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Sting the Microbes with Nettle!

Have you ever experienced side effects of a synthetic drug? Sometimes the result of taking drugs causes more problems in our body than we had in the first place. Unfortunately, it can happen that our system becomes resistant to the active ingredient of a widely appreciated drug. 

Nowadays increasing attention is being paid to herbs. One of the reasons is to avoid the undesirable side effects of synthetic drugs. This is the reason why the analysis of the antimicrobial activities of medicinal plants are increasingly in the focus of scientific experiments as well. 

One of the best-known medicinal plants is nettle (Urtica dioica). It is most commonly utilised for medical purposes, with a focus on its leaves and roots. Nettle tea consumption is widespread in folk medicine for treating diabetes, allergies, abdominal pain, benign prostatic hyperplasia, rheumatoid arthritis and treatment of infections.

Nettle has several constituents which play a major role in antibacterial effects such as neophytadiene, carboxylic acids, esters, alkaloids, phenols,  flavonoids,  tannins  and  saponins.

Several research results are available about the antimicrobial impact of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica). The papers documented a positive effect of nettle for more than 30 Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterias, yeasts and fungis.

Nettle root, leaf and stem analyses showed that water extracts have a greater antibacterial effect compared to ethanol extract. Stem extracts proved to be the least active. The ethanol extract of nettle seed has the greatest effect against Gram-positive bacteria; leaf extract against Gram-negative bacteria; plant oil against fungi while the water extract practically had an antimicrobial activity against all bacteria except for Pseudomonas.

Many infectious diseases have been known to be treated with herbal remedies throughout the history of mankind. Researchers are increasingly turning their attention to folk medicine, looking for new leads to develop better drugs against microbial infections. Nettle is predicted to have a promising future against bacterial and fungal diseases.