Denes Fact Sheet no.33:
Nettles (Urtica dioica)
Nettles are a major constituent of Denes Greenleaf Tablets
The stinging nettle is one of our most important herbal remedies, yet it is better known as a common and sometimes irritating countryside weed that can be found growing wherever the land has been disturbed. Nettles are found widely around the world including Europe as well as Japan, Asia, South Africa and as far away as the Andes Mountains in South America.
Easily recognisable, it’s finely-toothed leaves taper to a point and the small flowers, which appear from June to September, hang down from the leaves. Nettles can grow to a height of around 3 feet. Its roots creep underground so that eradication is very difficult. The most familiar aspect of the plant though, is its sting, which can be antidoted by applying the juice of the common Dock. The two plants are often found growing in close proximity, although the juice of the nettle will also relieve the discomfort of the plant’s sting.
Nettles are very versatile and have in the past been put to many uses, including the manufacture of cloth, puddings and beer. Nettle beer was once taken by country folk to relieve gout and rheumatism, an early indication of its potential as a herbal remedy. Flogging with nettles was also reputed to help relieve rheumatism and increase the strength of the limbs. Young nettles were often traditionally picked in the spring as the basis of a tonic for “spring cleaning” after the long dark days of winter. Hence, the remedy gained a reputation as an excellent purifier for the blood, an attribute we would now recognise as detoxification.
How nettles can help
- Nettles have a mild diuretic effect and can increase the output of urine through the kidneys. This action has a cleansing effect on the body, helping to remove toxins, unwanted chemicals and poisons. Removal of these undesirable substances accounts for some of the benefits of the remedy, as seen in the treatment of dermatitis, eczema, arthritis and rheumatism. Nettles can also be used in the prevention and treatment of bladder stones, gravel and urolithiasis, (including Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, FLUTD). Flushing out waste products can also help where there is kidney disease or impairment.
- Due to their cleansing nature and high vitamin and mineral content, nettles are considered a good general tonic to help strengthen the body. Used over a period of time, nettles can improve the quality and appearance of both the hair and coat.
- Due to the high iron content of nettles, they can be used to help treat cases of anaemia, including where kidney disease is present.
- Nettles have anti-histamine like action and can help reduce itching and scratching, as well as other minor skin irritations. Due to this action, Greenleaf Tablets are commonly used to help with skin allergies and other common skin problems.
- In combination with other herbs, such as garlic, nettles can sometimes be used to help lower blood sugar in cases of diabetes.
- Nettles have astringent properties, helping to tone and strengthen tissues. This can sometimes be used to help reduce the risk of haemorrhage.
Indications for using Nettles
- Arthritis and rheumatism
- Eczema and dermatitis, poor coat and skin
- Skin allergies
- Kidney disease
- Bladder stones and gravel (urolithiasis)
How Denes can help
Denes Greenleaf Tablets are based on stinging nettles. As a licensed herbal medicine, Greenleaf Tablets can be used to help with a variety of common problems including eczema, dermatitis, skin irritation and arthritis. Given on a daily basis, Greenleaf Tablets can be used to help maintain general good health. The daily recommended dose can be given to animals from 5 months of age. Those between 2 and 5 months of age should be given half the recommended dosage.