Nettles are an herbaceous perennial flowering plant, native to Europe, Asia, northern Africa, and North America. The plant has many hollow stinging hairs called “trichomes” on its leaves and stems, which act like needles that inject histamine, formic acid and other chemicals that produce a stinging sensation. It’s very high nutritional content has made it a popular food source steamed and eaten like spinach (it does loose the “sting” when cooked), taken as a tea made from the dried leaves to assist in the nutrition of expectant or nursing mothers, or for general tonic properties for good health.
Stinging nettle’s leaves and root provide a wide variety of nutrients, including (1):
Vitamins: Vitamins A, C and K, as well as several B vitamins
Minerals: Calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium
Polyphenols: Kaempferol, quercetin, caffeic acid, coumarins and other flavonoids
Pigments: Beta-carotene, lutein, luteoxanthin and other carotenoids
What’s more, many of these nutrients act as antioxidants inside your body.
Antioxidants are molecules that help defend your cells against damage from free radicals. Damage caused by free radicals is linked to aging, as well as cancer and other harmful diseases (3Trusted Source).