Even though stinging nettle sounds more like something bound for a witch’s cauldron, many think that it may have some positive benefits when used for hair loss concerns.
Below, we will cover just what stinging nettle is, how it may deliver anti-inflammatory and DHT-reducing benefits, review if it may have benefits for hair loss or other hair conditions, go over the potential side effect, and let you know how you can use it for your hair (if you want to).
Stinging nettle is a plant that has been used historically in medieval Europe to try and help with joint pain and to act as a diuretic for swelling. You may also hear this plant referred to by its Latin name, Urtica dioica.
As the name suggests, stinging nettle can, well, sting a bit. The plant’s leaves and stem are covered with fine hairs which contain irritating substances. This can leave one feeling pain, itching, redness, and irritation after coming into contact with the plant. As a medicine, however, this irritation is utilized as a way to counteract any original pain being felt in the area like joint pains, muscle pains, or sprains. Stinging nettle used as a cream or compress may provide inflammation relief as well as a counter-irritation to make these situations more tolerable.
Today, stinging nettle is sometimes used as an oral medication to treat an enlarged prostate, allergic rhinitis, or as a salve or compress for joint pain, tendonitis, joint pain, strains, or insect bites.
Extracts of stinging nettle have been found to have strong free radical scavenging activity. Meaning that it can help mop up free radicals before they can damage cells and lead to inflammation in the body. Stinging nettle is also classified as a strong antioxidant because of this ability.
This is an important factor when looking at pattern hair loss, as studies have shown that androgenetic alopecia (male and female pattern hair loss) often presents with an inflammatory microenvironment in the hair follicle.
Another potential benefit of stinging nettle when it comes to hair loss may be its ability to help reduce DHT. DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is a naturally produced by-product of some of the testosterone in the body. While DHT plays an important role in the development of male characteristics during puberty, later in life it can lead to hair follicle damage and miniaturization in people with a genetic susceptibility to hair loss.
Some of the medications commonly used for hair loss like Finasteride and Dutasteride (off-label) are utilized for their DHT-reducing abilities as well. When people with patterned hair loss use DHT-reducing agents, they may find that the progression of genetic hair loss is slowed, and some people may even experience some level of regrowth in some areas.
Basically, DHT reduction may help “put a pin” in the genetic hair loss process, to some extent.
There are not currently any studies looking into stinging nettle to treat hair loss specifically. But, what we do know is that stinging nettle is a strong antioxidant that can reduce inflammation, and that it can have DHT-reducing properties. For these reasons, some people hypothesize that stinging nettle may have some positive effects in slowing the rate or progression of hair loss in DHT-related states like male pattern hair loss. But, we do not quite have all of the information yet on the matter.
Coming into contact with the barbs of the stinging nettle plant itself may lead to skin irritation including hives, rashes, bumps, or itchiness.
When consuming stinging nettle in supplement form, it is also possible that you have an allergic reaction to the plant. But, normally dried and cooked stinging nettle is safe to consume, if you are not allergic.
Certain people should avoid using stinging nettle supplements including women that are pregnant, since the plant may induce uterine contractions. Also, there may be certain medications that interact with stinging nettle or can have an amplified effect when used alongside. Interacting medications may include blood pressure medications, diuretics, blood thinners, diabetes medications, and lithium.
Also, be sure to consult with your doctor before starting on any supplements to make sure it is a good fit for you.
If you have done your research, consulted with your doctor, and are determined to give stinging nettle a go, there are a few ways you can go about it.
While stinging nettle does seem to have some positive attributes that you look for in a hair loss treatment like antioxidant effects and DHT-reducing abilities, we do not currently know if it works for hair loss. We also do not know the proper dosage and regimen that may be the most effective, if the benefits are real.
If you do still want to include stinging nettle into a comprehensive hair loss treatment plan, you may also want to consider more evidence-based treatments including Minoxidil or Finasteride as well.
Here at Strut, we offer prescription hair loss medications including medications like Minoxidil, Finasteride, Dutasteride, and Spironolactone that can be customized to your hair loss needs.
If you are interested in seeing what a hair loss medication can do for you, simply select the treatment you are considering and complete a free online questionnaire and image-based telemedicine consultation with us in under 15 minutes.
Our doctors will review your information and formulate a treatment for you, if you are a good candidate for the medication. Then, your prescription will be put together at a U.S. compounding pharmacy and shipped to your front door with our free shipping.