Stinging Nettle for Prostatitis
What Is Stinging Nettle?
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is an herb that has a long history of medical use, especially for urinary tract problems in men. It soothes the urinary tract and also helps men with prostate problems. In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, stinging nettle is a diuretic, and both of these characteristics make it a good candidate for prostate issues, including prostatitis and urinary tract symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia—BPH). It can be used alone, but it also works well with other natural supplements to relieve pelvic pain, urinary pain, burning, and other urinary symptoms.
Stinging Nettle for Prostatitis—Does It Work?
Stinging nettle is a Tier 2 supplement for prostatitis, meaning that there are significant clinical studies and research on using stinging nettle for prostatitis and similar prostate conditions. Research shows that it can help men with chronic bacterial prostatitis and men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS).
Studies involving stinging nettle for prostatitis include the following:
- Researchers conducted a prospective, randomized study on men who had chronic bacterial prostatitis to determine the therapeutic effect of saw palmetto, stinging nettle, quercetin, and curcumin extracts compared with the antibiotic prulifloxacin. A total of 143 patients were split into two groups: Group A (106 patients) received both prulifloxacin (600 mg daily) plus the herbal ingredients for 14 days; Group B (37 men) received the antibiotic only. After one month, 89.6% of men who received the herbal formulas had no symptoms of prostatitis compared with only 27%of the men in the antibiotic-only group. Six months after the intervention portion of the study ended, no patients in Group A had recurrent of prostatitis compared with two patients in Group B. The authors concluded that the association of saw palmetto, stinging nettle, quercetin, and curcumin extracts can improve the clinical efficacy of prulifloxacin in men who have chronic bacterial prostatitis (Cai 2009).
- In a six-month trial that included 620 men, 81% of men who took stinging nettle reported improved lower urinary tract symptoms compared with only 16% of men who took a placebo (Safarinejad 2005).
Studies that involve stinging nettle for BPH are useful because sometimes men with prostatitis also exhibit lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and may use the same medications as BPH. Laboratory studies have shown that stinging nettle is comparable to Proscar (finasteride), a drug commonly used to treat BPH, in inhibiting the growth of certain prostate cells. Scientists theorize that stinging nettle contains chemicals that have an impact on the hormones testosterone and estrogen, while another theory suggests the plant’s components work directly on prostate cells.
- In a clinical trial, 257 patients were randomized to receive 160 mg daily of saw palmetto plus 120 mg of stinging nettle twice a day or placebo. The double-blind segment of the study was followed by an open control period of 24 weeks during which all patients were administered the natural ingredients. Patients randomized to placebo showed a marked improvement in LUTS (as measured by the International Prostate Symptom Score). The tolerability of the natural supplements was comparable to the placebo, and the authors concluded that the natural formula was clearly superior to the placebo for the amelioration of LUTS (Lopatkin 2007).
- In another study, a subgroup of 431 patients with early stage BPH was evaluated from a randomized, double-blind, multicenter clinical trial involving 543 patients. The men were randomly given a fixed combination of saw palmetto extract and stinging nettle root or the 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor Proscar (finasteride). After 24 weeks, the mean maximum urinary flow rate increased by 1.9 ml/second in men who took the natural supplements and by 2.4 ml/second in the Proscar group. Men in both groups showed similar improvements in prostate size and in their values on the International Prostate Symptom Score. A safety analysis of 516 patients showed that more men in the Proscar group reported adverse effects than did those in the natural supplement group. The authors concluded that the efficacy of the natural supplement formula and Proscar was similar and unrelated to prostate volume, but that the natural supplement formula had better tolerability than Proscar (Sokeland 2000).
Uses and Side Effects of Stinging Nettle
Various doses of stinging nettle have been used in clinical trials. Adults can take 240 to 500 mg a day of Uritica dioica root (or 2 to 4 grams of dried leaf three times per day. It is best taken with some food. You can combine stinging nettle generally with other supplements.
Stinging nettle can cause occasional mild side effects such as stomach upset, rash, and fluid retention. Men who suspect prostate problems should check with their doctor and not self-treat with stinging nettle. Also, check with your doctor if you have bleeding disorders, low blood pressure, or diabetes. Elderly persons should use stinging nettle cautiously.
References for Stinging Nettle for Prostatitis:
Cai T et al. Serenoa repens associated with Urtica dioica and curcumin and quercitin extracts are able to improve the efficacy of prulifloxacin in bacterial prostatitis patients: results from a prospective randomized study. Int J Antimicrob Agents 2009 Jun; 33(6): 549-53
Lopatkin N et al. Efficacy and safety of a combination of Sabal and Urtica extract in lower urinary tract symptoms—long-term follow-up of a placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter trial. Int Urol Nephrol 2007; 39(4): 1137-46.
Safarinejad MR. Urtica dioica for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. J Herb Pharmacother 2005; 5(4):1-11.
Schneider T, Rubben H. Stinging nettle root extract (Bazoton-uno) in long term treatment of benign prostatic syndrome (BPS). Results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled multicenter study after 12 months. Urologe A 2004 Mar; 43(3): 302-6
Sokeland J. Combined sabal and urtica extract compared with finasteride in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia: analysis of prostate volume and therapeutic outcome. Stinging nettle for prostatitis. BJU Int 2000;86:439-442.