Researchers from the University of Sfax in Tunisia have come up with an amazing study that enumerates not only the antioxidant potential of small nettle (Urtica urens) but also its antimicrobial activity. The respective study was published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Biology.
The small nettle (Urtica urens) is closely related to the beneficial, although painful, stinging nettle (Urtica dioica). Both of these species belong to the genus Urtica. Many researches have revealed that members of this genus possess great antioxidant potential.
Antioxidants are one of the most sought-after compounds of small nettle. They can neutralize harmful free radicals, reducing the risk of cancers, cardiovascular and degenerative diseases.
The antioxidant potential of small nettle has not been observed before this study. However, it is already known to contain carotenoids including Lutein and Beta-carotene. These carotenoids act as antioxidants. In addition, small nettle is also rich in high-quality,
- Fatty acids
- Vitamins C, B, and K
All of these compounds are equally crucial for the pharmacological properties, the plant exhibits.
For the study, the researchers collected extracts from the leaves of small nettle, which were then observed for the in vivo antimicrobial and antioxidant activities.
For the antimicrobial activity, the researchers tested the extracts against various bacterial strains including,
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- Bacillus subtilis
- Salmonella enteritidis
- Escherichia coli
- Staphylococcus epidermidis
- Micrococcus luteus
- Enterococcus faecalis
The antioxidant activity of the herb was tested using different free radical scavenging assays.
What do the results say?
The results of the study showed that small nettle had potent antimicrobial activity, effective against Gram-positive bacteria (B. subtilis, S. aureus, M. luteus, and S. epidermidis) and some Gram-negative bacteria (S. enteritidis and P. aeruginosa). Likewise, it also demonstrated strong antioxidant activity as well.
The researchers also determined the phyto-chemicals in the plant extracts. They intended at the identification of the compounds, responsible for the biological activities of the herb. High concentrations of flavonoids, polyphenols, and tannins were observed, possessing antioxidant properties.
Concluding the whole story, small nettle possesses potent antioxidant and antimicrobial activities. Flavonoids, polyphenols, and tannins were attributed to these characteristics. These results prove that wild plants serve as potential sources of compounds with pharmacological applications. This is a significant finding, especially now, because many health problems are becoming more and more prevalent.
More about small nettle
At present, wild plants such as the small nettle are very much underutilized. However, they have the solution to many problems regarding health, nutrition, livelihood, and ecological sustainability.
Small nettle is a great home-based homeopathic remedy. These plants have been widely used as supplements for the nutrients that staple foods cannot provide. Thus, they find extensive use as a source of nutrients with pharmaceutical applications.
Moreover, the practitioners in the past already used this herb as a natural remedy for conditions like allergies, insect bites, asthma, inflammatory diseases, blood impurities, and bacterial infections.
Some of the additional benefits of the plant are stated below.
- It helps to alleviate first degree burns and sunburns
- Small nettle effectively promotes lactation
- The respective herb also eliminates kidney stones
- It potentially improves the symptoms of gout
- It is effective against relieving itchiness