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Take the Sting out of Seasonal Allergies with Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle or Nettles are available at most neighborhood health food stores. Our good friend and mega billionaire, Jeff Bezos, will happily deliver them to your door if you can’t find them locally. They are a great natural way to block histamine response when seasonal allergens, like pollen, trigger a systemic body response. In other words, use nettles to avoid your seasonal allergy issues. Try to shop local… your neighbor depends on it.
Stinging nettle comes in a capsule form with usually about a 500mg dose. I recommend following product labeling on daily intake until you feel comfortable with the product. My personal routine is 500 mg upon waking and 500mg before bed when allergies are bad. If there is a windy or heavy day I take a mid day dose as well. I am always shooting for the lowest and most effective dose. Surely there is a point of diminishing returns and I like to make sure I am on the edge as I am a heavy sufferer to ragweed and pine pollen. Just so happens I have two 60 ft. pine trees in my yard. They are absolutely beautiful so I use stinging nettle instead of suffering from and cursing the trees. Enough about me, let’s talk NETTLES.

Stinging nettle grows all over the world and blooms June through September, with beautiful little pink and yellow flowers. The herb has a medicinal history stretching back to the ancient Greeks who used it as a diuretic and to relieve joint pain. Here is the bad part… the leaves and the stems have fine hairs that contain irritants which are released upon contact with the skin. There are some who theorize that while these hairs, or spines, are painful to the touch, they can actually relieve pain as well by lowering levels of inflammatory chemicals in the body or by interfering with the way the body transmits pain signals. Theorize all you want, I made the mistake of walking through a patch once… once. Only touch the capsules.

Seasonal allergies can cause great discomfort to many people. In 2 larger studies I read, test-tube research shows that stinging nettle extracts can inhibit inflammation that can trigger seasonal allergies. This is achieved by blocking histamine receptors and stopping immune cells from releasing chemicals that trigger allergy symptoms. In a large, comprehensive study by a Mayo Clinic it was found, “Stinging nettle may also affect the sneezing and itching of hay fever, perhaps because the herb can reduce the amount of histamine the body releases from mast cells in response to an allergen.” If you really want to get down in the weeds  (pun intended) regarding nettles there are studies published all over the internet for you to view.
Here are some other possible benefits of stinging nettle… there are a few other benefits to be aware of with nettles. They have shown in studies to reduce prostate swelling in men over 50 years old. Another great benefit is they have been shown help to control or lower blood pressure by being a natural precursor to nitric oxide that assists in vasodilation. Oddly enough, research shows  stinging nettle has compounds that may act as calcium channel blockers, which relax the heart by reducing the force of contractions. The list goes on of other benefits.
When ever herbs show so many benefits and so much promise in helping people there is a strong urge by some to grow it themselves. Well, although I go organic when possible and love the idea of a comprehensive garden… stinging nettle may not fit into most people’s idea of a nice garden. As I mentioned above, hear that name… STINGING nettle. The “sting” part if for a reason. The plants can cause a brutal rash and are almost guaranteed to cause an uncomfortable itchy stinging sensation on the skin. Wow… it really gets you for a minute or two.
There are certainly some mild negative side effects that can occur by taking the herb. Please do a quick internet search or speak with a pharmacist regarding nettles. You can try talking to a MD, but I find they were never taught about herbs in medical school. Too much to learn about pharmaceuticals I guess.
As always… Stay Healthy & Stay Legit
Strictly opinion and not medical advice. Consult your doctor, pharmacist and/or nutritionist before starting/stopping any supplement or exercise program

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