Stop sneezing through summer time!

Stop sneezing through summer time!

Summer should be a time to enjoy the outdoors and breath in the fresh air.  Thankfully there are some natural solutions that can help with the bothersome symptoms of allergies.  The stinging nettle plant, or Urtica dioica, is found throughout the U.S. and Europe, and is a popular plant that herbalists use in alleviating allergy symptoms; in fact it has been used in Europe for over 2,000 years.  Yes, this is the same species that causes severe burning skin irritations, caused by formic acid on the tiny hairs, by brushing up against the leaves on a nice hike during the summer.  Even though the stinging nettle has these hurtful properties when encountered unexpectedly, it can also possess healing properties. By harvesting the plant and drying the leaves at the right time, the nettle makes a wonderful therapeutic tea or it can taken in a capsule.  Don’t worry about drinking a mouth full of stingers; the stinging qualities disappear when the plant is dried.
The stinging nettle grows 2 to 4 feet in height and has a creeping root from which new shoots emerge.  It grows well in moist shady spots, in woodlands, and along stream and riverbanks.  During spring the young nettle shoots can be harvested and cooked.
Nettles are most commonly used for hay fever and they relieve the common allergy symptoms of sneezing and itchy eyes. There are numerous other conditions that nettles have been used to treat including:  prostate enlargement, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, asthma, bladder infection, bronchitis, bursitis, gingivitis, gout, hives, kidney stones, laryngitis, multiple sclerosis, PMS, sciatica, and even tendonitis!  Stinging Nettle is also used topically to improve the appearance of the hair and is a great remedy to neutralize oily hair and dandruff.
The stinging nettle has several great medicinal properties that provide the healing effect.  It is stimulating on the kidneys and bladder and helps cleanse the body of toxins.  The plant also improves the excretion of uric acid thereby reducing the symptoms of gout and arthritis.  The leaves have diuretic properties and the root is used for the treatment of urinary retention caused by prostate enlargement.
Heather Wickett

Naturopathic Medical Intern

NWNM Work Study.

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