Written by Jessica Patella, ND. The medicinal herb, Urtica dioica, significantly decreased fasting plasma glucose, triglycerides, SGPT, HDL, and increased nitric oxide and superoxide dismutase levels in participating diabetic subjects compared to control.
An estimated 30.3 million American’s or 9.4% of the population have diabetes, making it one of the most common diseases in the US 1,2. Diabetes also increases oxidative stress in the body which leads to further diseases and complications 1. The herb Urtica dioica, a traditional medicinal plant has been found to help diabetes 1,3. A recent research study found supplementing Urtica dioica in diabetic patients helped improve markers of cardiovascular disease and oxidative stress 1.
The study included 50 women with type 2 diabetes. The women were randomly divided to receive either placebo (n=25) or Urtica dioica (n=25) for a total of 8-weeks. The patients taking Urtica received 5 ml of Urtica dioica, in 3 portions after each meal 1. Before and after 8 weeks of continuous treatment, some biochemical serum levels including fasting plasma glucose, triglyceride levels (FPG), glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT) , serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT), HDL, LDL, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and nitric oxide (NO) were measured.
After 8-weeks of treatment of Urtica dioica the following significant results were observed:
- Decreased fasting plasma glucose (p<0.01)
- Decreased triglyceride levels (p<0.05)
- Decreased glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT), a marker of oxidative stress (P<0.001)
- Increased HDL “good” cholesterol levels (p<0.05)
- Increased nitric oxide levels, a maker showing increased cell-to-cell communication and dilation of the blood vessels, which can lead to lower blood pressure (p<0.001)
- Increased superoxide dismutase, an enzyme that reduces oxidative stress (p<0.001)
The only change in the placebo group was an increase in triglycerides over the 8-week trial 1.
In conclusion, Urtica dioica significantly improved cardiovascular risk factors and markers of oxidative stress in women with type 2 diabetes compared to placebo. The main limitation of the study was the small sample size. Future research should be conducted with more participants and for a longer period of time to determine the long term effects. Even so, researchers felt the results encourage the use of Urtica dioica as an additional therapy in those with type 2 diabetes to possibly decrease cardiovascular disease risk factors and complications of oxidative damage 1.
Source: Amiri Behzadi A, Kalalian-moghaddam H, Ahmadi AH. Effects of Urtica dioica supplementation on blood lipids, hepatic enzymes and nitric oxide levels in type2 diabetic patients: A double blind, randomized clinical trial. Avicenna J Phytomed, 2016; 6 (6): 686-695
Posted January 8, 2018.
- Behzadi AA, Kalalian-Moghaddam H, Ahmadi AH. Effects of Urtica dioica supplementation on blood lipids, hepatic enzymes and nitric oxide levels in type 2 diabetic patients: A double blind, randomized clinical trial. Avicenna journal of phytomedicine. 2016;6(6):686.
- Association AD. Statistics about Diabetes. 2018; Statistics about Diabetes, prevalence. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/?referrer=https://www.google.com/. Accessed January 4, 2018, 2018.
- Namazi N, Tarighat A, Bahrami A. The effect of hydro alcoholic nettle (Urtica dioica) extract on oxidative stress in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized double-blind clinical trial. Pakistan journal of biological sciences: PJBS. 2012;15(2):98-102.