Nettles includes more than 30 plants of the Urticaceae family. Stinging nettle or common nettle, or Urtica dioica, is a green-leaved plant with small purple flowers that is native to Europe and North America. The plant's root is sometimes used in preparations to help prevent or reduce hair loss.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, stinging nettle has been used for centuries for the treatment of a number of ailments, including: arthritis and joint pain; muscle strain; tendinitis; anemia; gout; eczema; hay fever; insect bites, and enlarged prostate. More recently, the root of the stinging nettle plant has been recommended by some herbal practitioners to prevent hair loss.
Causes of Hair Loss
According to Family Doctor, hair loss can be caused by factors that include stress, aging, thyroid disorders, pregnancy, some medications, diabetes, lupus and fungal infections. One of the most common causes of hair loss in men and women is hormonal changes.
Hormonal changes can lead to hair loss for men and women. According to Medical News Today, a metabolite known as DHT, or Dihydrotestosterone, is mainly responsible for the loss of hair. DHT blocks vital nutrients from the hair. It also shrinks hair follicles, which eventually makes the hair fall out.
Nettle Root and Hair Loss
According to Dr. Marty Sawaya, extracts of nettle root have been used to treat enlarged prostate glands by inhibiting the body's production of the hormone DHT. DHT is also responsible for hair loss, and so nettle root supplements may, by blocking DHT production, also prevent age-related hair loss in men and women. A number of shampoos contain nettle extract. Many also contain other herbs that benefit hair, such as plantain or burdock.
Side effects from the use of stinging nettle root may include stomach cramps, hives, skin irritation, fluid retention and allergic reaction. Stinging nettle should not be used if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, nettle is contraindicated with the following medications: Warfarin, or Coumadin, aspirin, Plavix, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, diabetes medications, diuretics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Consult your doctor before using nettle root.