Stinging Nettle Root: How It Affects Your Testosterone

stinging nettel testosterone

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Here we have an in-depth analysis of Stinging Nettle and its effects on testosterone, along with other health benefits.


Perhaps you have seen Stinging Nettle in your backyard.

Perhaps you’ve felt it.

It causes a burning sensation when touched, due to its stingy leaves – hence the name.

Many people hate it because of this, but they’re unaware of the hidden benefits that this plant offers.

It’s a popular remedy for those suffering from allergies. It also improves bone, skin, and urinary health – in both men and women.

What’s more, emerging evidence shows that stinging nettle can even improve your testosterone levels.

While the research is still limited, this green prickly plant seems like a promising, natural male hormone booster.

What is Stinging Nettle?

Stinging nettle – it’s also called Urtica dioica, or common nettle. It’s a green flowering plant that grows in Europe, Africa, Asia, America, and even some other parts of the world.

While it’s become a popular addition to supplements nowadays, stinging nettle is nothing new. In fact, it’s been used for thousands of years. People from Ancient Greece first discovered it.

Stinging nettle usually grows throughout late spring and summer. It’s a really adaptive plant, meaning it can grow in conditions that are far from ideal. Still, it achieves optimal growth in fertile and nitrogen-rich soil.

Most people have heard of nettle before, due to the notorious skin irritation it causes when touched. However, what you perhaps didn’t know, is that stinging nettle has a number of benefits for your health. [1]

Research suggests it can help relieve inflammation in certain areas of your body, along with improving skin, bone, and joint health. It also appears to be able to indirectly improve testosterone (I’ll cover this in a minute). [23]

Many products contain stinging nettle. From supplements, teas, and even beers. When making products from stinging nettle, nothing goes to waste – stem, leaves and roots are all used for their benefits.

While the aboveground parts of the plant help against inflammation, the root is often used for urinary health, testosterone, and prostate issues. That’s why supplements such as testosterone boosters often use the nettle root extract as one of the ingredients. [2]

The Reason it Stings

Okay, we get it. Stinging nettle is all great and beneficial – but why the heck does it sting?

It stings because there are numerous chemicals on the plant’s leaves and stem. Including histamine, acetylcholine, and serotonin. The latter one is especially irritating, as we’ve seen in my mucuna pruriens article.

These chemicals are found on countless tiny hairs on the nettle. The tip of these hairs is very fragile, so when touched, they actually break off and become sharp, like needles.

This way, they are able to puncture the skin and deliver the chemicals which ultimately cause the burning irritation of the skin.

While it doesn’t pose any health risk, the itching can be accompanied by swelling, redness, and other symptoms of irritation.

How Stinging Nettle Increases Your Free Testosterone

Okay, enough itching – it’s time to boost your testosterone.

The question is: can stinging nettle help you with that? According to animal and in-vitro research, it can.

It does it in two main ways.

First off, the plant inhibits aromatase. This is an enzyme which converts testosterone to estrogen. By combating aromatase, nettle helps your testosterone stay at its optimal levels.

Stinging nettle also suppresses Sex hormone-binding globulin, helping you free up more testosterone. SHBG actually binds to your free testosterone, rendering it useless.

In fact, only 2% of your total testosterone is free and active. SHBG is one of the main reasons why the remaining 98% stay inactive. So by inhibiting it, stinging nettle helps to increase your free T.

Now, let’s look at the studies which show these effects in action.

Study 1

In this study, researchers wanted to see the effects of stinging nettle administration on benign prostatic hyperplasia in rats.

They separated rats into three groups: one that received testosterone treatment, one that received both testosterone and nettle root extract, and one group which didn’t receive any treatment. The study lasted 28 days.

The result?

The group of rats receiving stinging nettle root had much higher testosterone levels than the other two groups.

The researchers concluded this was due to the suppressing effects of stinging nettle on the 5a-reductase enzyme, which converts testosterone to DHT. [3]

Study 2

The researchers of this study had a specific goal in mind: to test whether stinging nettle could suppress aromatase. Again, aromatase is an enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen (female sex hormone).

They took isolation compounds from stinging nettle root and administered them to different biological materials which had aromatase.

The result:

Each of the biological materials had an 11-24% reduced aromatase content after the introduction of stinging nettle root.

The study concluded that nettle suppresses aromatase, and thus inhibits the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. [4]

Study 3

In this study, the goal was to test the effects of nettle root on sex hormone-binding globulin.

As I explained, SHBG is responsible for binding to testosterone. Once it binds to it, it makes it inactive and unusable by your body.

Researchers from this study wanted to test the effects of lignans within nettle root – these compounds are known for interacting with sex hormone-binding globulin.

After isolating lignans, they added them to a biological solution containing SHBG and DHT. SHBG was blocking the DHT and researchers wanted to see if lignans from nettle root could counteract this.

The result:

Almost every single lignan bound to SHBG, freeing up DHT from its ‘chains.’

The most potent lignan in nettle root was 3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran, which freed up 95% of DHT from binding to SHBG. [5]


While the studies on humans are lacking, stinging nettle root is shown to boost testosterone in two main ways: Firstly, by blocking aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen. And secondly, by suppressing SHBG(Sex hormone-binding globulin), which binds to free testosterone and makes it unusable by the body.

Other Key Benefits

Helps Treat Arthritis and Joint Pain

If you suffer from arthritis, then you know how troubling joint pain can be. Arthritis sufferers most often experience pain in hips, hands, knees, and sometimes in the spine.

To alleviate this, doctors often prescribe their patients with various anti-inflammatory drugs. However, long-term usage of these medications can lead to severe side effects.

For this reason, stinging nettle is often added alongside anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the patient’s use of their medication.

Nettle is very effective in decreasing and treating joint pain. Studies suggest that its anti-inflammatory properties help against rheumatoid arthritis.

Because of this, arthritis sufferers often take it either orally, or apply the nettle leaf topically to relieve pain at the specific area of the body. [6]

Reduces Bleeding

There are products with stinging nettle which, when applied topically, reduce bleeding. Whether that’s from an injury, surgery, or anything else.

Evidence suggests that stinging nettle has properties which can reduce bleeding. In one study, bleeding after a dental surgery was significantly reduced after treating it with nettle. [7]

Relieves Allergies, Nasal Congestion, and Hay Fever

When your body produces too much histame, it leads to negative reactions linked to allergies. Everyone who suffers from allergies knows very well how irritating they can be.

Sneezing, constant nasal congestion, and unbearable itching are only some of the symptoms linked to allergies.

It appears that stinging nettle can help with this too.

According to the studies, nettle’s anti-inflammatory properties suppress allergic reactions of hay fever and other allergies. [8]

In a 98-person, randomized and double-blind study, researchers used stinging nettle on two groups of people. Both groups suffered from allergies, but only one group took stinging nettle. The other group only took a placebo.

The results showed that the stinging nettle group reported much higher allergy relief that the placebo group. [9, 10]

Treats Prostate and Urinary Issues

One of the more common prostate conditions is called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). The main cause of BPH is an enlarged prostate, which presses on the urethra.

Because of this, sufferers of this condition have to urinate very often, and aren’t able to fully empty their blatter. They also suffer from painful urination and, in more serious cases, blocked urinary tract.

A study done on rats showed that stinging nettle is as effective in treating BHP as some prescription medication. [3]

Doctors still aren’t sure why this is the case. According to some studies, it’s because of chemicals that are in the nettle. These chemicals directly affect the hormones which are responsible for BHP.

What’s more, nettle’s chemicals also directly affect prostate – reducing the inflammation and swelling. Although the studies are limited, it appears that stinging nettle also helps treat prostate cancer. [11]

Stinging nettle also helps with urine flow. That’s why it’s often a part of home remedies for treating any urinary blockages or infections. [11]

Types Of Stinging Nettle Available

There are several forms of stinging nettle available. Obviously, there’s the best and most natural one – one that’s grown and harvested straight from your backyard.

Then again, many people don’t have the time or luxury to do this. In such cases, supplementing with stinging nettle is your best option.

Products that use stinging nettle come in various forms. These include extracts, capsules, frozen leaves, tablets, and teas.

What product you’ll use depends on your goals.

Do you want to treat joint pain?

Do you want to relieve allergies?

Or perhaps you want to increase testosterone?

For these purposes, either supplementing or applying stinging nettle topically is the best option.

Now, let’s go more in-depth on how you should supplement with stinging nettle.

To sum it up:

There are many forms of stinging nettle available. Such as leaft extracts, root extracts, teas, dried-frozen leaves, and fresh stinging nettle harvested from the ground. If unable to grow your own stinging nettles, then supplementing is the best option.

Supplementing With Stinging Nettle Root

Dosage For Treating Allergies

The best type of stinging nettle for treating allergies is the leaf form.

Experts suggest the best dosage for this goal is 300mg of stinging nettle leaf extract, twice daily.

Dosage For Treating Prostate and Urinary Issues

If you suffer from prostate enlargement or have Bening Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH). Then supplements with stinging nettle root are your best option.

The optimal dosage: 120mg of the root extract, three times daily. That’s 360mg of extract in total. Just make sure not to take it all at once – this reduces its benefits and might cause side effects.

Dosage For Boosting Testosterone

Right now, as there’s still insufficient evidence on stinging nettle’s effects on testosterone in humans, the optimal dosage for this goal isn’t established.

However, we know that the compounds which they used in studies for testing aromatase and SHBG inhibition come from the nettle’s root.

For this reason, I suggest supplementing with the root extract. Use the same dosage as for the purpose of treating prostate enlargement – 120mg three times per day.

Gradually increase the dosage over the weeks until you find your sweet spot.

To sum it up:

If treating allergies or joint pain, take 300mg of nettle leaf extract, two times a day. If looking to treat prostate issues, take 120mg of the root extract, thrice daily. For boosting testosterone, take a total of 360mg of the root extract, separated throughout the day.

Is It Safe?

When used wisely, stinging nettle is a perfectly safe plant. However, there are a few precautions you should take before using it, here they are:

  • Don’t take while pregnant
  • If harvesting, make sure to use thick gloves to avoid stinging
  • Don’t take if you’re diabetic (certain evidence shows that stinging nettle can affect blood sugar levels)
  • If taking an oral supplement, start slow. Too much of stinging nettle extract can cause upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Also, avoid taking stinging nettle if you’re using any of these medications: [12]

  • Blood thinners, including aspirin, warfarin, and clopidogrel – nettle contains high amounts of vitamin K, which helps your blood clot. This, in turn, can counteract the effects of the aforementioned drugs.
  • Diuretics – since stinging nettle is a natural diuretic, combining it with even more diuretics can lead to dehydration.
  • Blood pressure medication – if you suffer from elevated blood pressure and take drugs that lower it, then stinging nettle isn’t a supplement you want to take. It also reduces blood pressure, which can cause it to drop too low when combined with these drugs.

To sum it up:

If you aren’t taking any medication or suffering from a serious health complication, then yes – stinging nettle is perfectly safe for you to take. Just make sure to follow the dosage instructions.

Final Word

Stinging nettle is a well-known plant that grows around the globe. It’s known for its stingy hairs which cause itchiness, redness, and irritation when touched with bare skin.

But while this plant might appear unfriendly from the outside, it actually contains natural compounds that are beneficial for our health.

Using stinging nettle can help treat joint pain, arthritis, inflammation in the body, and enlarged prostate.

Although the evidence is still very limited, stinging nettle also appears to boost testosterone by inhibiting the aromatase enzyme, and by binding to sex hormone-binding globulin. In theory, this should boost the levels of testosterone in men.

However, the only studies that we have in regards to stinging nettle and testosterone are animal and in vitro studies. We also have anecdotal evidence, where many men claim that stinging nettle has helped them improve their testosterone levels.

Since it’s a fairly safe herb, there’s not much to lose – you can try it for yourself and see if it brings any benefits to your manliness.


[showhide type=”links” more_text=”Show References” less_text=”Hide References”]

[1] Stinging nettle dermatitis - NCBI.

[2] Lipophilic stinging nettle extracts possess potent anti-inflammatory activity, are not cytotoxic and may be superior to traditional tinctures for treating inflammatory disorders.

[3] Ameliorative effects of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) on testosterone-induced prostatic hyperplasia in rats.

[4] Aromatase inhibitors from Urtica dioica roots.

[5] Lignans from the roots of Urtica dioica and their metabolites bind to human sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG).

[6] Antirheumatic effect of IDS 23, a stinging nettle leaf extract, on in vitro expression of T helper cytokines.

[7] Use of Ankaferd Blood Stopper as a hemostatic agent: a clinical experience.

[8] Nettle extract (Urtica dioica) affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis.

[9] Effect of Intravenous Histamine, Allergen (Ascaris suum Extract) and Compound 48/80 and Inhaled Allergen-Aerosol on Bronchoconstriction and Histamine Release

[10] Randomized, double-blind study of freeze-dried Urtica dioica in the treatment of allergic rhinitis.

[11] Antiproliferative effect on human prostate cancer cells by a stinging nettle root (Urtica dioica) extract.

[12] WebMD - Stinging Nettle.


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