Nettle leaf enhances effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drug.
In this open, randomized study, stinging nettle given in combination
with an anti-inflammatory drug dramatically reduced the dose of anti-inflammatory
drug needed for pain relief. Forty patients experiencing acute arthritis
exacerbations took part in the study, with half taking the full 200
mg standard dose of the prescription drug diclofenac. The other subjects
took 50 mg of diclofenac along with 50 g of stewed nettle leaf (Urtica
dioica L. Urticaceae). All subjects ate the same foods during the
study and only those with uncomplicated medical histories were included,
based on very specific criteria. Exclusion criteria included serious
liver, kidney or heart disease, alcoholism, infection, recent surgery,
and therapy with certain drugs, including steroids.
Researchers used both objective and subjective tests to measure effectiveness.
The objective measure was a reduction in specific blood proteins (elevated
C-reactive protein), which are related to joint damage caused by acute
arthritis. Subjective measures included scores for physical impairment,
pain and stiffness. The results were impressive: a combination of 50
g nettle leaf with one-quarter of the normal dose of diclofenac was
just as effective in relieving pain as the full dose of the drug alone.
The authors noted, "50 mg diclofenac is unlikely to produce such
a profound effect." Previous research has shown that doses of 75
mg diclofenac are inadequate for arthritis pain relief. The investigators
suggest that "further investigations are needed to find out if
acute attacks of arthritis may resond to stewed Herba Urticae dioicae
The results of this support those of a 1996 study by Ramm et al., in
which consumption of a dried powdered extract of nettle leaf was associated
with a 50% reduction in dosage of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
drug (NSAID). -- Rob McCaleb, HRF
[Chrubasik, S. Enderlein, W.,
Bauer, R., Grabner, W. 1997. Evidence for antirheumatic effectiveness
of Herba Urticae dioicae in acute arthritis: A pilot study.
Phytomedicine Vol. 4, No. 2, 105-108.]