Stinging nettle has a long medicinal history. Even though it’s most famous for causing stinging irritation on the skin, it’s been used for hundreds of years to treat different health problems.
Some of them are joint and muscle pain, arthritis, allergy, eczema, gout, UTI, anemia, hay fever, tendonitis, etc.
The products from this plant, also known as Urtica dioica, are made from the stems, leaves, and roots. So, all parts possess some medicinal properties.
But, is stinging nettle beneficial for people with diabetes as well? Does it affect blood glucose levels positively or negatively?
Studies suggest that Urtica dioica leaf extract can reduce blood glucose levels. This makes it beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.
There are even recommendations to avoid this plant if you already take diabetes medication to avoid a sudden drop in blood glucose.
As we probably know, low blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, or hypoglycemia, is also dangerous as it can cause seizures and loss of consciousness.
Nettle leaves have PPARgamma agonistic, secretagogue, and alpha-glucosidase inhibitory effects. Also, traditional medicine uses them as an anti-hyperglycemic agent for treating type 2 diabetes.
There are some minor studies which suggest the opposite – that stinging nettle might raise blood glucose in some people with diabetes.
It turns out the effects of this plant in the treatment of diabetes are individual, so it’s best to consult a doctor before considering using it.
Still, if you do decide to use it, make sure you monitor your blood glucose levels throughout the whole process, especially if you take other diabetes medication. Once you see how it affects your blood glucose, you can then include them in your diet.
Another thing to have in mind is that not all stinging nettle extracts affect blood glucose. For now, only the above-ground parts have shown to be beneficial.
On the other hand, stinging nettle roots might treat benign prostatic hyperplasia and boost testosterone in bodybuilders.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you consult your doctor first and closely monitor your blood glucose levels.
Note – Don’t confuse stinging nettle with white dead nettle.