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ISSN: 2347-3215 Volume 2 Number 7 (July-2014) pp. 153-160
Therapeutic effects of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) in women with
Hyperandrogenism

Farzad Najafipour, Alireza Ostad Rahimi, Majid Mobaseri, Naser Agamohamadzadeh,
Ali Nikoo*, and Akbar Aliasgharzadeh

Bone Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran *Corresponding author KEYWORDS
Nowadays, the use of alternative medicine and complementary medicine Hyperandrogenism, more attention is to treat a variety of diseases and the use of herbal medicines for the treatment of various disorders of the body is considered by investigators and physicians in most clinical areas. The aim of this study was to evaluate the therapeutic effects of Urtica Dioica in women with Hyperandrogenism. In a randomized controlled clinical trial that performed in Endocrinology and Metabolism clinics of Emam Reza Hospital of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences on patients with Hyperandrogenism, the therapeutic effects of Urtica Dioica in women with Hyperandrogenism evaluated. Mean total testosterone level before treatment in case group was 0.57 ± 0.22 and in after treatment was 0.37 ± 0.15. Mean free testosterone level before treatment in case group was 2.43 ± 2.19 and in after treatment was 1.56 ± 1.18. Mean DHEA level before treatment in case group was 150.48 ± 63.44 and in after treatment was 134.06 ± 56.96. Significant decrease was found in total testosterone level of case group at after treatment due to before treatment. Significant decrease was found in free testosterone level of case group at after treatment due to before treatment. Significant decrease was found in DHEA level of case group at after treatment due to before treatment. The improvement rate of acne in patients of control group was significantly higher than the case group (P<0.001). The improvement rate of menstrual status in patients of control group was significantly higher than the case group (P=0.044). The improvement rate of oily skin in patients of control group was significantly higher than the case group (P<0.001).
Today, use of herbs for treatment of diseases diclinous plant from the Urticaceae family. is increasing due to the wide range of side This plant is widely used in traditional and effects, drug resistance and high costs of modern medicines for treatment purposes. It chemical drugs (1). Nettle is an herbaceous naturally grows in hot and tropical regions of the world (1). This plant has been for so these hormones on membrane of the prostate long classified into the group of key plants in European pharmacopoeia. The family of this plant includes 60 genera and more than Safari Nezhad et al. (12) studied the effects 700 species. This plant is known as nettle in of nettle on 558 patients with BPH and Iran and is found in the North, Northwest stated that 81% of patients that had used and Central parts of Iran (2). Its root and nettle had experienced a considerable leaf, which contain active pharmacologic compounds influencing cytological and symptoms (LUTS). Moreover, only 16% of physiological processes in the body, are patients in the control group demonstrated used for medical purposes (3). This plant improvements and no significant difference had been used as a diuretic and as a means was observed between the levels of serum of treating Arthritis and rheumatic diseases testosterone and PSA in patients of the two in the past (4). groups. No side effect was also reported. Zhang et al. (13) analyzed the role of nettle in the benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) antioxidant (5), anti-inflammatory (5), anti- developed artificially by consumption of diabetic and anti-traumatic (6), antiviral (1), prescribed testosterone. They stated that low anti-cancer (7), antimicrobial and antifungal dosages of nettle lead to a 23% reduction in (8), and anti-androgenic effects of this plant. the dry weight index of prostate while high The chemical compounds found in nettle dosages lead to a 33% decrease in the value include acetylcholine, histamine, 5-hydroxy- of this index. So far, no research has been tryptamine, formic acid, and serotonin (9- conducted on the effects of nettle on women 10). In general, the distillate of the root of Hyperandrogenism and most studies have nettle contains water and compounds addressed the effects of nettle on BPH and dissolved in alcohol such as fatty acids, complications caused by prostate in humans (b-sitosterol, campesterol), and animals. Hence, this research was aimed flavonoids. In fact, nettle can be orally used at studying the effects of nettle on this as a diuretic and a blood glucose and uric disease. The objective of the present was, acid lowering food. It can also be used to therefore, to examine the effects of nettle locally treat some skin and hair diseases such as eczema, inflammatory diseases, and Hyperandrogenism. even hair loss (11). Materials and Methods
Among all of the effects addressed by different studies, this research focuses on the In a clinical trial carried out with a control effects of this plant on restraining the group and samples selected randomly from aromatase enzyme and the 5-alpha reductase the Hyperandrogenism female patients enzyme, which finally leads to a reduction in visiting the Endocrinology and Metabolism cellular metabolism and growth of prostate Clinic of Imam Reza Hospital, which is cells by affecting the active sodium- associated with the Tabriz Medical Sciences potassium pump. Nettle root restrains University, the therapeutic effects of nettle cellular proliferation in the BHI tissue. The lignans present in nettle root link to Hyperandrogenism were examined. In this globulins linked to sex hormones (SHBG) study, all of the 40 Hyperandrogenism and inhibit the connection and effect of female patients visiting the Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinic of Imam Reza Result and Discussion
Hospital were included in the research through random sampling. In this study, 40 patients suffering from Hyperandrogenism were treated by nettle A total of 40 Hyperandrogenism patients and routine treatment methods and the were randomly divided into two equal following results were obtained: groups. The first group received 300-600 mg of dried extract of nettle on a daily basis for The average age of patients in the three days while the second group received experimental group was 24.10 cyproterone compound and Spironolactone. and the average age of patients in the control The levels of total and free serum 5.91 years (P=0.395). testosterone and DHEA were determined prior to the intervention. Afterwards, the patients under study before and after the patients were exposed to 4 months of treatment are shown in Table 1. standard treatment (control group) and intervention with dried extract of nettle root Results presented in Table 1 suggest that no (experimental group). At the end of this significant difference was observed between period, the levels of total and free serum the study parameters of the two groups. testosterone and DHEA of patients were measured once again. demonstrated a significant decrease in total and free testosterone levels after the In addition, the clinical symptoms of treatment (P=0.002), but no significant Hyperandrogenism such as acne, state of change was observed in the post-treatment periodic cycles, and oily skin were average level of DHEA in the intervention examined before and after the treatments group (P=0.063). using questionnaires. Pregnant and lactating women as well as women with ovarian Patients in the control group demonstrated a tumors and adrenal tumors were excluded significant decrease in the total and free from the research. Moral considerations: All testosterone and DHEA levels after the of the measures were taken to diagnose, treat treatment (P=0.002). and follow up the disease and were carried out using ordinary methods. Hence, no Clinical information obtained from the additional expense was imposed on the patients before and after the treatment is patients. The treatment costs of patients presented in Table 2. There was no under treatment with nettle and placebo significant difference between the clinical were funded by the plan budget. Patients symptoms of patients in both groups before were assured that their participation was and after the treatment. Compared to the fully voluntary and secret and no patient experimental group, patients in the control information was going to be published. The group demonstrated a higher level of personal information of all participants improvement of acne (P<0.001), menstrual remained secret during the research. Written cycle conditions (P=0.044), and oily skin consent of the related parents was obtained (P<0.001) after the treatment. Testosterone levels distribution of patients of Case and Control group at before and after treatment was shown in Chart I and II. IRCT2013061013612N1 Table.1 Laboratory finding between two groups
Total Testosterone Before treatment Total Testosterone after treatment Free Testosterone Before treatment Free Testosterone after treatment DHEA Before treatment 162.07 ± 107.93 DHEA after treatment Table.2 Clinical information obtained from the patients before and after the treatment
Acne before treatment Menstrual cycle conditions before treatment Oily skin before treatment Acne After treatment Menstrual cycle conditions after treatment Oily skin after treatment Chart.I Testosterone levels distribution of patients of Case group at before and after treatment
Chart.II Testosterone levels distribution of patients of Control group at before and after treatment
to insulin as a result of changes made to the supplementary medicine are used more than two genes producing cytochrome P450. before for treatment of different kinds of folliculogenesis diseases and researchers and physicians hirsutism), alopecia, and menstrual cycle majoring in clinical field pay more attention disorder are seen in 38.4%, 70.3% and to the usefulness of herbs for treatment of 66.2% of patients, respectively. various physical disorders (14). So far, various treatment methods have been Moreover, due to the public interest in proposed for Hyperandrogenism and PCOS. Some of the most common treatment properties of herbs such as nettle are methods include weight reduction, inhibition considered more than before. According to of androgens of ovaries using progesterone, the report published by the World Health oral contraceptive pills (OCP), GnRH Organization, 80% of world population use agonists, anti-androgens, ovulation stimuli, herbal treatment (15). and drugs used for treatment of diabetes (Metformin and Glitazones). Nettle (Urtica dioica) contains different chemicals such as caffeic malic acid, The response of patients differs depending polysaccharides, agglutinin, serotonin, and K, C and B differences. In this study, in order to treat vitamins (16-17). Hyperandrogenism is patients with women Hyperandrogenism, the standard treatment method as well as disorders that develop in fertility ages. It is treatment with nettle was used. Comparison also one of the most common causes of of the results of these two methods indicated that no significant change was observed in Moreover, Hyperandrogenism accounts for the post-treatment levels of total testosterone 73% of outbreaks of hirsutism. in patients of the experimental group that received nettle (P=0.002). An increase in secretion of androgen is among the fixed symptoms of this In addition, a significant decrease was syndrome. It also causes a sort of resistance observed in the post-treatment level of free testosterone in patients of the experimental hormones (12). In a study by Schottner et al. group (P=0.044). However, no significant on the effects if nettle it was reported that difference was observed in the average level nettle has an anti-androgen effect as it of DHEA after the treatment of the blocks SHBG (20). In this study, nettle was intervention group (P=0.063). This finding used to treat women suffering from indicates that this compound is useful for the Hyperandrogenism. Results revealed that treatment of women Hyperandrogenism. this plant can affect sex hormones and androgens. Therefore, it can reduce the treatment administered for patients in the effects or levels of these hormones in the control group, it can be said that nettle was body and contribute to the control and less effective than the treatment standard. improvement of patients symptoms. In a study by Hryb et al., which was Conclusion
performed in St. Luke s/Roosevelt hospital (New York), the contribution of nettle to the A significant reduction was observed in the treatment of patients with BPH was studied. post-treatment levels of total and free These researchers stated that the use of testosterone in patients of the control and nettle for the treatment of BPH patients leads to a decrease in the effects of difference was seen in the post-treatment androgens on the body because nettle affects and pre-treatment average levels of DHEA SHBG receptors (18). Natural endocrine in the intervention group while a significant conditions are necessary for successful decrease was seen in the DHEA levels of breeding. None of the endocrine systems in patients in the control group. The post- vertebrates is more complex than the treatment level of improvement of acne, breeding system. menstrual cycle and oily skin conditions was significantly higher in the control group Although the genetic gender of a human is compared to the experimental group. defined by the chromosomal combination of the fertilized egg, the path through which Suggestions
gonadal are differentiated to create ovaries or testicles depends on the hormones According to the results and evidence on the secreted by the gonadal. Hence, gonadic sex acceptable contribution of nettle to the controls phenotypic sex. Even the growth of improvement of conditions of women with the brain for male and female types depends Hyperandrogenism, it is recommended to on gonadic steroid hormones (19). Schottner use nettle for these patients. et al. (1997) studied the links between some types of ligands of the extract of nettle root References
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