My cousin Henry just turned 50. He’s running into health issues middle-aged men often face.
“I was visiting the bathroom at night a lot,” he recently told me. “It was a nuisance.”
So he saw his doctor. Turned out he had benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). In other words, his prostate was a bit enlarged. The doc offered Henry a medication for it. But he wanted to ask me about trying a natural supplement first.
I suggested stinging nettle.
It’s a plant that’s common in much of the world. It gets its name from the fact that contact with its leaves can cause skin irritation. But it’s safe when cooked or put into supplement form. It’s use in folk medicine goes back to ancient Egypt and Rome.
In 2013, researchers enlisted 620 men with BPH for a six-month, double-blind trial of stinging nettle. One group took an extract of the herb. The others took a placebo.
Prostate size decreased in men taking stinging nettle. The placebo group had no change.
A study published in the journal International Urology and Nephrology had similar results.
Researchers looked at 257 seniors with moderate to severe urinary tract symptoms caused by BPH. Scientists randomly gave the men either stinging nettle extract or a placebo. The extract group had a 53% reduction in BPH symptoms. And urinary flow increased by 19%.
Stinging Nettle: The Ancient Solution for High Blood Pressure and More
The good news about stinging nettle doesn’t end there. The herb also…
- Battles inflammation. Chronic inflammation is something you don’t want to have. It’s linked to cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. Studies show stinging nettle reduces levels of NF kappaB, TNF-alpha and IL-1-beta… hormones that are linked to inflammation. 
- Lowers blood pressure. Stinging nettle has long been used in folk medicine to treat hypertension. Studies show there’s good reason for that. The herb contains compounds that block calcium channels. That in turn relaxes the heart muscle, reducing the force of contractions.
A study published in the Journal of Translational Medicine found that stinging nettle stimulates nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, meaning it helps relax and widen arteries.
- Helps control blood sugar. Research published in the journal Clinical Laboratory looked at patients with type 2 diabetes. All were on medication for their disease. Researchers gave some patients stinging nettle extract. The others took a placebo.
After three months, the extract group had lower fasting glucose and HbA1C compared to the placebo group.
The only side effects from stinging nettle come from handling the leaves. Doing that can cause rashes, bumps, and hives. You don’t have to worry about that with supplements.
Consult with your doctor before taking stinging nettle if you’re taking certain drugs. These include diuretics, blood thinners, blood pressure meds, lithium, and diabetes meds.
Stinging nettle supplements are available from online retailers and health food stores.
Judging from studies, 400 mg daily is a good dosage for treating an enlarged prostate. Otherwise, follow directions on the bottle.
Nettle allergies are rare. But there can be serious reactions for those who are allergic. If you’ve never taken it before, you may want to start by opening a capsule and consuming a tiny amount to see if it has an adverse effect.
As for Henry, he took my advice tried stinging nettle. “It worked wonders,” he told me. His nighttime bathroom trips are a thing of the past.