Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) is a weed native to Asia, Europe and North Africa but is often found in the yards of Americans too. It’s name was given to it thanks to little spikes on its leaves that sting when you try to pull it.
Does Stinging Nettle Boost Testosterone?
The short answer is no, stinging nettle does not boost testosterone!
In a double blind study on 257 men receiving 120 mgs of stinging nettle, twice each day for up to 48 weeks had zero effect on testosterone levels! (1)
A second study completed by 558 men, showed testosterone levels were completely “unchanged” by supplementation. (2)
So where did the idea that stinging nettle could improve testosterone come from and why is it in some of the most popular testosterone boosters on the market?
Stinging nettle was shown in a study on rats to “possibly” boost testosterone. (3)
Here is the real kicker about that study though. The rats were also being given testosterone injections at the same time! So there is no proof that nettle even increases testosterone in rats.
Stinging Nettle, DHT, SHBG and Free Testosterone
There have been other studies performed on rats and in petri-dishes showing that stinging nettle may reduce sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and/or be a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor. (4, 5).
5-alpha-reductase forms dihydrotestosterone (DHT) from testosterone so in theory by preventing this conversion you could maintain higher levels of free testosterone.
However, once again the human studies do not show any increase in free testosterone levels so the results do not seem to translate from rats and petri-dishes to humans.
In addition to that, DHT is an extremely powerful androgen and strong estrogen blocker so it’s not something you necessarily want to block anyway. (6)
SHBG, is a protein made in the liver that binds to hormones such as estrogen and testosterone and transports them throughout your body via your blood.
This is a good thing in general but when SHBG is too high it may keep your testosterone bound up instead of being free for use.
Yet again though, the studies on humans do not show any increase in free testosterone levels so any effect stinging nettle has on SHBG is too small to see a benefit as far as testosterone goes.
Does Stinging Nettle Have Any Health Benefits?
Stinging nettle does have three possible health benefits, although its effects on all 3 are pretty minor at best according to the research.
1. May provide a slight decrease in nasal congestion due to seasonal allergies. (7)
2. May increase urinary flow rate of men suffering from (BPH) benign prostatic hyperplasia. (1)
3. May slightly decrease severe joint pain but studies were rather unremarkable. (8, 9)
Should Men Supplement with Stinging Nettle?
If you suffer with BPH, seasonal allergies or joint pain, stinging nettle is certainly worth trying although you shouldn’t expect significant improvements based on the research to date showing minimal effects.
If you are trying to increase your testosterone, there is literally zero scientific proof of benefit from it, so don’t waste your money.
Check out our article showcasing the Best Testosterone Boosters to learn what supplements and foods do work!
- Lopatkin, N., Sivkov, A., Walther, C., Schläfke, S., Medvedev, A., Avdeichuk, J., . . . Engelmann, U. (2005). Long-term efficacy and safety of a combination of sabal and urtica extract for lower urinary tract symptoms—a placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter trial. World Journal of Urology, 23(2), 139-146. – Link
- Safarinejad, M.R., Urtica dioica for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. J Herb Pharmacother, 2005. 5(4): p. 1-11. – Link
- Moradi HR, Erfani Majd N, Esmaeilzadeh S, Fatemi Tabatabaei SR. The histological and histometrical effects of Urtica dioica extract on rat’s prostate hyperplasia. Veterinary Research Forum. 2015;6(1):23-29. – Link
- Gansser, D., & Spiteller, G. Aromatase inhibitors from Urtica dioica roots. Planta Med. 1995 Apr;61(2):138-40. – Link
- Chrubasik, J. E., Roufogalis, B. D., Wagner, H., & Chrubasik, S. (2007). A comprehensive review on the stinging nettle effect and efficacy profiles. Part II: Urticae radix. Phytomedicine, 14(7-8), 568-579. – Link
- Casey, R. W., & Wilson, J. D. (1984). Antiestrogenic action of dihydrotestosterone in mouse breast. Competition with estradiol for binding to the estrogen receptor. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 74(6), 2272-2278. – Link
- Mittman, P. (1990). Randomized, Double-Blind Study of Freeze-Dried Urtica dioicain the Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis. Planta Medica, 56(01), 44-47. – Link
- Teucher, T., Obertreis, B., Ruttkowski, T., & Schmitz, H. [Cytokine secretion in whole blood of healthy subjects following oral administration of Urtica dioica L. plant extract]. Arzneimittelforschung. 1996 Sep;46(9):906-10. – Link
- Esfanjani, A., Namazi, N., Heshmati, J., & Bahrami, A. (2011). The Effect of Hydro Alcoholic Nettle (Urtica dioica) Extracts on Insulin Sensitivity and Some Inflammatory Indicators in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Double-blind Control Trial. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 14(15), 775-779. – Link