Stinging Nettle Extract for Hair

Stinging nettle is a flowering perennial plant found throughout the world. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of running into a stinging nettle, you know that the plant’s name is a direct reference to the symptoms of dermatological contact. Stinging nettle can produce irritating symptoms on the skin, including visible bumps and itching. So it may surprise you to see it included as an ingredient in a wide range of herbal supplements, including multivitamin products designed to enhance your hair, skin, and nails. Does stinging nettle really deserve a bad name? Read on to find out what you don’t know about this amazing herbal extract!

What is Stinging Nettle Extract?

Stinging nettle extract may be taken from the leaf or roots of the plant (not from the stinging hairs that cause inflammation when you touch them). The leaf extract actually contains anti-inflammatory compounds. Nettle root extract contains other helpful compounds which can be used to treat other conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate). Whenever you purchase a product containing stinging nettle extract, make sure you are getting the pure extract, and not a product watered down by artificial additives.

What is Stinging Nettle Extract Used For?

Stinging nettle has a long history of use in traditional medicine, and is also sometimes eaten as a food in a pureed form. It is used for everything under the sun from bladder problems to kidney stones, hay fever to osteoarthritis. It is also included in many beauty products because research trials indicate that it may be helpful in promoting hair growth. It contains silica, which is a very important component of healthy hair, skin, and nail tissue (more on how that works in a bit). Its anti-inflammatory properties make it great for your entire body, inside and out. If you happen to suffer from arthritis, don’t be surprised if you start feeling less pain in your joints when you start taking this extract.

Stinging Nettle Extract in Diet

Unless you actually eat stinging nettle puree, you obviously aren’t going to get any stinging nettle in your diet! If you’re curious, stinging nettle puree is rich in nutrition. It tastes a bit like spinach and cucumber, and contains vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, manganese, potassium, and calcium! Nettle is sometimes cooked into pesto and polenta dishes, and in some parts of Europe, nettle soup is popular.

Of course, if you do not live in Europe, odds are you don’t get to enjoy a warm bowl of delicious nettle soup. Odds are that you have never actually eaten stinging nettle. If stinging nettle isn’t a part of your diet, you should strongly consider a stinging nettle extract supplement. Or better yet, purchase a multivitamin which contains stinging nettle extract along with other healthy herbal supplements for your hair, skin, and nails. You will enjoy the best results when you take stinging nettle in conjunction with other beneficial nutrients that can also enhance your health and beauty!

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How Does Stinging Nettle Work?

In a study by R. Hartmann, it was demonstrated that stinging nettle extract was able to partially block two enzymes involved in the production of estrogen. It may also help to maintain testosterone levels. This is actually why stinging nettle is used to treat enlarged prostate. At this point, researchers still are not entirely clear on how stinging nettle helps to prevent hair loss, but it appears that hormone balancing may be the link.

Health and Beauty Benefits of Stinging Nettle Extract

  • Some research studies have indicated that stinging nettle may be able to help prevent hair loss by balancing hormones. While research is still needed in this area, initial results seem hopeful.
  • Stinging nettle has been used for hundreds of years in traditional medicine to treat eczema. It can reduce inflammation in the skin (when taken orally in extract form of course, not applied topically!). This can help to soothe and alleviate a wide range of skin conditions, leading to a healthier, clearer complexion. If you have ever been stung by a nettle, that probably comes as quite a surprise!
  • Stinging nettle is rich in silica, and in that sense is quite similar to horsetail extract, another excellent herbal extract for hair, skin, and nails. Silica is a constituent element of an enzyme called prolylhydrolase. Prolylhydrolase is a key component of healthy collagen growth. Collagen is the connective tissue in your skin which keeps it smooth, elastic, and fresh. As you age, your body has a harder and harder time keeping up with the demands of collagen production. Silica-rich herbal extracts like stinging nettle nourish your body with what it needs to produce healthy new skin tissue.
  • Stinging nettle can strengthen nails, skin, hair, and bone tissue. This comes back to silica once again, and that special enzyme, prolylhydrolase. Not only is prolylhydrolase a key component in collagen production, it also is an ingredient in a protein complex called glycosaminoglycans. This protein complex is found in all of those tissues! That is why stinging nettle, like horsetail, can have an all-around positive effect on your appearance. A lot of stinging nettle users notice their nails break less and their hair forms fewer split ends once they start using the extract. When your hair has fewer split ends, it can grow healthy, long, and strong.

When you think of stinging nettle, you probably associate it with inflammation, but that really is only skimming the surface of things. The stinging hairs on nettle contain formic acid and a mixture of other painful chemicals, but the hairs are not what goes into stinging nettle extract. The leaves and roots of the stinging nettle plant can actually fight inflammation in your skin and joints, and leave you looking and feeling fantastic! They are chock full of nutrition, and great for your hair, skin and nails. For the best results, remember to take stinging nettle extract as part of a beauty multivitamin which also contains horsetail and other helpful herbal extracts, vitamins and nutrients!

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-664-stinging%20nettle.aspx?activeingredientid=664&activeingredientname=stinging%20nettle
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/stinging-nettle
http://www.lef.org/magazine/2008/12/natural-methods-to-improve-testosterone-sexual-function-prostate-health/page-02