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Stinging Nettle Root Vs Leaf: Big Differences To Know

The devilish-looking Stinging Nettle may seem like it ascended from hell straight away, but don’t be fooled, as the leaves and roots of this plant can be a miracle if you use them properly.

The Stinging Nettle root and leaf contain flavonoids, phenolic compounds, vitamins, and minerals useful for treating many common diseases. However, the Stinging leaves are more painful to harvest than the roots and are a better option for consumption than the aerial foliage.

Although distinct in looks and growth habits, both the leaves and roots equally pack a punch when it comes to the overall benefits.

Learn the differences and similarities between Stinging Nettle root and leaf, and possibly the safe way to consume them!

Stinging Nettle Plant [Overview & Facts]

The Stinging Nettle plant commonly applies to Urtica dioica, which hails from the plant family Urticaceae.

This upright perennial rhizomatous or terrestrial herb occupies temperate to tropical habitats covering most of Asia and Northern Africa.

Perhaps the best recognizable feature of Stinging Nettle is its small chemical-filled trichomes or hairs covering its body.

These hairs contain an admixture of bitter chemicals that can render a painful sting when brushed against your bare skin!

Image illustrates the benefits of Stinging Nettle plant
Stinging Nettle are safe to eat when you cook them properly and gain superb health benefits.

Despite the sting, Nettles are famous as crucial medicinal, culinary, and agricultural plants.

A safe way to remove the stings from the leaves and stems of Stinging Nettle is to blanch them for 2-3 minutes in boiling water and then plunge them into ice-cold water.

Stinging Nettle: Root Vs. Leaf [Similarities & Differences]

Perhaps Stinging Nettles is the best example of “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

The leaves and stems of Nettles have a sinister guise, but the roots lack these stinging hairs.

Further, the Stinging Nettle roots are also the bioactive component of the plant, alongside leaves.

Since the roots are below ground, people usually harvest the leaves and tender stem tips for food.

Hence, they usually ignore the roots, which are also a godsend.

Image illustrates the hazards of Stinging Nettle plant
Stinging Nettle leaves and stems have many tiny hairs with a myriad of chemicals harmful when brushed against your skin.

1. Stinging Nettle Root Vs Leaf: Similarities

The major similarities between the roots and leaves of Stinging Nettles are its chemical composition and associated health benefits.

  • The roots and leaves of Stinging Nettles contain flavonoids, phenols, vitamins, minerals, saponins, and lectins.
  • They both are edible with a long history of use as an important food source and medicinal plant.
  • Also, the roots and leaves of Stinging Nettle can be used for the preparation of tea, tinctures, and other herbal coctions.

Be Careful!

Always use the herbal preparations of Stinging Nettle roots and leaves as a dietary addendum.

Among the famous dietary supplements in the plant kingdom is Ginkgo Biloba.

However, due to the lack of clearance from the Food And Drug Administration (FDA) as a direct medication, never consume them to treat any kind of disease!

2. Stinging Nettle Root Vs Leaf: Difference

Based on the growth habit of the Stinging Nettle, roots and leaves have many differences in their appearance.

The aerial dark green leaves of Stinging Nettle contain stinging hairs, while the tan creamy white underground roots lack these hairs or trichomes.

Furthermore, the Stinging Nettle leaves die back during frost, while the roots can overwinter and shoot out new leaves in spring.

Although the leaves and roots have almost the same chemical compounds, their dosage, amounts, and use may differ.

Let’s see some of their differences from the table below.

Chemical CompositionMore Lignans & Phenolic ChemicalsMore Vitamins, Minerals & Flavonoids
Medicinal PropertiesBetter For Treating Urinary Problems & Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)Better For Treating Arthritis, Rheumatism & Allergic Rhinitis
Side EffectsCan Cause Vomiting, Diarrhea & Puking When EatenCauses Skin Irritation & Rashes When Touched
Dosage or UseTaken In The Form Of Capsules, Extract or PowderTaken In The Form Of Tea, Hot Tincture & Vegetable (Cooked)

From Editorial Team


Although both the Stinging Nettle roots and leaves carry medicinal importance, you should not use them while consuming other medications.

Herbal preparations of the roots and leaves can react with other medications. Hence, consider consulting your doctor before taking them.