Botany: Herbaceous perennial up to 30-150 cm. It is monoecious or dioecious. Stems are four angled and have stinging hairs similar to the leaves. Leaves are opposite, ovate to cordate oblong-lanceolate, and serrate. Flowers are green in axillary panicles; flowering from June to September.

History and/or folklore: Dried leaves are used as snuff to stop nose bleeds. Inhalation of the fumes of burning dried nettle leaves is used to clear a chesty cold. Nettle yields a grey-green dye. It is called the herb of Mars.

Products: A large number of compounds of different polarity and belonging to various chemical classes, including fatty acids, terpenes, phenylpropanes, lignans, coumarins, triterpenes, ceramides, sterols and lectins, have been isolated from Radix Urticae. Among these are oxalic acid, linoleic acid, 14-octacosanol, 13-hydroxy-9-cis,11-trans-octadecadienoic acid, α-dimorphecolic acid (9-hydroxy-10-trans,12-cis-octadecadienoic acid), scopoletin, p-hydroxybenzaldehyde, homovanillyl alcohol, β-sitosterol, stigmasterol, 24-R-ethyl-5α-cholestan-3β,6α-diol, campesterol, daucosterol (and related glycosides), secoisolariciresinol-9-O-β-D-glucoside, neo-olivil, oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, Urtica dioica agglutinin and polysaccharides RP1-RP5.

The parts used are the herb, leaves and root. These have antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.


Urtica dioica botanical extract:
Traditional use: Nettles are commonly included in footbaths to draw out impurities and ease tiredness. Extract of leaves has been used topically for the treatment of rheumatic disorders. Externally, it is used as a hair conditioner, and reputedly removes dandruff.

Nettle extract is reported to be used as a biological additive in shampoos, permanent wave treatment; hair conditioners; skin fresheners, and miscellaneous skin care products.


Radix Urticae is contraindicated in cases of known allergy to plants of the Urticaceae family.


Hair care