Urtica Dioica Chemical Composition

Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.

The stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a perennial plant which grows well in nitrogen-rich soil and blooms between June and September. It has a long history of medicinal use.

Depending on the part of the plant, stinging nettle contains different amounts of terpenoids, carotenoids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, flavonoids and sterols.

The leaves contain rutin, luteolin, and a-tocopherols. The roots contain oleanolic acid, sterols, lignans and phenolic compounds.

 These compounds act as effective antioxidants and are known to have antihypertensive, antiplatelet, hypoglycemic and hypocholesterolemic properties.

Moreover, these compounds are capable of affecting different cellular signaling pathways and exerting a wide range of pharmacological actions, including:

  1. anti-proliferative
  2. anti-inflammatory
  3. antioxidant
  4. analgesic
  5. immunostimulatory
  6. hypotensive
  7. antiulcer
  8. cardiovascular disease prevention activities

Antioxidant activity

Antioxidants are natural compounds that can help fight free radicals, which are waste products in the body that can cause oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress can lead to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, cancer, arthritis, stroke, and respiratory disorders.

The chemical composition of urtica dioica is rich in antioxidants, including phenolic acids and flavonoids.

Phenolic acids are a type of antioxidant, and they have many benefits, including the ability to fight cancer and reduce the risk of diabetes.

They are also useful for treating inflammatory diseases and chronic conditions.

A phenolic acid is an organic compound with the structure of an aliphatic alkenyl group that consists of two rings, each containing three hydroxyl groups.

These hydroxyl groups act as electron acceptors, which can help reduce the production of free radicals.

Phenolic acids are known to have high antioxidant activity, and they can be found in a number of foods.

They are especially helpful for treating cardiovascular disease and preventing diabetes. In addition, they can improve your energy levels and help you lose weight.

These antioxidants are naturally occurring in some fruits and vegetables, but they can also be found in supplements.

The best way to increase the antioxidant content in your diet is to eat a variety of different foods. These include vegetables, fruits, nuts, and herbs.

In addition to phenolic acids, urtica dioica is also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. It contains vitamin B6, niacin, thiamin, vitamin C, and vitamin E.

It is also a good source of iron, calcium, and potassium.

Another important ingredient in urtica dioica is magnesium, which helps maintain blood pressure and improve circulation. This mineral can also prevent and treat osteoporosis.

Other components of urtica dioica are essential amino acids, chlorophyll, polysaccharides, sterols, and fatty acids.

These nutrients are also important for a healthy immune system, as they protect cells from toxins and damage.

Urtica dioica is a member of the Urticaceae family and is widely distributed throughout Europe and Asia.

This herb has many medicinal uses and has been used for thousands of years. It is often referred to as the “king of medicinal plants” because of its numerous healing properties.

Antihistaminic activity

Urtica dioica is a stinging nettle that is found across Europe, Asia, North America and some Northern African countries.

It is a common and well-known medicinal herb that is widely used in folk medicine.

It has a variety of medicinal properties and is considered an important herb for its antimicrobial and immune enhancing activities.

The chemical composition of urtica dioica contains many phenolic compounds, which may be responsible for its many health-related properties.

Some of these phenolic compounds include quercetin, anthocyanins and caffeic acid derivatives.

They have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect, as they inhibit the inflammatory response by reducing macrophage-derived cytokines and inhibiting airway epithelial cell activation.

Moreover, they act as antioxidants and have been shown to prevent the oxidative damage associated with chronic inflammation [20, 21].

Quercetin is known to inhibit IL-1b and NF-kB signaling in macrophages. It also suppresses the production of inflammatory mediators such as IFN-g and TNF-a in mice.

In addition, it has anti-apoptotic properties and can suppress the cellular inflammatory response in fibroblasts and endothelial cells.

It has also been shown to have antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Several studies have also investigated the antihistaminic activity of urtica dioica. They have demonstrated that urtica dioica possesses an antihistaminic activity, as it reduces the sensitivity to histamine and other allergens.

It also has a protective effect against cutaneous irritation and allergic reactions.

These properties are believed to be attributed to a complex mixture of compounds, including histaminic acid and anthocyanins.

They may be responsible for the stinging sensation that is experienced by some people when they come into contact with stinging nettles.

This plant has been used in traditional medicine for various diseases, including a range of digestive disorders and to treat diabetes.

It has been also used in the treatment of urinary tract infections and to relieve joint pain.

In addition to its antihistaminic activity, urtica dioica has been shown to have a positive effect on diabetes and hypertension.

It can also help to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD). It is also a good source of antioxidants and has antimicrobial properties.

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Anti-inflammatory activity

Urtica dioica (stinging nettle) is an herbaceous perennial plant whose rhizomes and leaves have been used as traditional medicines.

The young leaves contain high levels of polyphenols and bioactive phytoconstituents. It is also a rich source of minerals and vitamins, including vitamin C, E, K and B-complexes.

The aqueous extract of Urtica dioica root is effective against inflammation and infection caused by different pathogenic bacteria.

It was found to have antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus coagulans and Pseudomonas aeruginosa in laboratory experiments. It was also effective against Staphylococcus epidermidis,

Streptococcus pneumoniae and Vibrio cholerae in animal model studies.

Quercetin, one of the most important polyphenols present in the stinging nettle rhizome, inhibits inflammatory responses and induces antioxidant effect.

It also increases hepatic paraoxonase, arylesterase and liver tissue catalase activities. In addition, it protects hepatocytes from ischemia-reperfusion injury and reduces oxidative stress in hepatic cells.

These findings suggest that the stinging nettle extract is an effective anti-inflammatory drug for bronchial inflammation and respiratory disorders such as asthma, rhinitis and coughs.

In particular, it inhibited the recruitment of leukocytes and eosinophils into the bronchial lavage fluid, suppressed IL-5, IL-6, NF-kB and COX-2 levels and decreased neutrophil activity in mice.

In addition to these anti-inflammatory effects, a hydro alcoholic extract of Urtica dioica was neuroprotective in scopolamine-induced memory impairment model in rats.

Moreover, it was also found to be able to enhance insulin secretion and improve glucose tolerance in diabetic animals.

Another study reported that an aqueous extract of the leaves of U. dioica induced an increase in the secretion of insulin in perfused langerhans islets in rats.

The extract also exhibited hypotensive and natriuretic effect in normal and streptozotocin diabetic rats.

Stinging nettle is an excellent herb for treatment of prostate problems such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostatic cancer.

It has been reported to have an ant-prostatic effect in a human prostate carcinoma cell line by reducing the proliferation of tumor cells.

It is also known to have anti-prostate cancer activity in experimentally induced prostatic hyperplasia in mice and in the rat by blocking SHBG receptor.

Antimicrobial activity

Urtica dioica is a traditional medicinal plant used in different regions of the world. This plant has many pharmacological properties such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antidiabetic, and antimicrobial activities.

It has been shown that the aqueous extract of this plant exerts hypotensive and antihyperplasic effects in human cells culture and in vitro models of prostatic hyperplasia [125].

The alcoholic extracts of this plant were found to have significant antimicrobial activity against several bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, and Enterococcus faecalis at all concentrations tested.

The antibacterial activities of these extracts were determined by the MIC and MBC (Minimum bactericidal concentration) methods.

In addition to its antibacterial effects, the ethanol extract of U. dioica leaves has also been reported to have antioxidant effects.

It has been shown to increase cytochrome b5, NADH-cytochrome b5 reductase, glutathione S-transferase, and DT-diaphorase in liver tissues. This effect may be due to the high contents of phenolic compounds in the plant extract, which can scavenge free radicals.

The 80% ethanol extract also showed significant reductions in cytochrome P450, lactate dehydrogenase, NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase, total sulfhydryl groups, and nonprotein sulfhydryl groups.

Another interesting finding is that the ethanol extract of this plant has good DPPH scavenging activity with an IC50 value of 10.4 mg/mL.

This is higher than that of ascorbic acid (3.5 mg/mL), a well-known antioxidant. The DPPH scavenging activity of the ethanol extract of this plant was comparable to that of BHT (5.0 mg/mL).

However, some of the investigated bacterial strains showed resistance to the ethanol extract of this plant including S. typhi, K. pneumoniae, P. aeruginosa, and P. mirabilis, which could be attributed to their unique structure and a polysaccharide capsule that prevents the entrance of some substances to the bacterial cytoplasm.

The plant extracts of this plant have also been shown to have wound-healing properties.

A group of rats with open wounds was treated with glycerol or the ointment containing 50 mL/mm2 of EtOH-H2OE of U. dioica (as a reference drug) and wound contraction was evaluated at different time points to assess the healing rate.

The wound closure rates of all groups were compared with the positive control cream, CICAFLORA, to verify that the ointment containing this plant extract had a strong wound-healing activity.


Stinging nettle is an herbaceous plant with hairy leaves and stems. It is a perennial with rhizomes and grows up to 2 m tall.

It is a significant nuisance weed that can be controlled by mowing and herbicides such as 2,4-D and glyphosate.

Nettle chemical composition

The stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a perennial flowering plant, mainly grown for its stinging hairs and for its seeds. It belongs to the family Urticaceae and the genus Urtica.

It is a dioecious plant with separate male and female plants that flower from June to September. The flowers are green in young plants and purple/reddish in older ones.

Depending on the part of the plant, nettle leaves contain a number of nutrients such as terpenoids, carbohydrates, vitamins, polysaccharides, amino acids, sterols and hydroxycoumarins.

The stinging leaves are particularly rich in phytochemicals with antioxidant, anti-diabetic and hepatoprotective activity.

Hepatoprotective effects of stinging nettle root extract against carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatic damage in rats.

Besides, the leaves and root of the stinging nettle have been used in traditional medicine for a wide variety of ailments, including diabetes, hypertension, inflammation and urinary tract symptoms. T

hese plants are also useful as food and are a source of vitamin C. In addition, a few studies have shown that nettle root extracts increase urinary flow and lower symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy.

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