How to Use Stinging Nettle Extract for Allergy Relief
Somewhere around 50 million people in the United States deal with allergies. For some, they are a mild annoyance; for others, they completely interfere with day-to-day life. Everyone, however, would be happy to find some real relief from those itchy eyes, scratchy throat, and stuffy nose.
Allergy medicines can really help people cope with the symptoms, but they can also add to the list of aggravations.
Antihistamines, for example, can make you too drowsy to work or drive, they can dry up your skin and eyes, and they can even potentially lead to long-term health problems.
So what’s an allergy sufferer to do?
Fortunately, there are quite a few all-natural supplements and alternative treatments that can help allergies just as well – and sometimes even better – than conventional allergy medications.
One of those all-natural supplements is nettle extract. I’m here to show you exactly what this herb is and how it can help you clear up your allergy symptoms so you can feel better soon.
What Is Nettle Extract?
Nettle extract is the potent extract of the stinging nettle plant’s medicinal parts. Don’t confuse stinging nettle with the other nettle, white dead nettle.
It’s called stinging nettle for a reason. On the leaves are some tiny hairs. They’re actually pretty sharp, and when they sting you they irate the skin and make it rashy, itchy, and swollen. Since it’s a fairly common weed in some regions, some of you may have already experienced that nettle sting.
So it may come as a surprise that this same painful plant is actually a powerhouse health booster. Nettle is high in:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K
- And many other compounds that are beneficial for your health
Stinging nettle has been used since ancient times to treat countless medical problems. It has stayed popular in the herbal community for its wide variety of uses, which include:
- Urinary problems
- Joint pain
- Insect bites
- Skin problems (like eczema)
- Arthritis (osteoarthritis and gout specifically)
- Internal bleeding
- Hair loss
- Lactation issues
But one of its most common and most researched uses is combating allergies or hay fever.
How Does Nettle Help Allergies?
As you can see, stinging nettle has many properties that improve so many different conditions. The one property of nettle that really helps those with allergies is its ability to act like an anti-inflammatory.
This means it will help de-inflame the airways and prevent uncomfortable symptoms like:
- Runny nose
- Itchy or watery eyes
Another way nettle may be helpful is its ability to lower your body’s production of histamines. Think about it – most allergy and cold medications are antihistamines. So if you simply aren’t producing as many, due to taking the nettle, you should have similar effects without any of the downsides.
What Does Science Say?
The idea of taking an anti-inflammatory herb to help allergies may sound good, but does it actually work? Let’s take a look at what scientific study has shown us.
One study looked at 98 people who took either stinging nettle or a placebo to deal with the symptoms of their allergies. The participants were told to keep track of their symptoms in a diary. They also had a follow-up appointment after one week of use. The nettle was shown to work better than the placebo both at the doctor’s visit and according to the participant’s daily diaries.
In another study, not only did 57% of patients say the nettle was effective at helping their symptoms, but 48% said the nettle was actually more effective than their regular allergy medications. That’s nearly half of the study group.
How To Take Nettle Extract For Allergy Relief
If you want to try stinging nettle to help you with your allergy symptoms, there are actually quite a few ways you can take it. Below you will find the top 3 options.
Note for seasonal allergy sufferers: Though taking nettle at any point can help your allergies, it can be most effective to start taking it before allergy season starts. Whichever method below you decide on, start it early.
1. Drink Nettle
Stinging nettle is often taken in tea form. Quite a few companies sell pre-packaged nettle leaf tea bags, but you can also drink it by soaking your own dried nettle leaves.
Nettle tea has a pretty smooth and gentle flavor, but you can often get a grassy taste in there too. Many people enjoy it, but if you’re not a fan, just add some lemon juice or a small bit of honey.
2. Eat Nettle
You can actually cook nettle similarly to the way you’d cook spinach. It’s commonly used in soups or in a veggie sauté, but there are actually many ways to incorporate it into your meals. Here’s one of my favorites, a recipe for homemade nettle pesto:
When nettle is originally picked, the harvesters must use gloves. During this process, most of the little stinging hairs will go away. But to avoid an accidental sting, you can just use kitchen rubber gloves while preparing your nettle. It will be fine to eat once it’s cooked.
Be aware: this is probably the least effective method for consistent allergy relief. Since you won’t be putting it in meals every day, you won’t get the benefits the same way you would in option #3.
3. Supplement Nettle Extract
One of the easiest ways to get plenty of nettle is to take it in pill form. This is ideal for allergies because it allows you to benefit daily from the nettle – plus, the extract is far more potent than simply eating a nettle leaf.
I choose to take my nettle extract in conjunction with other all-natural herbs and supplements for allergies like:
- Coleus Forskohlii Extract
- Vitamin D
The combo can provide real relief for both chronic and seasonal allergy sufferers – and you don’t have to deal with common allergy medication side effects like drowsiness.
Who Shouldn’t Take Nettle Extract
For the most part, stinging nettle is considered safe for the general population. But there are a few possible interactions or negative side effects for some people. If you fall into any of these categories, be sure to speak with your doctor first before taking nettle extract:
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Young children
- People with low blood pressure or kidney problems
- Anyone on lithium, diabetes medications, high blood pressure medications, sedatives, or Coumadin
Of course, if you feel you have any sort of negative reaction when taking nettle extract, stop use and talk to your doctor.
Saying Goodbye To Allergies
If you are one of those 50 million with allergies, realize there is hope that safe, all-natural alternatives are there to replace your allergy medications – or to at least help make them work better.
Talk to your doctor and then try nettle extract. Don’t expect it to work within a couple hours; instead, take it consistently for a few weeks and keep track of your symptoms. Most likely, you will end up finding that blessed relief sooner than you might think.