Urtica: Stinging nettles and hay fever

Stinging nettles were found to give mild symptomatic relief for hay fever in a double-blind clinical trial. (Mittman) The results were positive enough to demonstrate some activity of the herb, but only 58% of the patients found benefits for the nettles, and only about one in six found consistent relief. The study concludes that a one-week trial is sufficient to identify those individuals who will benefit from nettles.

Nettle has previously been used in the tea form for long term treatment (not symptomatic) of hay fever, asthma, and arthritis. Being tonic and nutrient, nettle does not have the side effects of antihistamine drugs. It has diuretic properties, and is contraindicated in edema related to heart or kidney disease. It occasionally causes allergy, skin rash, edema, deficient urine, or gastric irritation. (Wichtl) Two patients out of forty-six in this study allergic reactions to the nettles themselves.

Mittman, P. “Randomized double-blind study of freeze -dried Urtica dioica in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Planta Medica 1990 56:44-47

Murphy JJ; Heptinstall S; Mitchell JRA. “Randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial of feverfew in migraine prevention." Lancet July 23, 1988. pp.189-192.

Pattrick M; Heptinstall S; Doherty M. “Feverfew in rheumatoid arthritis: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study." Annals of Rheumatic Disease 1989; 48:547-549

Wichtl, M. Teedrogen Wissenshaftliche Veragsgesel-lchaft. mbH Stuttgart. 1989

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