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Urtica dioica

Uncaria tomentosa


 

 

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Urtica dioica L. (Urticaceae)

Synonyms
Urtica gracilis Ait., U. major Kanitz., U. urens maxima Blackw.

Local names
Brennesselwurzel, common nettle, csalángyökér, gazaneh, grande ortie, greater nettle, grosse Brennessel, Haarnesselwurzel, Hanfnesselwurzel, hhurrayq, Nesselwurzel, nettle root, ortica, ortie, ortiga, pokrzywa, qurrays, racine d’ortie, raiz de ortiga, stinging nettle, tsuknida, zwyczajna

Description
A herbaceous perennial with erect, green to purplish square stems, 30–150cm high, with creeping roots; whole plant covered with stinging hairs. Leaves opposite, cordate at the base, oblong or ovate, finely toothed; upper surface dark green and underside paler. Flowers incomplete, small, green, dioecious (plant has either male or female flowers in separate inflorescences) and occur as racemes in axils of upper leaves; male or barren flowers have a perianth of 4 segments and 4 stamens, which are bent inwards at bud stage; female or fertile flowers have similar perianth surrounding a single 1-seeded carpel, bearing 1 style with a brush-like stigma. Fruit an achene

Plant material used
dried roots and rhizomes

Chemical assays
In addition to thin-layer chromatography for qualitative analysis, enzymelinked immunosorbent assay and high-performance liquid chromatography methods have also been developed to determine the concentration of Urtica dioica agglutinin in Radix Urticae. However, concentration limits need to be established

Major chemical constituents
A large number of compounds of different polarity and belonging to various chemical classes, including fatty acids, terpenes, phenylpropanes, lignans, coumarins, triterpenes, ceramides, sterols and lectins, have been isolated from Radix Urticae. Among these are oxalic acid, linoleic acid, 14-octacosanol, 13- hydroxy-9-cis,11-trans-octadecadienoic acid, α-dimorphecolic acid (9-hydroxy- 10-trans,12-cis-octadecadienoic acid), scopoletin, p-hydroxybenzaldehyde, homovanillyl alcohol, β-sitosterol, stigmasterol, 24-R-ethyl-5α-cholestan- 3β,αa-diol, campesterol, daucosterol (and related glycosides), secoisolariciresinol- 9-O-b-D-glucoside, neoolivil, oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, Urtica dioica agglutinin and polysaccharides RP1–RP5

Medicinal uses
Uses supported by clinical data
Symptomatic treatment of lower urinary tract disorders (nocturia, polyuria, urinary retention) resulting from BPH stages I and II, as defined by Alken, in cases where diagnosis of prostate cancer is negative.

Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established documents
As a diuretic and for the treatment of rheumatism and sciatica.

Uses described in traditional medicine
Treatment of asthma, coughs, dandruff, diabetes, diarrhoea, eczema, fever, gout, haemorrhoids, nose bleeds, scurvy, snakebites and tuberculosis. The plant has also been used to stop uterine bleeding after childbirth, increase lactation and promote hair growth, and as a vermifuge

Proven pharmacological activity
Animal studies
Anti-inflammatory, Immunostimulant, Benign prostatic hyperplasia

Human studies
Benign prostatic hyperplasia

Toxicology
The LD50 of an aqueous extract or infusion of the roots after intravenous administration to rats was 1721mg/kg body weight and 1929mg/kg body weight, respectively. Oral administration of an infusion of the roots to rats was well tolerated at doses up to 1310mg/kg body weight

Contraindications
Radix Urticae is contraindicated in cases of known allergy to plants of the Urticaceae family. Owing to its effects on androgen and estrogen metabolism, the use of Radix Urticae during pregnancy and lactation and in children under the age of 12 years is contraindicated.

Warnings
Radix Urticae relieves the symptoms associated with BPH but does not have an effect on the size of the prostate. If symptoms worsen or do not improve, or in cases of blood in the urine or acute urinary retention, contact a physician.

Precautions
Pregnancy: teratogenic effects
See Contraindications.

Pregnancy: non-teratogenic effects
See Contraindications.

Nursing mothers
See Contraindications.

Paediatric use
See Contraindications.

Other precautions
No information available on general precautions or precautions concerning drug interactions; drug and laboratory test interactions; or carcinogenesis, mutagenesis and impairment of fertility.

Adverse reactions
Clinical studies have shown that extracts of Radix Urticae are well tolerated in humans. A few cases of minor transient gastrointestinal side-effects, such as diarrhoea, gastric pain and nausea (32, 35), and allergic skin reactions, have been reported.

Dosage forms
Crude drug for infusion; hydroalcoholic extracts. Store in a well-closed container, protected from light and humidity.

Posology
(Unless otherwise indicated)
Daily dosage: 4–6 g crude drug or equivalent preparations as an infusion; 600–1200mg dried 20% methanol extract (5: 1); 1.5–7.5ml 45% ethanol extract (1: 1); 5ml 40% ethanol extract (1: 5)

 

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