Urtica dioica

The herb

Family: Urticaceae

Hardy, persistent perennial growing to 50 – 100 cm high

The leaves are sharply serrated, lance-shaped in alternate pairs, covered in tiny hairs which sting.

Flowers are greenish in catkins – the male and female being on separate plants

Roots:  creeping rootstock

Related Species:

Urtica urens    annual, softer, less sting, similar herbal properties

Urtica ferox     Ongaonga, tree nettle – NZ native

Urtica pilulifera  Roman nettle – was used for beating body to encourage surface blood flow.

Propagation is by seed or by root division.  Grows well in moist soil near human habitation

Parts Used:  Aerial parts and also roots            

Harvest:         Fresh shoots in spring, just before flowering for drying. Stings go after 48 hrs drying (hopefully). The roots harvested in autumn


The Aerial parts – Flavonoids (quercetin) Amines (histamine, choline, acetylcholine, serotonin)  Glucoquinone,

Minerals – Fe, P, Si, Ca, Mg, Cr, Co, K, An,, Cu, S

Vitamins – B complex, carotenes, C, D, K

Roots –           Plant sterols, Phenols


Nutritive (anti-scorbutic, anti-anaemic)  Diuretic, depurative, astringent, anti-asthmatic

Fresh juice is haemostatic, styptic and anti-haemorrhagic

Seeds are endocrine stimulant, skin and scalp tonic

Roots are tonic, diuretic, astringent


Nutritive – stimulates digestion, Stabilises blood sugars, Tonic, cleanser for kidneys, adrenals, urinary lithiasis, eliminates uric acid

Fatigue, women’s’ libido, menopausal problems

Pregnancy – increases breast milk quality and quantity

Assists normalising metabolic rate

Hair and nails, Skin problems, eczema

Haemorrhage (uterine, nose bleeds)

Rheumatism – increases arterial circulation, assists correction of low or variable blood pressure

Increase memory and concentration

Headaches, Pulmonary mucous,  Reduces allergic reactions, allergic rhinitis

Roots for benign prostate hypertrophy, cancer, diarrhoea

Urtica ferox for eczema, skin eruptions, rheumatism, arthritis

Topical : haemostat for hot spots.

Dose rate:

Infusion:  Snip a few sprigs and cover with filtered water. Bring to heat and simmer 10 minutes.       

¼-cup per 10kgs divided daily into 3 doses or put it into ice cube tray and give ¼ -1/2 cube daily in food for convalescence.



The tincture is prepared from fresh plant in flower.

Urtica Urens has been used primarily for its beneficial effects on conditions of the skin, in urticaria, burns and eczema. Burnett promoted its use in gout and rheumatism, malaria and recurring fevers, and for agalactica. In these conditions he used the remedy mainly in material doses. General uric acid diathesis with urticarial swellings present.

This is one of the remedies where the potency really matters:
  potency DEPRESSES milk flow                     

 HIGH potency STIMULATES milk flow

Allergic reactions to shellfish.  

Complaints from suppressed eruptions.

Mucus ulceration of large gut leading to chronic diarrhoea.

Female System  Absent, deficient or inappropriate lactation.    Bleeding from uterus. Enlargement of mammary glands with oedema of tissue.

Lactation – Helps restore normal milk flow and is therefore suitable for use in cases of agalactia, especially in the sow and first-calving heifers, which show edema of udder.

Skin: Itching erythematous eruptions,  Urticaria (with sensitivity & burning stinging pains) , from over-heating & exertion.Oedematous plaques.

Burns, esp 1st and 2nd degrees (Canth)

Insect bites & stings ( Led, Apis)    Chicken Pox.

Renal System  Acute nephritis. Uric acid deposits in urine

Extremely useful in various renal conditions. In prevention of calculi acts by thickening the urine which thus contains increased deposits of urates and other salts.  Nephritis with skin lesions (frequently oedematous)

Helps promote normal urination & has been used successfully in many cases of suppression.