safety of herbal \'remedy\'--stinging nettle?

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This is sort of an environmental allergy question rather than a PA question, but I hope it's okay if I post it here.

There's a current thread on alternative medicine which made me think of raising this question:

anyone know of any adverse effects of a tea made from:

nettle, dandelion, oatstraw, red clover?

I read somewhere that some people think that nettle contains a natural antihistamine and can help with seasonal allergies. Dandelion, oatstraw and red clover sound fairly harmless....I did some research on nettle and found that people used to eat it (boiled) as a vegetable. So I figured it would be fairly safe.

(An aside: I have tried the tea. Don't notice a difference....although it may give me hives sometimes (perhaps from clover pollen?)...but I tend to get hives anyways so it is hard to say for sure. But I'd like to try it again since I still have it sitting in my cupboard....if nothing else, it would contain vitamins and minerals and antioxidants.)

On May 23, 2006

For what it is worth, I seem to recall that nettle was one of the highly allergenic plants that is not recommended for planting in your yard if you have seasonal allergies...not positive but would be worth checking it out. There is a website that lists the allergenicity (is there such a word?) of plants, so you can plan your garden with plants that are less likely to trigger pollen allergies. I don't recall the name of the website, but you can probably google it.

On May 23, 2006

I have no medical training, but I can tell you what I do know from my experience.

Nettles are used in a lot of bath products. I've had it in lotions and bath gels, and haven't had a problem with it. Nothing I've used with it in it made any improvements in my skin, but we have hard water so I'm fighting a losing battle anyway.

I've never heard of oatstraw or red clover, but Now dandelions are a killer for my allergies. They're weedy grass thingies, basically, and if anything in that is giving you hives, I'd bet its those.

On May 23, 2006

I'm doing this from memory, so bear with me. I will assume that you are meaning Stinging Nettle, as this is the one which is usually regarded as having Histamine receptor interaction. There is something else about this one that I should be recalling, though... but I can't at the moment. (Long day)

It is certainly true that this has been regarded as a foodstuff at various times, as has dandelion. Young greens are actually quite tasty-- piquant and sharp.

Red Clover contains a potent mixture of natural phytoestrogens and other steroid mimics. I'd be careful with this one if you are combining it with steroidal therapeutics.

Oatstraw is one I have not personally heard anything about at all. Perhaps this is just filler of some sort?

I can't see that a tea brewed from this would be harmful as long as you let your regular physician know what you're up to.


On May 24, 2006

have also read that nettle (which is quite common here in Ireland) is a natural antihistamine.

In "Naturally healthy Babies and Children" (excellent!) by Aviva Jimm Romm (Foreward by Wiliam Sears)it says:

Chemical compounds: falvonoids, fomic acid, histamine, acetylcoline, chlorophyll, glucoquinine, vitamins A and C, minerals such as potassium, iron and silica.

Main uses: Nutritive, hemostatic, astringent, diuretic, tonic, adaptogen, galactogogue.

Nettle makes a delicious and nutritive tea and cooked green. it can be used as a regularfood supplement in the form of an infusion or vegetable, providing the body with rejuvenation, blood sugar stabilization, and adrenal support

How it's Used: Nettle is particularly useful for teenage girls who have begun to menstruate. It benefits the complexion when taken internally, as it promotes elimination of wastes through the kidneys and bladder. It can also be used in the treatment of cystitis. As an astringent and hemostatic, nettle can be used to stop diarrhea and bleeding, such as from bleeding hemmorhoids or excessive menstrual flow.

Finally, nettle is a highly effective allergy remedy, reducing the body's histamine and inflammatory responses and the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, atopic skin conditions (e.g. eczema) and hives.

Preparation and Dosage:

Infusion: Steep 1 ounce of leaves in 1 quart of water for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Strain and give 1/2 cup to 1 cup twice daily.

Tincture: Give 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon up to four times daily.

Contraindications: None known.

I tried using it with my highly allergic son but as it was in conjunction with many other remedies not sure exactly what effect it had on its own.


On May 24, 2006

Thanks everyone for the advice.

The actual dandelion flower isn't included--just dandelion greens. But the tea does have the clover flower. I could always just pick the clover out, though.

Thanks, Corvallis' mom for the warning about the clover. I'm only on a nasal spray so I think it would be okay in moderation....although it would be a good idea to mention it to my allergist (whom I see more often than the GP I go to.) And, yes, it is stinging nettle I'm assuming.

The tea isn't actually sold for allergies---it is labelled as "vitality tea." But I bought it because it contains nettle.

Barb, it is good to have some more info. on dosage and preparation. I was just dumping some in my teapot!