Kidney School™—a program of Medical Education Institute, Inc.

Module 15—Alternative Treatments


Nettle Leaves

Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) are a perennial lawn weed covered with tiny hairs that cause a painful welt that lasts for hours. Heating or drying the plant prevents the sting.


  • Cooked nettles are rich in minerals; freeze-dried roots, seeds, or leaves are a valued herbal medicine.
  • Nettle leaf has been used as a diuretic (water pill) and a treatment for kidney stones and prostate troubles for hundreds of years, but no medical studies have been done of this effect.
  • Nettle roots have been shown to help keep prostate cells from growing better than a placebo, in both cancer and benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) in test tube and human studies.
  • Nettles also have proven to reduce inflammation and help block pain signals caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

Forms: Capsules, tincture, tea, juice


  • Avoid nettles if you have severe kidney disease, are on dialysis, or have fluid retention due to congestive heart failure.
  • Nettles may interfere with blood pressure medication.
  • Do not eat the raw leaves.
  • A rash may occur if you are allergic to nettles.
  • If you make tea out of fresh nettle leaves, use small, young leaves. Older nettle leaves can contain oxalate, which can irritate the kidneys.
  • In one case, a woman developed atropine poisoning after drinking stinging nettle tea that was contaminated with belladonna.
  • One source reports that nettles may raise blood sugar levels.

CAUTION! Please check with your doctor before trying any alternative therapies; not all therapies are safe and/or recommended for people with kidney disease. The information presented here is for informational purposes only.
Page 37 of 60 | Further reading