Platelets are the cells of the blood that make clotting possible and prevent hemorrhage. Platelet over activity increases thrombosis or clogging of arteries and plays a part in the development of atherosclerosis.
Rat platelets were studied in the laboratory by chemically inducing aggregation or clumping of platelets. Various concentrations of nettles (Urtica dioica) were applied to see how this would alter the aggregation of the platelets. Nettles extracts were successful in reducing platelet clumping.
The flavonoids of nettles seem to cause the platelet inhibition. Platelet over activity is seen in atherosclerosis, hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Platelet over activity is partly the cause of myocardial infarction, stroke, angina and peripheral artery disease.
CONCLUSION: The authors state that “these results support the traditional use of Urtica dioica (nettles) in the treatment and/or prevention of cardiovascular disease.” Further testing is needed to see what are the specific molecules that are involved and the mechanism of the platelet inhibition.
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