Hair Loss Advice


Nettles and Hair Loss

Nettles, (Urtica dioica) from the family Urticaceae is also referred to as Stinging Nettle, Common Nettle and Greater Nettle. Nettle plants grow 2 to three feet tall, bearing dark green leaves with serrated margins and small flowers covered with tiny hairs on the leaves and stems. When brushed, Nettles can inject an irritant into any skin that comes into contact with the plant.

This stinging reaction is caused by the plant hairs injecting a compound containing formic acid, histamine, Serotonin, acetylcholine, 5-hydroxytryptamine and other irritants. This stinging activity is lost when the plant is dried or cooked, and the tender tops of young first-growth nettles are especially delicious and nutritious.

Found all over the world, Nettles have been used as a vegetable and folk remedy for centuries. Collected before flowering, Nettles were thought useful as a treatment for asthma, as an expectorant, antispasmodic, diuretic, astringent, and tonic. Applying an extract of Nettles to the scalp was said to stimulate hair growth, and chronic rheumatism was treated by placing nettle leaves directly on to the afflicted area.

hair loss and nettles

The Nettle has a long history of use. The tough fibers from the stem have been used to make cloth and cooked nettle leaves were eaten as vegetables.

From ancient Greece to the present, nettle has been documented for its traditional use in treating coughs, tuberculosis, and arthritis and in stimulating hair growth.

Nettles are rich in chlorophyll and young cooked nettle shoots, when cooked, are not only edible but are an excellent source of beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and minerals, especially silica.

In one study, Swiss researchers R. Hartmann et al. demonstrate that extracts of pygeum (Pygeum africanum Kalkman, Rosaceae) and nettle root (Urtica dioica L., Urticaceae) partially blocked the action of two enzymes involved in the body's production of dihydrotestosterone and estrogen.

The in vitro (laboratory) study showed that both pygeum and nettle root extracts were effective in inhibiting these two enzymes (5alpha-reductase and aromatase) and that a combination of the two plant extracts was significantly more effective than either extract individually in blocking aromatase activity.

Nettle root extract was effective only at high concentrations, while pygeum extract showed "a much higher efficacy" at lower doses. The combination of the two extracts (Prostatonin®) was as effective as pygeum against 5 a-reductase and significantly more effective than either against aromatase. This study supports the use of combinations of these two ingredients in the treatment of BPH. This is especially important because pygeum bark is both expensive and limited in supply, while nettle roots are easily produced on a large scale.

There are several clinical studies documenting the efficacy of nettle root for BPH. Dr. Varro E. Tyler reported on a paper from the 1995 Congress on Medicinal Plant Research that J.J. Lichius and colleagues showed a reduction in prostatic growth potential in mice with the administration of a high dosage of nettle root extract.

Another study using saw palmetto berries and nettle root extracts to treat patients with BPH showed an inhibition of the testosterone metabolites dihydrotestosterone and estrogen, thus proving to be an effective treatment.

Some of the more resent research on BPH and Nettles show that Nettles can interfere or block a chemical process in the body that has been linked to prostate disorders.

As men age, free-floating testosterone becomes bound to albumin in a process called human sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), removing its bioavailability to the body.

This chemical process is now believed to be linked to prostate disorders. In several clinical studies, nettles has demonstrated the ability to block this process which may well explain its documented effectiveness in the treatment of many prostate conditions. Since testosterone is a natural aphrodisiac, and nettles makes more testosterone bioavailable for the body's use by blocking SHBG, this may also explain why nettles has recently been regarded with aphrodisiac properties.

Adverse effects from consuming nettle tea can range from upset stomach to burning sensations in the skin, difficulty in urination and bloating.

Although allergic reactions to nettle are rare, when contact is made with the skin, fresh nettle can cause a rash secondary to the noted stings.

Further Reading

  • Introduction Nature usually has a solution for most health ailments and the problem with hair loss in no exception.

  • Saw Palmetto Natural Propecia

  • Nettles Applying an extract of Nettles to the scalp was said to stimulate hair growth, and chronic rheumatism was treated by placing nettle leaves directly on to the afflicted area.

  • Capsaicin Capsaicin induces the release of substance which is believed to play an important role in murine hair growth and cycle. 

  • Soy Extract An American Herb company was recently issued a patent for the use of soy extract for the treatment and prevention of hair loss.

  • Cayenne Pepper Excellent results have been seen with alopecia, male pattern baldness and excellent results also in women that have lost their hair.

  • Proanthocyanidin Natures Minoxidil

  • Pygeum Bark Pygeum africanum a herb derived from the bark of the African evergreen,which inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, is widely used in Europe to prevent and treat prostate problems and to prevent and treat male pattern baldness.

  • Sapote In Santo Domingo, the seed kernel oil is used as a skin ointment and as a hair dressing believed to stop falling hair.

  • Aromatherapy Evidently, one or more of the essential oils is able to promote hair regrowth.