Does Stinging Nettle Help With Testosterone? (Evidence-Based)

Written by James C., M.S.(C), PT

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Does stinging nettle help with testosterone?

This is an important question since so many supplement companies are trying to sell you this ingredient.

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), a common plant that many view as a pesky weed, has been used for centuries in traditional medicine.

Recently, it has sparked interest in the scientific community due to its potential influence on testosterone levels.

Testosterone, the primary male sex hormone, plays a crucial role in men’s health, influencing everything from muscle mass to mood.

This article aims to explore whether there is a scientifically supported link between stinging nettle and testosterone levels.

We will delve into the results of various research studies, including those conducted on rats, investigate the effects that stinging nettle might have on other hormones, and consider the overall implications for men’s health.

Stinging Nettle and Testosterone: An Overview

can stinging nettle help with testosterone

The relationship between stinging nettle and testosterone levels has been a popular topic of discussion in the field of natural health.

The plant, known scientifically as Urtica dioica, has been long used in herbal medicine, and recent studies suggest it may affect testosterone, a hormone that plays vital roles in various bodily functions.

This section provides an overview of the current understanding of how stinging nettle might interact with testosterone levels in the body, laying the groundwork for an in-depth exploration of scientific research and studies.

An explanation of testosterone

Testosterone is a hormone that plays a vital role in the body.

In men, it’s primarily produced in the testicles.

Testosterone is important for maintaining a variety of physiological processes.

It’s responsible for the development of male sexual characteristics during puberty, such as the growth of body hair and the deepening of the voice.

In adulthood, testosterone aids in the production of sperm and helps maintain sex drive, muscle mass, and bone density.

Testosterone levels generally peak during adolescence and early adulthood, and gradually decrease after the age of 30.

A severe drop or imbalance in testosterone can lead to various health issues, including reduced muscle mass, depression, and sexual dysfunction.

Relationship between stinging nettle and testosterone

Stinging nettle has been linked to testosterone levels primarily because of its compound called 3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran.

This compound is believed to bind with sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) in the body.

SHBG is a protein that, under normal circumstances, binds to testosterone, making it unavailable for the body’s use.

If stinging nettle’s compounds bind to SHBG instead, it is hypothesized that more free testosterone might be available for the body, thereby effectively raising testosterone levels.

However, it’s important to note that while this mechanism is theoretically possible, it has primarily been observed in laboratory settings and not robustly substantiated by clinical trials in humans.

Research on rats has provided some supporting evidence, but the transferability of these findings to humans is still to be confirmed.

It’s crucial to remember that the effects of stinging nettle on testosterone levels are complex and require further investigation.

The possibility of other indirect mechanisms through which stinging nettle could influence testosterone is also a topic of ongoing research.

Scientific Research: The Effects of Stinging Nettle on Testosterone Levels

stinging nettle boosts testosterone in rats

In our quest to understand the potential effects of stinging nettle on testosterone levels, it’s essential to turn to scientific research.

This section will present and discuss studies that have been conducted on this topic, focusing primarily on experiments involving rats and exploring the limited research available on humans.

It’s important to approach this with an understanding that while animal studies provide valuable insights, they don’t always translate directly to human biology.

As such, any conclusions drawn should be considered preliminary until further research is conducted.

Let’s delve into the evidence at hand.

Summary of studies conducted on rats

Several studies have explored the effects of stinging nettle on testosterone levels in rats.

A study published in 2011 in the Andrologia journal found that stinging nettle extract could increase serum testosterone levels in rats (source).

The researchers gave rats varying doses of stinging nettle extract for 28 days and found an increase in testosterone levels, particularly in those receiving the highest doses.

Moreover, a 2016 study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology also suggested that stinging nettle could increase testosterone levels in rats but through a different mechanism.

Instead of binding to SHBG, the researchers suggested that stinging nettle might inhibit an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone into estrogen, thereby leaving more testosterone available in the body (source).

These findings are intriguing and lend some support to the hypothesis that stinging nettle may affect testosterone levels.

However, they have been conducted on rats, and the applicability of these results to human biology remains uncertain.

Caution must be exercised when extrapolating these results to humans, and more research, particularly involving human subjects, is needed.

Exploration of studies done on humans

Human studies exploring the impact of stinging nettle on testosterone levels are less prolific.

A clinical trial published in the Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal in 2016 studied the effects of stinging nettle on prostate health, which is closely linked to testosterone levels.

While the study found that stinging nettle could benefit prostate health, it did not establish a direct link to increased testosterone levels in participants.

In another study, researchers examined the effect of a supplement containing stinging nettle and other ingredients on muscle strength and body composition in resistance-trained men.

The study, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition in 2013, found no significant difference in testosterone levels between the group receiving the supplement and the placebo group.

These limited and inconclusive results underscore the need for more comprehensive, focused, and rigorous studies on humans to substantiate any claims about the effects of stinging nettle on testosterone levels.

Until such research is conducted, it remains uncertain whether the effects observed in rat studies apply to humans as well.

Stinging Nettle and Its Impact on Hormones

does stinging nettle raise testosterone levels

While the focus has largely been on the relationship between stinging nettle and testosterone levels, it’s also crucial to explore its potential impact on the broader hormonal system.

Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers, regulating a multitude of bodily functions from metabolism to mood.

The effect of stinging nettle on hormonal balance is an area of ongoing research, with several possible mechanisms of action proposed.

The Effect on Other Hormones

Stinging nettle is thought to impact several hormones, not just testosterone.

For instance, some studies suggest that stinging nettle may inhibit the enzyme aromatase, as mentioned previously.

Aromatase is responsible for converting testosterone into estrogen, one of the primary female sex hormones.

By inhibiting this enzyme, stinging nettle could theoretically maintain more testosterone in the body, potentially affecting overall hormonal balance.

Additionally, stinging nettle may also impact dihydrotestosterone (DHT), another hormone derived from testosterone.

DHT plays vital roles in male biology, including prostate health.

Some research suggests stinging nettle might inhibit the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT.

If true, this could have profound implications for managing conditions like benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

The Overall Hormonal Balance Influenced by Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle’s potential influence on testosterone, estrogen, and DHT indicates its possible role in managing overall hormonal balance.

By potentially increasing the availability of testosterone and modulating its conversion to other hormones, it could play a part in maintaining hormonal health.

However, it’s important to note that these potential effects are based on preliminary research, and more robust scientific studies are needed to fully understand the impact of stinging nettle on hormonal balance.

In conclusion, while stinging nettle shows promise in influencing hormonal balance, it’s still a relatively uncharted territory in terms of scientific research.

Therefore, individuals should approach the use of stinging nettle for hormonal health with caution and preferably under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Is Stinging Nettle Beneficial for Men?

When it comes to men’s health, the potential benefits of stinging nettle are a topic of substantial interest.

Given its purported effects on testosterone and other hormones, stinging nettle could have implications for various aspects of men’s wellness, from sexual health to athletic performance.

However, the scientific evidence is mixed, and understanding the potential benefits and risks is crucial. In the following section, we will explore in detail what the existing research tells us about stinging nettle’s potential benefits for men.

Potential benefits

  • Testosterone Support: As discussed earlier, preliminary evidence from animal studies suggests that stinging nettle may help increase testosterone levels by inhibiting aromatase and Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG). Increased testosterone levels can contribute to improved muscle mass, strength, and sexual health in men.
  • Prostate Health: Some research indicates that stinging nettle may inhibit the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Therefore, it may support prostate health in men.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Stinging nettle has been studied for its potential anti-inflammatory effects which could benefit men’s health broadly, including reducing the risk of chronic diseases related to inflammation.
  • Mood and Energy Levels: With its potential effect on testosterone levels, stinging nettle might contribute to enhanced mood and energy levels in men. This is considering testosterone’s role in these aspects of health.
  • Bone Health: Some early research suggests that stinging nettle could help improve bone health. Given that testosterone plays a key role in maintaining bone density, stinging nettle’s potential influence on testosterone levels might contribute to this benefit.

It’s important to reiterate that while these potential benefits are promising, further research is required, particularly clinical trials involving human subjects, to fully substantiate these claims.

Addressing common misconceptions

Despite the promising potential benefits, there are several misconceptions about stinging nettle and testosterone that need to be addressed.

  • Misconception 1: Stinging nettle directly boosts testosterone production: There’s no robust scientific evidence to suggest that stinging nettle directly stimulates the body to produce more testosterone. What research suggests is that it may affect how the body uses and metabolizes testosterone.
  • Misconception 2: Stinging nettle supplementation alone can significantly raise testosterone levels: While stinging nettle may play a role in testosterone metabolism, it’s unlikely to cause a significant increase in testosterone levels on its own. Testosterone levels are influenced by a variety of factors, including diet, exercise, and overall health.
  • Misconception 3: All men can benefit from stinging nettle supplements: The effects of stinging nettle on testosterone and other hormones may vary greatly among individuals. Factors such as age, health status, and individual hormonal balance can significantly affect how a person responds to stinging nettle. Therefore, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.
  • Misconception 4: Stinging nettle has no side effects: Like any supplement, stinging nettle can cause side effects in some individuals. These may include stomach upset, fluid retention, sweating, and allergic reactions. It’s always important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

It’s important to approach the use of stinging nettle with a grounded understanding of what it can and can’t do, based on current scientific knowledge.

Always seek professional medical advice before starting or changing any health-related regimen.


In light of the current research, determining whether stinging nettle helps with testosterone levels remains somewhat elusive.

Preliminary studies, particularly those involving animal models, suggest stinging nettle may influence testosterone metabolism and availability, potentially yielding benefits for men’s health.

However, it’s critical to remember that stinging nettle is not a magic bullet for increasing testosterone levels.

Various factors, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and overall health, play more significant roles in maintaining optimal testosterone levels in men.

Additionally, individual responses to stinging nettle may vary, and it’s possible to experience side effects.

As such, it’s always wise to consult with a healthcare professional before starting a stinging nettle supplement regimen.

In conclusion, while stinging nettle shows potential, more robust human clinical trials are needed to definitively establish its role in testosterone support and men’s health.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Does stinging nettle help with testosterone levels?

While some studies, primarily in animals, suggest that stinging nettle may influence testosterone metabolism, there isn’t definitive scientific evidence to confirm that it directly boosts testosterone levels in humans. More research, particularly human clinical trials, are needed.

2. Can stinging nettle improve men’s health?

Stinging nettle has potential benefits for men’s health, including possible support for testosterone levels, prostate health, inflammation reduction, mood and energy levels, and bone health. However, responses can vary greatly among individuals, and more research is required to substantiate these potential benefits.

3. Can I take stinging nettle supplements to raise testosterone levels?

While stinging nettle may play a role in testosterone metabolism, it’s unlikely to cause a significant increase in testosterone levels on its own. Testosterone levels are influenced by many factors, including diet, exercise, and overall health. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any supplement regimen.

4. Are there any side effects of taking stinging nettle?

Like all supplements, stinging nettle can have side effects, which may include stomach upset, fluid retention, sweating, and allergic reactions. Before starting a stinging nettle regimen, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional.

5. Is stinging nettle a one-size-fits-all solution for men’s health?

No. The effects of stinging nettle on testosterone and other hormones can vary greatly among individuals, depending on factors such as age, health status, and individual hormonal balance. Therefore, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, and professional medical advice should be sought before implementing it as part of your health regimen.


  1. Nahata, A., & Dixit, V. K. (2012). Ameliorative effects of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) on testosterone-induced prostatic hyperplasia in rats. Andrologia, 44, 396–409. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0272.2012.01318.x
  2. Schöttner, M., Ganßer, D., & Spiteller, G. (1997). Lignans from the roots of Urtica dioica and their metabolites bind to human sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). Planta Medica, 63(6), 529–532. doi:10.1055/s-2006-957756.
  3. Gansser, D., & Spiteller, G. (1995). Aromatase inhibitors and phytoestrogens. Planta Medica, 61(1), 90–92. doi:10.1055/s-2006-958042.
  4. Chrubasik, J. E., Roufogalis, B. D., Wagner, H., & Chrubasik, S. A. (2007). A comprehensive review on nettle effect and efficacy profiles, Part I: herba urticae. Phytotherapy Research, 21(8), 444–475. doi:10.1002/ptr.2141.

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