Nettles or stinging nettle (used interchangeably in this article) is a very nutrient-rich plant. It has been used for years to treat many different health problems.
With all the health claims of stinging nettle, I decided to add it to our daily life to help with allergies.
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Taking Stinging Nettle for Allergies
What does the research show? Research gives a very unsatisfactory answer of maybe. There are some studies like this one that show there isn’t much difference between a placebo and stinging nettle. They also express concerns about the limitations of the study and that larger studies for longer periods should be done.
There is some evidence that stinging nettle can be helpful for inflammation. Since it has some anti-inflammatory properties it may help with sinus pressure and swelling.
Some anecdotal evidence shows strong doses of fresh stinging nettle made into a soup or strong tea can be helpful. If you decide to harvest the plant yourself be careful it is called stinging nettle for a reason. Use gloves to collect leaves and stems. Buying the plant already harvested in a tea, or capsules is what I prefer.
How Much Stinging Nettle Should I Take for Allergies?
Stinging Nettle Capsules
The recommendations I have found are to take between 500mg and 600mg daily in capsule form. This is probably one of the easier ways to take stinging nettle. Gaia Herbs is one of the companies I buy supplements from. My husband adds these to the supplements he takes when his allergies get bad.
Stinging Nettle Tea
If you are going to drink tea for your allergies brew up 1-4 cups of stinging nettle tea a day and enjoy. I was slightly worried I would hate the taste of this tea but to my surprise I enjoyed it. I was worried there would be a strong bitter taste but it was pleasantly mild.
For myself, I try to drink one or more cups a day. I had a pretty bad cold this year and I drank up to 4 cups a day of the tea. The tea seemed to help relieve some congestion, but it could also have just been being hydrated and the hot liquids helped. Needless to say, drinking a tea packed with nutrients does not hurt when sick.
It comes in loose leaf or tea bags. Steep it for 8-10 mins and enjoy. If you don’t have a teapot or way to strain loose leaf tea I have used a small french press that I have. Just make sure to clean very well beforehand else you end up with coffee-flavored tea. This is a brand of tea I enjoy.
Stinging Nettle Infusion
Basically a strong tea. I have not tried this but I am sure steeping the tea longer will extract more nutrients. Many people suggest using 1/4 of a cup of dried nettle leaves and pouring boiling water over them. Many use mason jars (I am assuming quart jars with that much tea) and let sit for 4 hours or overnight.
If you want to try a smaller version of this try 1 teaspoon and a cup of water. You can also mix it with other teas to make the taste more to your liking. Severe allergy symptoms may respond better to this than just a few cups of tea. If the tea isn’t helpful before giving up on stinging nettle try an infusion.
Be cautious when adding any new supplement. Nettles are incredibly healthy but if you already have health conditions there could be interactions. Make sure to check with your health care provider if you are on:
- Blood thinners – Nettles may reduce bleeding and make blood thinners less effective.
- Blood pressure medications – Nettles may have blood pressure lower effects. If you are already on blood pressure medications be careful when taking any form of stinging nettle.
- Allergic reaction – It is always possible to be allergic to the plant itself. If you suspect an allergic reaction stop taking any form of nettle immediately.
- Blood sugar medication – Stinging nettle may have blood sugar-lowering effects and cause blood sugar to go too low if mixed with medication.
- Pregnant – There is some mixed information about if it is safe for pregnant women. It is in some teas for pregnant women but too much could cause problems. Make sure to consult a health care provider who is familiar with the effects of nettle before taking it when pregnant.
- Laxative effect – It can have a slight laxative effect but for most this doesn’t appear to be much of an issue.
- Be careful when harvesting – If you are brave enough to harvest the plant yourself make sure to be careful of the stinging hairs on the plant. They can cause a burning rash that is unpleasant.
How Long Should I Take Stinging Nettle?
Like most natural remedies it may take a few months before seeing results. As long you don’t experience any side effects take it for 3 months before deciding if it helps or not. When taking the supplement start before your allergy season by a few weeks to a month.
If drinking in tea form drink at least one cup daily and add in extra if new symptoms arise. It is probably best to stay under at 4 cups or under per day.
When using an infusion drink daily or as soon as you start having symptoms. Since an infusion is stronger than the tea a cup or two daily maybe all you need to help the allergy symptoms.
Taking a dose daily in any form may eventually help allergies by replacing vitamins and minerals your body needs. I would suggest not giving up on stinging nettle quickly due to all the benefits it provides. If it doesn’t help immediately there could be benefits in the future.
Nettles are a wonderful nutrient-dense plant. The studies may not be conclusive but I feel it is worth adding stinging nettle for allergies. It isn’t the first supplement I reach for when allergies start but for some, it may be all you need. The health benefits of this superfood are impressive and can improve overall health.
For intense sinus pressure and severe allergies, I would start with quercetin and bromelain. But if your allergies aren’t as severe or you think the benefit of adding the nutrition of nettles could help then give it a try.
If you have ever tried stinging nettle or are thinking about it let me know in the comments. For those who have tried it let me know what ways you prefer taking it and what benefits you notice with it.