A popular diuretic in medieval England, stinging nettles are still valued today for their cleansing properties, and employed to treat urinary tract infections, prostate problems and insect bites. Although the leaves of this common weed cause a stinging sensation when touched, they actually seem to have an anti-inflammatory effect when ingested, possibly by interrupting the body’s existing pain signals. This may also explain why stinging nettles are a traditional remedy for aching muscles and joints, as well as gout and arthritis. Some studies have found stinging nettles may reduce allergic reactions, and can be beneficial in treating respiratory conditions, including hayfever, asthma and other seasonal allergies. Containing high levels of vitamin C and iron, stinging nettles boost immune health, increase blood circulation, and can help combat anaemia. They may also be helpful in stimulating milk production during lactation, and to relieve PMS and heavy periods.
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