to prostate health, osteoarthritis, allergic rhinitis, excessive bleeding after dental surgery, and episiotomy repair.
Much of the recent research on the use of nettle in treating symptoms of type 2 diabetes has been conducted in Iran and Pakistan. There were 285 million cases of diabetes in the world in 2010, a number expected to increase to 439 million by 2030, and there is considerable interest in these countries as to how traditional medicinal plants can be used for treatment instead of, or in addition to, pharmaceutical drugs.
One randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled (RDBPC) clinical study published in 2014 investigated the effect of nettle’s aerial parts on glycemic control and insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes.59 Sixty patients were randomly assigned to take either 100 mg/kg per day of nettle extract (no additional information provided) or placebo after each of three main meals for eight weeks. Patients were asked to not make any changes to their current drug treatments, diet, or exercise routines during the study. After eight weeks, the nettle group experienced significantly increased insulin concentration, -cell function, and insulin sensitivity, significantly decreased insulin resistance, and no differences in fasting blood sugar, compared to the placebo group.

In a RDBPC study published in 2012, nettle leaf extract was evaluated for its efficacy in treating type 2 diabetes in patients resistant to conventional oral anti-hyperglycemic drugs who required insulin shots.60 Patients refusing insulin with glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels above 200 mg/dL of blood (N = 22) took either placebo or 500 mg of encapsulated nettle leaf extract (70% ethanol, 30% water; solvent removed in a rotary evaporator; extract encapsulated with 12% toast powder excipient) three times per day for three months. Drug treatment, diet, and physical activity did not change during the study. Fasting blood glucose, two-hour postprandial (post-meal) glucose, and HbA1c levels were taken at the beginning and end of the study. After three months, patients in the nettle group experienced a significant lowering of HbA1c levels, and no significant effects on other blood parameter levels, compared with the placebo group. Also, the test group’s fasting glucose and HbA1c levels decreased significantly between baseline and endpoint with no other significant blood parameter changes. The placebo group’s blood parameters did not change significantly between baseline and endpoint. The authors conclude that nettle could be safe and effective in improving glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes.

In another RDBPC study published in 2012, 50 diabetic patients were randomized to take either 100 mg/kg of hydroalcoholic nettle extract (45% ethanol, 55% water; 2.7 g dry aerial parts; prepared by the Traditional Medicine Association of Iran-Eastern Azerbaijan and Giah Esanse Company; Gorgan, Iran) or placebo in three portions dissolved in water after each of three main meals every day for eight weeks.61 At the end of the study, the nettle group experienced a significant increase in total antioxidant capacity and superoxide dismutase (an antioxidant enzyme) compared to the placebo group. The authors note that hydroalcoholic nettle extract can improve antioxidant status and may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
A similar randomized, double-blind study published in 2011 examined a hydroalcoholic extract of nettle leaf on insulin sensitivity and inflammatory markers in patients with type 2 diabetes.62 Fifty patients were randomly assigned either 100 mg/kg of nettle extract (45% ethanol, 55% water; 2.7 g dry aerial parts; prepared by the Traditional Medicine Association of Iran-Eastern Azerbaijan and Giah Esanse Company; Gorgan, Iran) or placebo in three portions per day for eight weeks. At the end of the study, there was a significant decrease in interleukin 6 and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in the nettle group, compared to the placebo group, suggesting that hydroalcoholic nettle extract may protect patients with type 2 diabetes from cardiovascular disease by decreasing certain inflammatory markers.

One large RDBPC crossover study published in 2005 investigated the effect of nettle therapy for relief of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS).63 Patients with LUTS (N = 620) were randomized to take either a nettle root fluid extract made by fractional percolation and standardized to 100 mg of root extract per 1 mL (no further information provided) or placebo three times per day with meals. At the end of six months, patients were evaluated using the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS). In addition, maximum urinary flow rate (Qmax), post-void residual urine volume (PVR), serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, testosterone levels, and prostate size were measured. Further, at the end of the trial, both groups took the nettle preparation for up to 18 months. Of the 558 patients who completed the study, 232 of the 287 patients (81%) in the nettle group reported improved LUTS compared to 43 of the 271 subjects (16%) in the placebo group. The IPSS and Qmax improved more with the nettle preparation than with placebo, and PVR decreased in the nettle group only. Neither group experienced changes in serum PSA levels or testosterone levels. Also, patients who took nettle extract for up to 18 additional months experienced even more improvement.

A 2004 RDBPC multicenter study examined Bazoton-uno† (459 mg of stinging nettle root dry extract [drug extract ratio 7.1-14.3:1, solvent 20% methanol] per film tablet; Abbott GmbH & Co.; Wiesbaden, Germany) for its efficacy in the long-term treatment of BPH.64 Patients with BPH (N = 246) were enrolled in the study (which had a four-week placebo run-in phase followed by a 52-week therapy phase) and were randomized to take either Bazoton-uno or placebo once per day after breakfast. Clinical evaluations were performed at weeks four, 12, 24, 36, and 52. During the course of the study, the mean IPSS improved continuously in the test group compared to placebo. Qmax and median volume of residual urine showed a pronounced improvement in the test group compared to the placebo group, but the change was not statistically significant.
In 1985, in a nine-week, double-blind study on Bazoton (300 mg of stinging nettle root extract [drug extract ratio 5:1, solvent 20% methanol] per capsule; Kanoldt Arzneimittel GmbH; Hochstadt/Donau, Germany), 50 patients with BPH took one capsule of Bazoton or placebo in the morning and evening.65 Patients were evaluated at three, six, and nine weeks. Regarding subjective symptoms, patients reported no changes in frequency of urination, alguria (painful urination), or night-time dribbling, but dysuria (difficult urination), with delayed onset and respectively diminished flow, improved markedly in the Bazoton group compared to placebo.

At least six studies have been conducted on Prostagutt forte (“PRO”; Dr. Willmar Schwabe Pharmaceuticals; Karlsruhe, Germany), a combination product containing 160 mg of saw palmetto (Serenoa repens, Arecaceae) extract (WS 1473, an ethanolic [90% by weight] extract containing a minimum of 70% fatty acids and esters) and 120 mg of nettle root dry extract. The study evaluated the product’s ability to relieve symptoms of, and to delay surgery for, BPH. One study showed that PRO was equivalent in efficacy to, but had fewer adverse events than, finasteride.66 A study published in 2012 showed that PRO decreased white blood cell counts in prostatic secretion, decreased prostate volume, and relieved inflammation more rapidly than nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).67 In a study published in 2007, PRO reduced the IPSS, increased urinary flow, and decreased residual urine volume.68 Another study reported that PRO was not inferior to tamsulosin in relieving LUTS.69 One study reported that a year of PRO therapy was well-tolerated and effective compared to placebo.70 Another study found that treatment with PRO was an effective method for avoiding or delaying surgery for BPH.71
There have been a number of studies on another combination product for prostate health, called ProstaMEV Plus (FarmaceuticaMEV; Siena, Italy), which contains 320 mg of saw palmetto, 0.4% nettle (plant part not specified), and 1600 gelatin digesting units (GDUs) of bromelain (an extract of enzymes found in pineapple; Ananas comosus, Bromeliaceae).72 In one study published in 2015, two groups treated with ProstaMEV Plus for two months experienced greater improvements in IPSS, urinary flow, and sex life than did the groups treated with only 320 mg of saw palmetto, irrespective of antibiotic use.73 In another study, ProstaMEV (containing saw palmetto and nettle [plant part not specified], but not bromelain) improved the efficacy of the antibiotic prulifloxacin in bacterial prostatitis patients.74

A RDBPC, parallel-arms clinical study published in 2009 examined the commercially prepared combination food supplement Phytalgic (Phythea Laboratories; Savigny-le-Temple, France) — containing 150 mg of U. dioica dry extract (plant part not specified), 1,350 mg of fish oil, 45.8 mg of microencapsulated zinc sulfate, and 10 mg of vitamin E — for its efficacy in treating osteoarthritis (OA).75 Patients (N = 81) with OA of the knee or hip regularly using NSAIDs and/or analgesics were randomized to take either three capsules per day for three months of Phytalgic or placebo. The primary outcome measure was the use of NSAIDs or analgesics (500 mg of acetaminophen-equivalent tablets/week). After three months, the mean use of NSAIDs and analgesics was significantly different in the test group compared to placebo. The test group also scored significantly better with regard to pain, stiffness, and function.
One randomized, double-blind study published in 1990 investigated the effects of a freeze-dried preparation of nettle, containing 300 mg of nettle leaf (Eclectic Institute; Sandy, Oregon), on symptoms of allergic rhinitis.76 The 98 subjects who volunteered for the study were given either nettle capsules or placebo, and were instructed to take two capsules at the onset of allergy symptoms. Subjects recorded their responses to the medication, along with the total number of doses taken over the course of the one-week study. (The author does not specify how or when the subjects were instructed to take additional doses.) Of the 69 subjects who completed the study, 16 in the test group (n = 31) rated nettle as less effective than conventional pharmaceutical hay fever medicines they had taken previously, and 15 rated it as equally or more effective than previous medicines. Thirty subjects in the placebo group (n = 38) rated it less effective than previous medicines, and eight rated it as equally or more effective. Sixteen subjects in the test group indicated that they would buy and use the medication in future, whereas only seven in the placebo group said they would.

FUTURE OUTLOOK
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) European Red List of Medicinal Plants assigns both U. dioica and U. urens to the conservation category of Least Concern (LC), meaning that these species are not threatened.77 Wild populations of nettle appear to be abundant in Europe and continue to serve as an important source of household income in rural areas throughout eastern and southern Europe.12 Wild-collection enterprises are able to collect nettle herb (aerial parts) and nettle leaf in the summer months, and the subterranean parts (root and rhizome) in the fall. Families that collect nettle for income often collect other economically important wild medicinal plants that grow in the same areas, such as dandelion leaf and root, dog rose (Rosa canina, Rosaceae) hip, European elder flower and fruit, linden (Tilia cordata and T. platyphyllos, Tiliaceae) flower, and raspberry (Rubus idaeus, Rosaceae) leaf, among many others.12
Although trade data are not available through national databases, due to the absence of a species-specific tariff code for nettle, some countries keep records of quantities through export license declarations. For example, wild-collected nettle leaf (Folium Urticae) ranks as Bulgaria’s fourth largest medicinal plant export by volume, with an average of 930,595 kg (more than 2 million lbs) exported annually. Nettle root (Radix Urticae) ranks eleventh, with an average annual export quantity of 432,780 kg (954,117 lbs). Bulgaria also exports a relatively small amount of nettle herb (Herba Urticae, aerial parts), at an average of 53,111 kg (117,090 lbs) annually.78 Romania reportedly exports about 50,000 kg (110,231 lbs) of nettle herb annually.14 In addition, the single most important wild-collected medicinal plant from Poland, in terms of annual quantity harvested, is nettle leaf.79 Another indicator of the widespread use of nettle is the relatively high number of nettle-containing herbal medicinal products with marketing authorizations in European and North American countries. For example, according to the drug information database of the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM), there are 1,540 medicinal products containing nettle leaf in Germany alone.80 And, in Canada, at the time of this writing (March 2016), the Licensed Natural Health Products Database (LNHPD) listed 650 licensed NHPs that contain U. dioica herb or root as an active ingredient, and 54 NHPs that contain U. urens herb or root as an active ingredient.81
There is evidence that nettle production is occurring increasingly through sustainable wild-collection methods and sustainable agriculture practices. Cultivated certified-organic nettle is presently coming to market from farms in Germany,82 the UK,83 Egypt,26 Canada, Mexico, and the US,23 and many wild-collection operations have implemented the “organic wild-crop harvesting practice standard” for certified-organic wild-collected nettle, particularly in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, and Poland. Several organic-wild nettle operations have also implemented the FairWild Standard, which includes criteria not only for ecological sustainability, but also for economic and social sustainability for the harvesters and their communities.12 There is also cultivated nettle with fair trade certification coming from Egypt.25 With the increasing uptake of credible sustainability standards that help protect the ecosystems where nettle and other medicinal plants are harvested, the tradition of wild-collection has a chance to continue, as local and rural people begin to rely on better income through organic and fair trade pricing structures.

REFERENCES
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41.  European Medicines Agency (EMA) Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC). Community herbal monograph on Urtica dioica L.; Urtica urens L., herba. London, UK: European Medicines Agency; 2008. Available at: www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/Herbal_-_Community_herbal_monograph/2009/12/WC500017972.pdf. Accessed March 19, 2016.
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45.  World Health Organization. Radix Urticae. In: WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants. Vol. 2. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2002: 329-341.
46.  World Health Organization. Radix Urticae. In: WHO Monographs on Medicinal Plants Commonly Used in the Newly Independent States (NIS). Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2010: 207-421.
47.  Upton R, ed. Stinging Nettle Root – Urtica dioica L. In: American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and Therapeutic Compendium. Scotts Valley, CA: The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia; 2010.
48.  Upton R, ed. Stinging Nettle Herb – Urtica dioica L., Urtica urens L. In: American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and Therapeutic Compendium. Scotts Valley, CA: The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia; 2009.
49.  US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Health and Human Services. §101.93 Certain types of statements for dietary supplements. In: Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Part 101 (21CFR §101.93). Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office; 2015a.
50.  US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Bulk Drug Substances Nominated for Use in Compounding Under Section 503A of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act 503A List 1 – Bulk Drug Substances Under Evaluation. Silver Spring, MD: FDA; 2015b. Available at: www.fda.gov/downloads/drugs/guidancecomplianceregulatoryinformation/pharmacycompounding/ucm467373.pdf. Accessed March 19, 2016.
51.  US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Draft Guidance: Interim Policy on Compounding Using Bulk Drug Substances Under Section 503A of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act Guidance for Industry. Silver Spring, MD: FDA; 2015c. Available at: www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/UCM469120.pdf. Accessed March 19, 2016.
52.  Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD). Monograph: Stinging Nettle. Ottawa (ON): Health Canada; 2008. Available at: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/dbImages/1066. Accessed March 19, 2016.
53.  European Medicines Agency (EMA) Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC). Guideline on Good Agriculture and Collection Practice (GACP) for Starting Materials of Herbal Origin. London, UK: European Medicines Agency; 2006. Available at: www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/Scientific_guideline/2009/09/WC500003362.pdf. Accessed March 19, 2016.
54.  European Commission Health & Consumers Directorate. Cosmetic Ingredients and Substances (CosIng®) Database. Brussels, Belgium: European Commission. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/. Accessed March 19, 2016.
55.  Bruneton J, ed. Pharmacognosy, Phytochemistry, Medicinal Plants. 2nd ed. Paris, France: Lavoisier; 1999.
56.  Chrubasik JE, Roufogalis BD, Wagner H, Chrubasik SA. A comprehensive review on nettle effect and efficacy profiles, Part I: Herbal urticae. Phytomedicine. 2007;14:423-435.
57.  Gülçin İ, Küfrevioğlu Öİ, Oktay M, Büyükpokuroğlu ME. Antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiulcer and analgesic activities of nettle (Urtica dioica L.). J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;90:205-215.
58.  Ghaima KK, Hashim NM, Ali SA. Antibacterial and antioxidant activities of ethyl acetate extract of nettle (Urtica dioica) and dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science. May 2013;3(5):96-99.
59.  Khajeh-Mehrizi R, Mozaffari-Khosravi H, Ghadiri-Anari A, Dehghani A. The effect of Urtica dioica extract on glycemic control and insulin resistance indices in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized double-blind clinical trial. Iranian Journal of Diabetes and Obesity. 2014;6(4):149-155.
60.  Kianbakht S, Khalighi-Sigaroodi F, Heidari A, et al. Urtica dioica L. in treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research and Bio-Science. 2012;1(5):533-542.
61.  Namazi N, Tarighat A. Bahrami A. The effect of hydro alcoholic nettle (Urtica dioica) extract on oxidative stress in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized double-blind clinical trial. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences. 2012;15(2):98-102.
62.  Namazi N, Esfanjani AT, Heshmati J, Bahrami A. The effect of hydro alcoholic nettle (Urtica dioica) extracts on insulin sensitivity and some inflammatory indicators in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized double-blind control trial. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences. 2011;14(15):775-779.
63.  Safarinejad MR. Urtica dioica for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy. 2005;5(4):1-11.
64.  Schneider T, Rübben H. Dry extract of stinging nettle (Bazoton®-uno) in long-term therapy of benign prostatic syndrome (BPS). Urologe. 2004;43:302-306.
65.  Vontobel HP, Herzog R, Rutishauser G, Kres H. Results of a double-blind study of the efficacy of ERU*1 capsules in the conservative treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Urologe. 1985;24:49-51.
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—Gayle Engels and Josef Brinckma


Brandnetelwortel tegen prostaatklachten

Brandnetels......zijn niet alleen irriterend maar ook nuttig? Het is ook zinnig als kruid bij moeilijk plassen door een opgezette prostaat. Neem dan wel de wortel en niet de bladeren! Er zijn verschillende plantaardige middelen die bij klachten van goedaardige prostaathypertrofie ingezet kunnen worden. Brandnetelwortelpreparaten bleken ook werkzaam in een grote studie met meer dan 600 patiënten die gedurende 6 maanden brandnetelextract slikten. Na een half jaar bleek brandnetel significant de symptomen van goedaardige prostaat hypertrofie te verminderen.[1] Ook de objectieve maatstaven zoals kracht van het plassen en de hoeveelheid urine die niet uitgeplast werd, veranderden in positieve zin. In een tweede studie, met wederom enkele honderden ppatiënten werd de combinatie van brandnetelwortel met Sabal o
minder bij de kruiden.[4]

Een kwalitatieve bespreking (januari 2008) was sceptisch van toon, maar daar hadden de auteurs de eerste studie niet in de bespreking meegenomen.[5] Een andere bespreking noemde 4 studies en was positiever qua conclusie.[6]

Beoordeling
De eerste studie demonstreerde duidelijk objectiveerbare en subjectieve positieve effecten van brandnetelwortel. De tweede studie alleen subjectieve effecten, objectieve effecten waren niet gemeten. Deze studie kwam uit Rusland. De kwaliteit van de studies is goed, maar er kan ruimte blijven voor enige twijfel. 

Referenties
[1]: Safarinejad MR. | Urtica dioica for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. | J Herb Pharmacother. | 2005;5(4):1-11.
[2]: Lopatkin N, Sivkov A, Schläfke S, Funk P, Medvedev A, Engelmann U. | Efficacy and safety of a combination of Sabal and Urtica extract in lower urinary tract symptoms--long-term follow-up of a placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter trial. | Int Urol Nephrol. | 2007;39(4):1137-46. Epub 2007 Feb 15.
[3]: Engelmann U, Walther C, Bondarenko B, Funk P, Schläfke S. | Efficacy and safety of a combination of sabal and urtica extract in lower urinary tract symptoms. A randomized, double-blind study versus tamsulosin. | Arzneimittelforschung. | 2006;56(3):222-9.
[4]: Sökeland J. | Combined sabal and urtica extract compared with finasteride in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia: analysis of prostate volume and therapeutic outcome. | BJU Int. | 2000 Sep;86(4):439-42.
[5]: Madersbacher S, Berger I, Ponholzer A, Marszalek M. | Plant extracts: sense or nonsense? | Curr Opin Urol. | 2008 Jan;18(1):16-20.
[6]: [No authors listed] | Urtica dioica; Urtica urens (nettle). Monograph. | Altern Med Rev. | 2007 Sep;12(3):280-4.



Brennnessel (Urtica) - Signaturenlehre

Wehrhaftigkeit, Willenskraft, Reinigung.

Signatur:
Aus der Familie der Brennnesselgewächse stammend wird die Pflanze 1,20 - 1,50 cm hoch. Sie besitzt einen ausdauernden, kriechenden, stark verästelten Wurzelstock. Die Stängel sind vierkantig und mit kurzen Borsten und langen Brennhaaren besetzt. Die gegenständigen, eiförmigen bis länglichen Blätter sind am Grunde herzförmig oder abgerundet, am Rand aber grob gesägt. Sie sind ebenfalls mit Borsten und Brennhaaren ausgestattet. Die Blütenzweige tragen in der Regel nur männliche oder weibliche Blüten. Diese sind unscheinbar, grünlich und windblütig. In den weiblichen Blüten findet sich ein oberständiger Fruchtknoten mit großen, pinselförmigen Narben. Die Frucht ist ein kleines, einsamiges Nüsschen. Die männlichen Blüten richten sich vor allem in der Wärme ruckartig auf und streuen beim Öffnen den Blütenstaub in Form eines Wölkchens aus. Insgesamt stehen die Blüten wie Würstchen oder Raupen vom Stängel ab und verleihen dem Blütenstand eher einen tierhaften Charakter.

Bei Berührung der Brennhaare bricht deren kugelförmige Spitze ab und es entsteht eine scharfkantige Kanüle durch die das Gift in die geritzte Haut fließt. Das Gift besteht aus Stoffen, die sonst nur im Tierreich vorkommen, wie Acetylcholin, Serotonin, Ameisensäure. Es führt zu Rötung, Brennen, Juckreiz und Quaddelbildung.

Die Urtica wächst bevorzugt in übersäuerten, mit Stickstoff angereicherten Böden. Sie erfüllt eine wesentliche Aufgabe, in dem sie den Böden den überschüssigen Stickstoff entzieht und das biologische Gleichgewicht wieder herstellt. Die Urtica nutzt den Stickstoff, um Eiweißverbindungen aufzubauen, wodurch sie vor allem für Raupen und andere Insekten zu einem begehrter Futterplatz wird. Durch den hohen Eiweißgehalt tritt rasch Fäulnis ein, wenn man die Pflanzen ins Wasser legt. Aus der Brennnesseljauche wird ein natürlicher Dünger und dient als biologisches Pflanzenschutzmittel gegen Schädlinge. Die Urtica blüht im Sommer und Herbst. Der Geruch der Blüten ist kaum wahrnehmbar, ihr Geschmack schwach bitter.

Tradition:
Schon in der Antike war die Brennnessel als Heilpflanze bekannt. Der Grieche Dioskurides schreibt, dass sie menstruationsfördernd, erweichend, wind- und harntreibend wirke und gut gegen Hundebiss, krebsartige Geschwüre und alle schwerwiegenden Entzündungen sei. Die Pflanze wird auch von Hippokrates aufgeführt. Der Römer Plinius und andere Heilkundige seiner Zeit beschreiben ihre blutstillende Wirkung. Die Kräuterbücher des Mittelalters bestätigen im Wesentlichen die Indikationen der antiken Ärzte. Sowohl Paracelsus, als später auch Hildegard von Bingen hatten die Heilpflanze in ihrem Arzneischatz.

1924 fand M. Dobreff, dass die Urtica ein stark wirksames Sekretin enthält, das stärker sei als bei Spinat. Es wurde als das stärkst wirksame sekretfördernde Mittel für Magen und Pankreas eingestuft.
Der Volksmund schreibt der Brennnessel besondere Eigenschaften zu: Sie soll Pflanzenschädlinge abwehren so wie Menschen vor Krankheiten und Unglück beschützen.

Vorkommen:
Die Brennnessel kommt weltweit in allen gemäßigten Klimazonen vor. Sie wächst bevorzugt an Wegrändern, an Flussufern, im Bereich von Almhütten, wo die Böden durch menschliche oder tierische Ausscheidungen stickstoffreich sind, aber auch aus Schuttplätzen, Kahlschlägen und Ödland.

Inhaltsstoffe:
Die Blätter enthalten harntreibende Flavonoide, Silikate und histaminähnliche Substanzen. Deshalb ist sie als pflanzliche „Nosode“ nach dem Ähnlichkeitsprinzip der Homöopathie in Situationen hilfreich, die durch Histaminausschüttungen vor allem Hautreaktionen auslösen. Die Ameisensäure in den Brennhaaren fördert die Durchblutung. In den Wurzeln findet man Gerbsäure. In den Früchten findet man Eisen, B und C Vitamine, sowie Karotinoide.

Indikation:
Die Brennnessel unterstützt Menschen, die eine klare Abgrenzung gegenüber Angriffen von außen finden wollen und hilft bei Widerständen, um die eigenen Grundbedürfnisse und Zielsetzungen durchzusetzen. Bei aufgestauten inneren Konflikten hilft sie bei der innerlichen Bereinigung und gibt die Freiheit, neue kreative Lebensprogramme zu starten.

Urtica wirkt aufgrund ihrer stoffwechselbereinigenden Wirkung als Immunstimulans, fördert aufgrund ihres Eisen und Vitamingehaltes die Blutneubildung und ist als Basismittel bei Rheuma, Gicht, Gallen- und Leberstörungen angezeigt. Sie steigert die Diurese und lindert Prostatabeschwerden. Durch ihre entschlackende Wirkung vertreibt sie die Frühjahrsmüdigkeit. Aufgrund des hohen Vitamin B Gehalts sorgt sie für schönes glänzendes Haar.



Enkele abstracts


Altern Med Rev. 2007 Sep;12(3):280-4.  Urtica dioica; Urtica urens (Nettle) - monograph. [No authors listed]
Urtica dioica (stinging nettle) and Urtica urens (dwarf nettle) are members of the Urticaceae family native to Eurasia, and are considered therapeutically interchangeable. Nettle root lignans and steroidal compounds may account for the therapeutic activity observed in benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and other androgen- and estrogen-sensitive conditions. As men age, aromatase levels increase, testosterone levels decline (as higher aromatase levels convert testosterone to estrogen), and the prostate gland becomes enlarged. 9-hydroxy-10-trans-12-cis-octadecadienic acid (HOA) from nettle root inhibits aromatase in prostate tissue. Polysaccharides and caffeic malic acid (CMA) are both found to some extent in all parts of nettle and stimulate T-lymphocyte activity and complement activation in vitro. Isolated nettle polysaccharides promote tumor necrosis factor (TNF) production in vitro, while whole plant extracts inhibit TNF. The best-researched indication for nettle is in men with symptomatic benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). At least four double-blind clinical trials confirm the efficacy of nettle root for BPH symptoms alone or in combination. Other conditions for which nettle root has been used successfully include arthritis, neuralgia, cardiovascular disease (nettle root inhibits platelet aggregation and improves lipid profiles), and allergic rhinitis.

Phytomedicine. 2007 Aug;14(7-8):568-79. Epub 2007 May 16.
A comprehensive review on the stinging nettle effect and efficacy profiles. Part II: urticae radix. Chrubasik JE, Roufogalis BD, Wagner H, Chrubasik S. Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Freiburg, Albertstr. 9, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.
Nettle root is recommended for complaints associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). We therefore conducted a comprehensive review of the literature to summarise the pharmacological and clinical effects of this plant material. Only a few components of the active principle have been identified and the mechanism of action is still unclear. It seems likely that sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), aromatase, epidermal growth factor and prostate steroid membrane receptors are involved in the anti-prostatic effect, but less likely that 5alpha-reductase or androgen receptors are involved. Extract and a polysaccharide fraction were shown to exert anti-inflammatory activity. A proprietary methanolic nettle root extract and particular fractions inhibited cell proliferation. Isolated lectins (UDA) were shown to be promising immunomodulatory agents, having also anti-viral and fungistatic effects. However, despite these in vitro studies it is unclear whether the in-vitro or animal data are a surrogate for clinical effects. The clinical evidence of effectiveness for nettle root in the treatment of BPH is based on many open studies. A small number of randomised controlled studies indicate that a proprietary methanolic extract is effective in improving BPH complaints. However, the significance and magnitude of the effect remains to be established in further confirmatory studies before nettle root treatment may be accepted in the guidelines for BPH treatment. The risk for adverse events during nettle root treatment is very low, as is its toxicity. Pre-clinical safety data remain to be completed. 


Ameliorative influence of Urtica dioica L against cisplatin-induced toxicity in mice bearing Ehrlich ascites carcinoma
Halil Özkol1, Davut Musa2, Yasin Tuluce1, and Ismail Koyuncu2
Department of Medical Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Yuzuncu Yil University, Van, Turkey and 2Department of Biology, Faculty of Science and Art, Harran University, S. Urfa, Turkey 
Cisplatin (CP) is a widely used cytotoxic agent against cancer, and high doses of CP have been known to cause nephrotoxicity and hepatotoxicity. Some reports claim that antioxidants can reduce CP-induced toxicity. This study investigated the hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, and antioxidant activity of Urtica dioica L methanolic extract (UDME) against CP toxicity in Erhlich ascites tumor (EAT)-bearing mice. Levels of serum hepatic enzymes, renal function markers, and oxidant/antioxidant parameters of liver tissue were measured. Mice were inoculated with EAT on day 0 and treated with nothing else for 24 hours. After a single dose of CP administration on day 1, the extract was given at the doses of 50, 100, 200, and 400mg/kg body weight daily during 6 days. Almost all doses of UDME performed a significant (P<0.05) preventive role against CP toxicity by decreasing aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, lipid peroxidation, protein oxidation levels, and myeloperoxidase activity, as well as increasing reduced glutathione content, superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione S-transferase, and glutathione peroxidase activities. This suggests that UDME has a protective capacity and antioxidant activity against CP toxicity in EAT-bearing mice, probably by promoting antioxidative defense systems.



A Systematic Review of Efficacy and Safety of Urtica dioica in the treatment of Diabetes. Avin Mehri, Shirin Hasani-Ranjbar, Bagher Larijani and Mohammad Abdollahi
Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world. The number of people with diabetes is increasing dramatically due to population growth, aging, urbanization, and increasing prevalence of obesity and physical inactivity that is finally associated with major health and socio-economic problems. The extent and severity of these problems are reflected in extra mortality and at-risk people. For example, according to the last International Diabetes Federation (IDF) report, about 2566000 people (6% total population) are suffering from diabetes in Iran and its prevalence is increasing like other developing countries expecting to reach 5114900 in 2025 (Sicree et al., 2007). Current estimates demonstrate that the world prevalence of diabetes will increase to 7.7% (439 million) adults by 2030. Between 2010 and 2030, there will be a 69% increase in number of diabetic patients in developing countries and 20% in developed countries (Shawet al., 2010). So, with regard to the issue of socioeconomic burden of diabetes, discovery of more effective and less side effect therapies are necessary. In the recent years good data have been obtained from traditional medicines indicating usefulness of many herbal medicines (Hasani-Ranjbar et al., 2008, 2009). For a very long time, plants have been an important role part of treatment of many diseases. The use of plants to treat diabetes is a centuries-old practice. More than 400 traditional plant treatments for diabetes have been recorded, but only a small number of these have received scientific and medical evaluation to assess their efficacy. Hypoglycemic action from some treatments has been confirmed in animal models, and various hypoglycemic compounds have been identified. Traditional treatments may provide valuable clues for the development of new oral hypoglycemic agents and simple dietary adjuncts. Urtica dioica (Stinging Nettle) has been used for centuries for food and medical purposes. The genus name Urtica comes from the Latin verb urere, meaning to burn because of stinging hairs of the herb. The species name dioica means two houses because the plant usually contains either male or female flowers. It is abundant in North America, Northern Europe and most of Asia, usually found in the rural area. It contains flavonoides (0.7-1.8%), silicic acid (1-4%), potassium-ions (0.6%), nitrates (1.5-3%), volatile oil, histamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, formic acid and leukotrienes (LTB4, LTC4, LTD4). The blood sugar lowering effect of Urtica dioica has been mentioned in old script such as those written by Avicenna. There have been other reports indicating the benefits of using the infusion or the extract of the leaves or other parts of this plant for the use in diabetes (Ramos et al., 1992; Swanston-Flatt et al., 1989). Moreover, it is used internally and externally as supportive therapy for prostatic hyperplasia (Hirano et al., 1994; Krzeski et al., 1993; Kayser et al., 1995), inflammation (Obertreis et al., 1996), rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension and allergic rhinitis (Mittman, 1990).


Randomized, Double-Blind Study of Freeze-Dried Urtica dioica in the Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis. Paul Mittman National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Oregon 97216, U.S.A. Planta Med 1990; 56(1): 44-47
Ninety-eight individuals took part in a double-blind randomized study comparing the effects of a freeze-dried preparation of Urtica dioica (stinging nettles) with placebo on allergic rhinitis. Sixty-nine individuals completed the study. Assessment was based on daily symptom diaries, and global response recorded at the follow-up visit after one week of therapy. Urtica dioica was rated higher than placebo in the global assessments. Comparing the diary data Urtica dioica was rated only slightly higher.

Journal of Ethnopharmacology Volume 90, Issues 2–3, February 2004, Pages 205–215
Antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiulcer and analgesic activities of nettle (Urtica dioica L.) İlhami Gülçina, Ö.İrfan Küfrevioǧlua, , , Münir Oktayb, Mehmet Emin Büyükokuroǧluc

In this study, water extract of nettle (Urtica dioica L.) (WEN) was studied for antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiulcer and analgesic properties. The antioxidant properties of WEN were evaluated using different antioxidant tests, including reducing power, free radical scavenging, superoxide anion radical scavenging, hydrogen peroxide scavenging, and metal chelating activities. WEN had powerful antioxidant activity. The 50, 100 and 250 μg amounts of WEN showed 39, 66 and 98% inhibition on peroxidation of linoleic acid emulsion, respectively, while 60 μg/ml of α-tocopherol, exhibited only 30% inhibition. Moreover, WEN had effective reducing power, free radical scavenging, superoxide anion radical scavenging, hydrogen peroxide scavenging, and metal chelating activities at the same concentrations. Those various antioxidant activities were compared to standard antioxidants such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), quercetin, and α-tocopherol. In addition, total phenolic compounds in the WEN were determined as pyrocatechol equivalent. WEN also showed antimicrobial activity against nine microorganisms, antiulcer activity against ethanol-induced ulcerogenesis and analgesic effect on acetic acid-induced stretching.

FEBS letters Volume 442, Issue 1, 8 January 1999, Pages 89–94
Plant extracts from stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), an antirheumatic remedy, inhibit the proinflammatory transcription factor NF-κBKristina Riehemanna, b, Bert Behnkec, Klaus Schulze-Osthoffa,

a Department of Internal Medicine I, Medical Clinics, University of Tübingen, Otfried-Müller-Str. 10, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany
b Center of Molecular Biology of Inflammation, Institute of Medical Biochemistry, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
c Strathmann Research GmbH, Hamburg, Germany
Activation of transcription factor NF-κB is elevated in several chronic inflammatory diseases and is responsible for the enhanced expression of many proinflammatory gene products. Extracts from leaves of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) are used as antiinflammatory remedies in rheumatoid arthritis. Standardized preparations of these extracts (IDS23) suppress cytokine production, but their mode of action remains unclear. Here we demonstrate that treatment of different cells with IDS23 potently inhibits NF-κB activation. An inhibitory effect was observed in response to several stimuli, suggesting that IDS23 suppressed a common NF-κB pathway. Inhibition of NF-κB activation by IDS23 was not mediated by a direct modification of DNA binding, but rather by preventing degradation of its inhibitory subunit IκB-α. Our results suggests that part of the antiinflammatory effect of Urtica extract may be ascribed to its inhibitory effect on NF-κB activation.

Fitoterapia Volume 74, Issues 7–8, December 2003, Pages 677–681
Antihyperglycemic activity of the aqueous extract of Urtica dioica. Mohamed Bnouham, , Fatima-Zahra Merhfour, Abderrahim Ziyyat, Hassane Mekhfi, Mohammed Aziz, Abdelkhaleq Legssyer Laboratoire de Physiologie et Pharmacologie Cellulaire, UFR de Physiologie et Pharmacologie, Département de Biologie, Faculté des Sciences, Université Mohamed Ier, Oujda B.P. 524, Morocco

When administered 30 min before glucose loading, the aqueous extract of Urtica dioica (nettle) (250 mg/kg) showed a strong glucose lowering effect. The decrease of glycemia has reached to 33±3.4% of the control value 1 h after glucose loading. This effect was persistent during 3 h. In contrast, nettle did not show hypoglycemic effect in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. The amount of glucose absorbed in a segment jejunum in situ was 8.05±0.68 mg in presence of nettle extract vs. 11.11±0.75 mg in control rats during 2 h (P<0.05). The results indicate that nettle has a significant antihyperglycemic effect in OGTT model. This effect may be caused in part by the reduction of intestinal glucose absorption. LD50 is 3.5 g/kg (i.p.).


Nettle fruits and seeds are used variously for recreation and therapy (see: Treasure, J. 2003). I recommend 5-20 grams/cc of fresh green nettle fruits chewed thoroughly as a very refreshing stimulant. I suspect that my great feel good responses to eating a few grams of fresh nettle shoots and leaves in Spring and later, in Summer, eating raw nettle fruits, are caused by the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and serotonin. Acetylcholine is the most abundant neurotransmitter in our brains. Maybe a little bit extra from eating nettle provides a dash of manufacturing cost relief. Caution, drinking a decoction of 30 grams fresh nettle fruits in 12 ounces water can induce 12-36 hours of wide-eyed wakefulness.

Jim McDonald writes "Anima medicine woman Kiva Rose has likewise used nettle seed as a restorative tonic with excellent results, using either the green seeds eaten directly or as a tincture. She shares that Nettle seed “promotes a sense of clarity, wellness, heightened energy levels, reduced stress and seemingly increased lung capacity. They are especially effective for those suffering from severe burnout, resulting in profound fatigue, brain fog, chronic pain and alternating feelings of depression and intense anxiety. Nettle seed can lessen all of these symptoms, and sometimes eliminate them completely. For some people, they can dramatically effect or shift perception, promoting a sense of connectedness, well-being and mild euphoria. Physical and mental stamina is usually increased, and exertion may seem more enjoyable to the individual.” Source: http://www.herbcraft.org/nettles%20oats%20and%20you.pdf

The literature on constituents or pharmacology of nettle seeds is sparse. An HPLC analysis of the lipid fraction indicates the presence of a high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids, especially palmitic, and a small amount of omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids. Of interest is the presence of a lectin in the seeds of U. pilulifera, a Turkish stinging nettle.
A lectin from the roots of U .dioica known as Urtica dioica agglutinin(UDA) is known as a novel T-Cell mitogen with superantigenic properties.7
UDA has an unique pattern of T-cell activation and cytokine induction whichhas led to its use as a probe in investigations of superantigen activity.

The clinical use of nettle seed extracts for treatment of renal dysfunction represents a novel indication for the herb, first suggested by North American herbalistDavid Winston and to date unsupported by published reports. The following two cases involve the use of nettle seed extracts in patients with serious renal challenges, and utilize serum creatinine laboratory values data to serially monitor the effects of the extract.
Both patients were impressed with the effects of the Urtica semen. Both continued to do well with apparently stable renal function unaided by
continued herbal support. The nephrectomy patient recently experienced an increase in creatinine levels following major surgical procedure. The allograft patient continues to pursue an active career in performing arts in the Pacific Northwest.

* Nettle seed extract
The extract of nettle seed used in the above case series was a standard tincture 1:5, 30% EtOH, supplied by Herbalist & Alchemist Inc. 51 S Wandling Avenue, Washington, NJ. 07882-3537.

Effects of Urtica dioica L. seed on lipid peroxidation, antioxidants and liver pathology in aflatoxin-induced tissue injury in ratsZabt Yenera, Corresponding author contact information, E-mail the corresponding author, Ismail Celikb, Fatma Ilhana, Ramazan Balc

This study was carried out to investigate the hepatoprotective and antioxidant properties of Urtica dioica L. seeds (UDS) extract against aflatoxin (AF)-exposure in rats. The preventive potential and antioxidant capacity of the plant’s extract was evaluated by liver histopathological changes, measuring serum marker enzymes, antioxidant defense systems and lipid peroxidation (Malondialdehyde, MDA) content in some tissues of rats. Eighteen rats were randomly divided into one of three experimental groups: control, AF-treated group and AF+UDS-treated group. Rats in control group were fed with a diet without AF. Rats in AF-treated group and AF+UDS-treated group received approximately 25 μgr of AF/rat/day. AF+UDS groups also received 2 mL of UDS oils/rat/day by gavage for 90 days. Administration of UDS extract restored the AF-induced imbalance between MDA and antioxidant system towards near normal particularly in liver. Hepatoprotection by UDS is further substantiated by the almost normal histologic findings in AF+UDS-treated group as against degenerative changes in the AF-treated rats. It is concluded that UDS has a hepatoprotective effect in rats with aflatoxicosis, probably acting by promoting the antioxidative defense systems.


Nettles Uses and Pharmacology / Monograph Drugs.Com

Arthritis/analgesia
In vitro studies using human cell lines suggest extracts may down-regulate the inflammation cascade, exert effects on cyclo-oxygenase enzymes, and reduce primary T-cell responses. 8 , 9 , 10
Animal data
In writhing and licking tests in rodent studies, extracts of U. dioica showed analgesic and antinociceptive properties. Reduced inflammation in induced paw edema was also demonstrated. 11 , 12 , 13
Clinical data
Limited clinical trials have been conducted using nettle leaves to reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis. 13 , 14 , 15

Benign prostatic hyperplasia
Experimental studies suggest a number of possible mechanisms of action for extracts of nettle in managing the symptoms of BPH. Reductions in the plasma level of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), the protein involved in binding of circulating androgens and estrogen, have been demonstrated. An effect on enzyme activity, including the conversion of testosterone to estrogens and weak inhibition of 5 alpha-reductase and aromatase, has been demonstrated in vitro. Reduced prostate growth has also been shown by some, but not all, nettle extracts. 2 , 6
Animal data
Animal studies have been conducted to evaluate the effect of extracts of U. dioica in BPH; however, the availability of more recent clinical trial data makes these studies less important. 2 , 6 In vitro and animal studies have examined a potential role of nettle extract in prostate cancer, suggesting inhibition of adenosine deaminase to be a possible mechanism of action. 16
Clinical data
Most trials have been of open-label design, and few high-quality clinical trials have been conducted using U. dioica alone compared with standard therapy. However, some evidence suggests that certain nettle extracts do exhibit efficacy in reducing the symptoms of BPH as measured by the International Prostate Symptom Score. 2 , 6
Increases in urine volume and urinary flow, decreases in frequency of micturition, post-void residual volume, and serum SHBG have been demonstrated. 2 , 6 , 17 No alteration in prostate-specific antigen or testosterone levels was found in one clinical trial. 17
Clinical trials have also evaluated the adjunctive effect of U. dioica in treating bacterial prostatitis. 18 , 19 The Complete German Commission E Monographs support use in inflammation of the urinary tract and in the prevention and treatment of kidney gravel. 3

Cardiovascular effects
Nettles have traditionally been used for their diuretic and hypotensive effects. In vitro studies show that U. dioica extracts inhibit thrombin-induced platelet aggregation, possibly due to flavonoid content. 20
Animal data
Rats fed a high-fat diet and aqueous U. dioica extracts had reductions in total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, plasma apoprotein B, and LDL/high-density lipoprotein ratio. 21 In a similar study, higher doses resulted in mild steatosis, with lower dosages improving the lipid profile. 22
Diuretic, natriuretic, and hypotensive action have been demonstrated in rats. 23 , 24 In isolated heart studies, decreased heart rate and inotropic activity have been shown, as well as increased left ventricular pressure and vascular contractility. 24 , 25
Clinical data
Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of nettle in cardiovascular conditions.

Diabetes
Lectins isolated from the seeds and leaves of nettle have been evaluated for a potential role in the management of diabetes. In vitro studies suggest effects on Langerhans and muscle cells with increased glucose uptake into cells, as well as reduced intestinal absorption of glucose. 26 , 27 , 28 , 29Animal data
In rats with induced diabetes, serum glucose levels were reduced in some, 29 , 30 , 31 but not all, experiments. 29 , 31 , 32 No effect of nettle extracts was demonstrated on renal indices in diabetic rats. 33
Clinical Data
Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of nettle in diabetes, although case reports of hypoglycemia due to consumption of nettle preparations for prostatic hypertrophy exist. 34

Allergic rhinitis
Freeze-dried nettle has been evaluated for allergic rhinitis. In a double-blind trial, freeze-dried nettle leaf 600 mg was more effective than placebo in controlling symptoms. 35 Effects may be due to immunomodulatory or anti-inflammatory actions. 9 , 36 , 37 , 38

Antimicrobial
In vitro studies have shown antiviral action against HIV, cytomegalovirus, and feline immunodeficiency virus. 39 , 40 Antibacterial action has also been described. 11 , 41

Antioxidant
Antioxidant action of U. dioica has been evaluated. The roots and stem have little action, while the leaves and seeds demonstrate high activity. The antioxidant effect may be responsible for a hepatoprotective effect, as well as an anti-apoptotic action in brain cells. 11 , 42 , 43 , 44 , 45 , 46 , 47

Dosage
Freeze-dried nettle leaf 600 mg has been used in a clinical trial for allergic rhinitis. 35 Clinical trials for BPH have used aqueous extracts of U. dioica root 360 mg daily over 6 months 17 and methanol root extract 600 to 1,200 mg daily for 6 to 9 weeks. 2

Pregnancy/Lactation
Documented adverse effects; reputed abortifacient and effects on androgen and estrogen metabolism. Avoid use. 2 , 48

Interactions
Case reports are lacking 2 ; however, the American College of Cardiology Foundation recommends caution due to possible potentiation of the effects of diuretics. 49 In an experiment with rat platelets, crude aqueous extracts as well as the isolated flavonoids inhibited platelet aggregation. 20

Adverse Reactions
Nettles are known primarily for their ability to induce topical irritation following contact with exposed skin. The acute urticaria is caused by the release of histamine, serotonin, and choline from the hairs and spines of the leaves and stem and generally resolves spontaneously. Treatment with systemic antihistamines and topical steroids may be of benefit. Case reports of prolonged effects exist. 8 , 50

Radix urticae extracts and other nettle preparations are generally well tolerated, with minor and transient gastric effects, including diarrhea, gastric pain, and nausea reported. 2 Case reports of hypoglycemia due to consumption of nettle preparations for prostatic hypertrophy exist, as well as gynaecomastia and galactorrhea. 34 , 51 Due to the effects on androgen and estrogen metabolism, nettle preparations are contraindicated in pregnancy and lactation and should not be used in children younger than 12. 2 , 48

Toxicology
The acute oral LD 50 in rats has been estimated to be greater than 30 g/kg for the aqueous leaf extract and 1.3 g/kg for the root. 2 , 6 , 21 Liver function tests in rats fed aqueous nettle extracts for 30 days were normal. 21 Older mutagenicity and carcinogenicity studies have been negative for the aqueous extract. 6

Bibliography
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10. Broer J, Behnke B. Immunosuppressant effect of IDS 30, a stinging nettle leaf extract, on myeloid dendritic cells in vitro. J Rheumatol . 2002;29(4):659-666.
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Phytother. Res. (2009) Nettle Extract (Urtica dioica) Affects Key Receptors and Enzymes Associated with Allergic Rhinitis
Bill Roschek Jr.1, Ryan C. Fink2, Matthew McMichael1 and Randall S. Alberte1
1HerbalScience Group LLC, 1004 Collier Center Way, Suite 200, Naples, FL 34110, USA
2Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33136, USA

Nettle (Urtica dioica L.) has been used for hundreds of years to treat a variety of disorders ranging from allergic rhinitis to hypertension ( Thornhill et al., 2000; Legssyer et al., 2002). Nettle is a temperate herbaceous species that is a common and aggressive weed found in moist soils throughout the USA and Europe but is also cultivated commercially (Whitney et al., 2006). Urtica dioica belongs to the family Urticaceae. The Latin root of Urtica is uro, meaning ‘I burn’, indicative of the stings caused by glandular hairs on the leaves that contain formic acid and histamine, two agents known to cause the ‘stinging’ and skin irritation after contact. Dermatological reactions from exposure to the formic acid released with gentle mechanical stress to the leaves can range from mild irritation to severe dermatitis (Edwards Jr. et al., 1992; Morgan et al., 2003; Bossuyt et al., 1994; Caliskaner et al., 2004).
Clinical evidence shows that freeze-dried extracts of nettle reduce allergy symptoms (Mittman, 1990). However, the precise nature of the effectiveness of nettle extracts for allergies is unclear, but clinical data and recent findings suggest the benefits likely arise from its anti-inflammatory activities (Mittman, 1990; Tunon et al., 1995; Konrad et al., 2005). Here we report that a proprietary nettle extract has in vitro anti-inflammatory
activities that target key processes that generate the symptoms of allergic rhinitis and we identify key functional bioactives that contribute to these activities. The activities include 
(1) H1 receptor inactivation and inhibition, which blocks histamine production and release; 
(2) Tryptase inhibition, which blocks mast cell
degranulation and the subsequent release of cytokines and chemokines that cause allergy symptoms; 
(3) COX- 1 and COX-2 inhibition, which blocks prostaglandin formation; and 
(4) Hematopoietic Prostaglandin D2 Synthase (HPGDS)inhibition, which specifically blocks Prostaglandin D2 production, a primary pro-inflammatory mediator in allergic rhinitis. Key functional bioactives include 4-shogaol, piperine, 8-dehydrogingerdione, deoxyharringtonine and carnosol.



Urtica antroposofisch bekeken
(Weledaberichten nr.102 09 1974)

De grote brandnetel (urtica dioca). Wie kent ze niet, de weelderig groeiende brandnetels die de mens letterlijk op de hielen zitten en overal ter wereld gedijen in de omgeving waar de mens leeft, vooral daar waar hij chaos en vernieling in de natuur heeft aangericht; langs wegbermen, bossages, op puin- en afvalhopen.
Ze worden weinig gewaardeerd, want voor de meeste mensen zijn ze het toppunt van “onkruid”. Maar het is de moeite waard, ze eens aandachtig te bekijken. Met zjjn streng gevormde, mooi geprofileerde bladeren die op de stevige, rechtopstaande stengel duidelijk ritmisch kruisgewijs tegenover elkaar staan, heeft de brandnetel iets heel esthetisch, al vertoont hij – wat men als be­kroning van een zo doorwrochte opbouw zou verwachten – geen kleurige bloemen. De bladeren, het vegetatieve element, staan op de voorgrond; bij alle dwang om te groeien komt het nooit tot ongevormdheid. De groei wordt steeds beheerst door een duidelijke orde, zonder evenwel tot ver­starring en verharding te leiden.
Ondanks de typische, gemakkelijk te herkennen vormen, blijft er een brede speelruimte over voor plastische variabiliteit waarin de karakteristieken van de verschillende standplaatsen worden weerspiegeld.
Maar niet alleen het sterke zich uitleven in de vorming van de donkergroene bladeren, die een hoog chlorofylgehalte hebben, is een uitdrukking voor de vitaliteit van de brandnetel. Ook het sterke regeneratievermogen hoort daarbij, waardoor uit afzonderlijke planten door horizontaal in de grond kruipende gele wortelscheuten al gauw omvangrijke groepen ontstaan. Zij maken, naar buiten te dicht opeenstaand, daar binnen schaduw en vochtige plekken en bedekken op weldadige wijze de lelijkheid van hun standplaatsen. Uit knoppen in de bladoksels kunnen de afzonderlijke scheu­ten spoedig weer hele planten worden. Na het afmaaien groeien ze weer snel op. Aan korte zij­loten verschijnen de onopvallende, heldergroene, in bosjes bijeenstaande bloemen, gescheiden in meeldraad- en vruchtbloesems, die in vérgaande mate zijn ondergedoken in het bladgebied. Bestuiving en de verspreiding van het zaad worden overgelaten aan de wind. De op het eerste gezicht zo vitale brandnetel heeft echter nog een andere, meer labiele kant, die men niet zo gemakkelijk opmerkt. Als de planten zijn afgesneden, verwelken zij verbazend vlug; ook het hevige, haast dierlijke ontbindingsproces van verrottende brandnetels, zoals dat bij nauwe­lijks een andere plant voorkomt, wijst op die andere pool. Vooral moet in dit verband ook gewezen worden op het merkwaardige verschijnsel van de netelharen. Wij hebben hier met substanties te maken die men eerder in het dieren- dan in het plantenrijk zou verwachten. Zij worden, naar bui­ten toe gedreven, in uiterst kleine, hoogst functionele uit kiezel opgebouwde netelharen bewaard en bij de geringste aanraking met de bekende pijnlijke gevolgen in de huid geinjecteerd. Wij kunnen vermoeden, dat de brandnetel, die op het eerste gezicht zo oerkrachtig lijkt, ook een sterke neiging tot afbraak en verval van haar substantie, tot het dier-worden bezit en dat er een tegenproces nodig is om de robuuste, reële verschijning tevoorschijn te brengen.

 Aan Rudolf Steiner hebben wij het inzicht te danken, dat een sterk ijzerproces hier evenwicht scheppend, “genezend” niet alleen in de brandnetel zelf, maar ook in de omgeving werkzaam is. Het zou evenwel onjuist zijn daarom een bijzonder hoog gehalte aan stoffelijk ijzer te verwachten, hoewel, ook in verband met de sterke chlorofylvorming, inderdaad noemenswaardige hoeveelheden ijzer aantoonbaar zijn. Wij begrijpen nu ook beter de relatie van de brandnetel met het menselijk bloed, die in de volksge­neeskunde vanuit een instinctief weten vroeger bekend was. De stimulering van de bloedvorming, bloedzuivering en van de menstruatie, ook het stelpen van bloedingen waren de therapeutische doelstellingen van de toepassing van brandnetel. Met dezelfde doelstelling, echter vanuit inzicht in het werkzame principe, is de brandnetel in de antroposofische geneeskunst een bestanddeel van verschillende geneesmiddelen die appelleren aan het ijzer in het menselijk bloed. In de biologisch-dynamische landbouw hebben brandnetelpreparaten een belangrijke functie bij de juiste berei­ding van compost.
De brandnetel, die belangrijke en weldadige geneesplant, verdient echter meer waardering en be­wondering dan wij over ‘t algemeen voor haar opbrengen!

(Weledaberichten nr. 142, sept. 1987)

Urtica urens, de kleine brandnetel is, in tegenstelling tot de bekende grote brandnetel niet overblijvend, maar ontkiemt ieder jaar uit zaden. In de verspreiding is hij weinig aan plaats gebonden. Puin en afvalplaatsen, maar ook composthopen bieden een hem passend ^ milieu. De typische holle haren met het brandnetelgift die de glasachtige hardheid aan de afzetting van kiezelzuur te danken hebben, staan bij de kleine brandnetel veel dichter op elkaar dan bij de grote, en daardoor is de brandwerking ook heviger. De samenhang van beide brand­netels met de ijzerprocessen in de natuur is van oudsher bekend en wordt veel therapeu­tisch toegepast, maar ook voor dieet gebruikt.

(Weledaberichten nr.109 sept.1976)

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