Stinging nettles and gout: Is the stinging nettle be an effective natural remedy for gout? And, if it is, what’s the best way to take it?
Stinging Nettles and Gout
Gout refers to a medical condition characterized by repeated attacks of acute inflammatory arthritis caused by high uric acid levels in the blood. Drugs can help to ease the pain and inflammation of an attack and reduce uric acid levels to prevent further attacks.
But, as with all drugs, these have side effects that can put patients off them. Not only that, the drugs for managing uric acid have to be taken for life, which many people would prefer not to do.
Because of this, gout sufferers are increasingly looking to natural remedies to treat their gout. One of the methods many people have resorted to is the use of plants and herbs, one of them being the stinging nettle.
The stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a herbaceous plant whose origins are in Europe, Asia, North Africa and some parts of Western America. But it grows world-wide today. Its leaves and stems are covered with fine hairs that cause painful stinging when touched.
But the opposite seems to be true as well: when applied over an already painful area, nettles can actually reduce that pain. It’s thought that certain chemicals in the plant can reduce the body’s own inflammatory response and even inhibit the transmission of pain signals.
Nettles have been in use as a natural medicine for hundreds of years; treating many different conditions, such as;
- arthritic pain
- joint pain
- muscle pain
- nasal inflammation
- liver diseases
- kidney stones
- and more…
Listen to Dr. Paul Haider on the benefits of using nettles as a natural remedy:-
Stinging Nettle for Gout
Research has shown that the therapeutic benefits that come from the nettle plant derive from its natural anti-inflammatory action – it’s a very effective antihistamine – which helps to relieve inflammation, swelling and the agonizing pain brought on by gout flares.
But at least one piece of research has also linked the stinging nettle to reduced uric acid levels in the body, thereby reducing the risk of future painful gout attacks.
And it’s root is a known diuretic so can help your kidneys do their job of flushing excess uric acid out of your body. But, because it’s a diuretic, you’ll need to drink lots of water whilst using this remedy in order to prevent dehydration, since this condition actually aids in uric acid crystal formation!
When drunk, a nettle tea or infusion can be very effective in treating gout. But it can also boost circulation and detoxify the body. Not only that, nettle tea can be applied as a compress to the affected area(s).
You can make the tea yourself, or to make things easier, you can buy nettles in healthfood stores, pharmacies, and online, in various forms; dried / freeze dried leaves, leaf powder, root powder, capsules, tablets, extract, tinctures, and even creams.
But Be Careful!
Stinging nettle is generally considered safe when used as directed. But, for some, it may have side effects like; a stomach upset, diarrhea, fluid retention, and rash or hives. And it should never be used on an open wound.
Stinging nettle can also interfere with certain medications, so consult with your healthcare provider first if you’re taking:
- blood pressure drugs
- blood-thinning drugs
- anti-inflammatory drugs
In addition, people with the following should avoid using nettles or, at the very least, consult with their healthcare provider beforehand:
- Pregnancy: could cause uterine contractions and possibly bring on miscarriage.
- Diabetes: may raise or lower blood sugar and interfere with proper diabetes management.
- Kidney/urinary tract issues: may exacerbate severe problems such as, kidney disease.
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), i.e. enlarged prostate: see below.*
*Although some studies indicate that stinging nettle root may be helpful in treating BPH symptoms, the mechanism for it is not clear, so more research is needed to prove its efficacy. The expert advice is to NOT self-treat with nettle root but, rather, to consult with your physician in order to rule-out prostate cancer.
Stinging Nettles: How to Gather Them and Make Them Into Tea
If you’ve got access to natural nettles and you fancy having a go yourself, here’s what you need to do:-