Search JIM Advanced Search

Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2009, Vol. 7 ›› Issue (5): 428-433.doi: 10.3736/jcim20090506

• Original Experimental Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of Urtica dioica extract on lipid profile in hypercholesterolemic rats

Marjan Nassirl-Asla,Farzaneh Zamansoltianib,Esmail Abbasla,Mohammad-Mehdi Daneshic,Amir-Abdollah Zangivanda   

  1. a Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Qazvin University of Medical Sciences, Qazvin 341197-5981, Iran
    b Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Qazvin University of Medical Sciences, Qazvin 341197-5981, Iran
    c Department of Laboratory Sciences, Qods Hospital, Qazvin University of Medical Sciences, Qazvin 341197-5981, Iran
  • Received:2008-10-30 Accepted:2009-03-03 Online:2009-05-20 Published:2009-05-15


To investigate the effects of extract of Urtica dioica, a perennial herb in Iran, on lipid profile in hypercholesterolemic rats.

The effects of Urtica dioica extract were tested by using it as a supplement in a high-cholesterol diet. Male rats were fed a high cholesterol diet (10 mL/kg) for 4 weeks with Urtica dioica extract (100 or 300 mg/kg) or 10 mg/kg lovastatin supplementation to study the hypocholesterolemic effects of Urtica dioica on plasma lipid levels, hepatic enzymes activities, and liver histopathological changes.

Urtica dioica extract at 100 and 300 mg/kg significantly reduced the levels of total cholesterol (TC), and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) and also markedly decreased liver enzymes and weight in animals with a high cholesterol diet. Hematoxylin and eosin staining showed that in the 100 mg/kg extract of Urtica dioica group, the appearance of the liver cells was similar to the control group, and steatosis and inflammation were not found. In the 300 mg/kg extract of Urtica dioica group, mild steatosis was observed but mononuclear inflammatory infiltration was not found.

The hepatic histopathological results reflect the correlation of Urtica dioica extract with both liver weight and the levels of plasma TC and LDL-C. These results indicate that Urtica dioica extract has hypocholesterolemic effects in the animal model.

Key words: Alcoholic extract, Urtica dioica, Hypercholesterolemia, Rats


Control 10 3.70±0.10 1.96±0.10 2.05±0.20 1.30±0.10
Untreated 10 9.65±0.10** 3.26±0.10** 2.60±0.50 1.25±0.05
Lovastatin (10 mg/kg) 10 8.26±0.05** 2.94±0.07** 2.30±0.30 1.03±0.04
Extract of Urtica dioica (100 mg/kg) 10 7.48±0.50**△△ 2.58±0.06**△△ 2.21±0.05 1.10±0.10
Extract of Urtica dioica (300 mg/kg) 10 8.52±0.02** 2.84±0.01**△△ 2.60±0.05 1.20±0.10


Group n AST (U/L) ALT (U/L) LW/BW ratio
Control 10 95±30 94±6 0.040 3±0.000 8
Untreated 10 248±39** 173±30** 0.061 4±0.004 0**
Lovastatin (10 mg/kg) 10 59±10 90±7 0.060 4±0.003 5**
Extract of Urtica dioica (100 mg/kg) 10 12±10 86±19 0.057 3±0.001 5
Extract of Urtica dioica (300 mg/kg) 10 74±9 102±4 0.056 2±0.002 4

Figure 1

HE stained section of the rat liver (Light microscopy, ×100) A: Control group; B: Untreated group; C: Lovastatin (10 mg/kg) group; D: Extract of Urtica dioica (100 mg/kg) group; E: Extract of Urtica dioica (300 mg/kg) group."

[1] Loscalzo J, Libby P, Braunwald E . Disorder of cardiovascular disorders. In: Fauci AS, Braunwald E, Kasper DL, Hauser SL, Longo DL, Jameson JL, Loscalzo J. Harrison’s principles of internal medicine. 17th ed. New York: Mc Graw Hill Companies Inc. 2008: 1375, 1378, 1505.
[2] Byington RP, Jukema JW, Salonen JT, Pitt B, Bruschke AV, Hoen H, Furberg CD, Mancini GB . Reduction in cardiovascular events during pravastatin therapy. Pooled analysis of clinical events of the Pravastatin Atherosclerosis Intervention Program[J]. Circulation, 1995,92(9):2419-2425
doi: 10.1161/01.CIR.92.9.2419
[3] Delsing DJ, Offerman EH, van Duyvenvoorde W, van Der Boom H, de Wit EC, Gijbels MJ, van Der Laarse A, Jukema JW, Havekes LM, Princen HM .Acyl-CoA: cholesterol acyltransferase inhibitor avasimibe reduces atherosclerosis in addition to its cholesterol-lowering effect in ApoE*3-Leiden mice[J]. Circulation, 2001,103(13):1778-1786
doi: 10.1161/01.CIR.103.13.1778
[4] Nofer JR, Kehrel B, Fobker M, Levkau B , Assmann G, von Eckardstein A.HDL and arteriosclerosis: beyond reverse cholesterol transport[J]. Atherosclerosis, 2002,16(1):1-16
[5] Bok SH, Lee SH, Park YB, Bae KH, Son KH, Jeong TS, Choi MS . Plasma and hepatic cholesterol and hepatic activities of 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase and acyl CoA: cholesterol transferase are lower in rats fed citrus peel extract or a mixture of citrus bioflavonoids[J]. J Nutr, 1999,129(6):1182-1185
doi: 10.1093/jn/129.6.1182
[6] Havsteen BH . The biochemistry and medical significance of the flavonoids[J]. Pharmacol Ther, 2002,96(2-3):67-202
doi: 10.1016/S0163-7258(02)00298-X
[7] Heber D . PDR for herbal medicines(3rd ed)[M]. Montvale: Thomson Health Care, Inc, 2004,( 3rd ed):794
[8] Gulcin I, Kufrevioglu OI, Oktay M, Buyukokuroglu ME . Antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiulcer and analgesic activities of nettle(Urtica dioica L.)[J]. J Ethnopharmacol, 2004,90(2-3):205-215
doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2003.09.028
[9] Turkdogan MK, Ozbek H, Yener Z, Tuncer I, Uygan I, Ceylan E .The role of Urtica dioica and Nigella sativa in the prevention of carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatotoxicity in rats[J]. Phytother Res, 2003,17(8):942-946
doi: 10.1002/(ISSN)1099-1573
[10] Kanter M, Coskun O, Budancamanak M . Hepatoprotective effects of Nigella sativa L and Urtica dioica L on lipid peroxidation, antioxidant enzyme systems and liver enzymes in carbon tetrachloride-treated rats[J]. World J Gastroenterol, 2005,11(42):6684-6688
doi: 10.3748/wjg.v11.i42.6684
[11] El Haouari M, Bnouham M, Bendahou M, Aziz M, Ziyyat A, Legssyer A, Mekhif H . Inhibition of rat platelet aggregation by Urtica dioica leaves extracts[J]. Phytother Res, 2006,20(7):568-572
doi: 10.1002/(ISSN)1099-1573
[12] Testai L, Chericoni S, Calderone V, Nencioni G, Nieri P, Morelli I, Martinotti E . Cardiovascular effects of Urtica dioica L.(Urticaceae) roots extracts: in vitro and in vivo pharmacological studies[J]. J Ethnopharmacol, 2002,81(1):105-109
doi: 10.1016/S0378-8741(02)00055-7
[13] Mavi A, Terzi Z, Ozgen U, Yildirim A, Coskun M . Antioxidant properties of some medicinal plants: Prangos ferulacea(Apiaceae), Sedum sempervivoides(Crassulaceae), Malva neglecta(Malvaceae), Cruciata taurica(Rubiaceae), Rosa pimpinellifolia(Rosaceae), Galium verum subsp. verum(Rubiaceae)[J]. Biol Pharm Bull, 2004,27(5):702-705
doi: 10.1248/bpb.27.702
[14] Vogel HG, Vogel WH . Drug discovery and evaluation, pharmacological assay(2nd ed)[M]. Berlin: Springer, 1997,( 2nd ed):1096
[15] Jeon SM, Park YB, Choi MS . Antihypercholesterole-mic property of naringin alters plasma and tissue lipids, cholesterol-regulating enzymes, fecal sterol and tissue morphology in rabbits[J]. Clin Nutr, 2004,23(5):1025-1034
doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2004.01.006
[16] Moghadasian MH . Experimental atherosclerosis: a historical overview[J]. Life Sci, 2002,70(8):855-865
doi: 10.1016/S0024-3205(01)01479-5
[17] Burstein PJ, Draznin B, Johnson CJ, Schalch DS . The effect of hypothyroidism on growth, serum growth hormone, the growth hormone-dependent somatomedin, insulin-like growth factor, and its carrier protein in rats[J]. Endocrinology, 1979,104(4):1107-1111
doi: 10.1210/endo-104-4-1107
[18] Avci G, Kupeli E, Eryavuz A, Yesilada E, Kucukkurt I . Antihypercholesterolaemic and antioxidant activity assessment of some plants used as remedy in Turkish folk medicine[J]. J Ethnopharmacol, 2006,107(3):418-423
doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2006.03.032
[19] Daher CF, Baroody KG, Baroody GM . Effect of Urtica dioica extract intake upon blood lipid profile in the rats[J]. Fitoterapia, 2006,77(3):183-188
doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2006.01.010
[20] Choe SC, Kim HS, Jeong TS, Bok SH, Park YB . Naringin has an antiatherogenic effect with the inhibition of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 in hypercholesterolemic rabbits[J]. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol, 2001,38(6):947-955
doi: 10.1097/00005344-200112000-00017
[21] Al Kanhal MA, Ahmad F, Al Othman AA, Arif Z, Al Orf S, Al Murshed KS . Effects of pure and oxidized cholesterol-rich diet on some biochemical parameters in rats[J]. Int J Food Sci Nutr, 2002,53(5):381-388
doi: 10.1080/0963748021000044723
[22] Meguro S, Higashi K, Hase T, Honda Y, Otsuka A, Tokimitsu I, Itakura H . Solubilization of phytosterols in diacylglycerol versus triacylglycerol improves the serum cholesterol-lowering effect[J]. Eur J Clin Nut, 2001,55(7):513-517
doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601173
[23] Obertreis B, Giller K, Teucher T, Behnke B, Schmitz H . Anti-inflammatory effect of Urtica dioica folia extract in comparison to caffeic malic acid[J]. Arznemittelforschung, 1996,46(1):52-56
[24] Khalili M, Sahraee H, Hassanpour Ezati M . Anti-inflammatory effects of alcoholic Stinging Nettle extract in male NMRI rats[J]. J Med Herb, 2007,6(22):46-53
[25] Farmer JA . Aggressive lipid therapy in the statin era[J]. Prog Cardiovas Dis, 1998,41(2):71-94
doi: 10.1016/S0033-0620(98)80006-6
[26] Iseri S, Ercan F, Gedik N, Yuksel M, Alican I . Sim-vastatin attenuates cisplatin-induced kidney and liver damage in rats[J]. Toxicology, 2007,230(2-3):256-264
doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2006.11.073
[1] Bing-rong Li, Shi-yun Shao, Long Yuan, Ru Jia, Jian Sun, Qing Ji, Hua Sui, Li-hong Zhou, Yi Zhang, Hui Liu, Qi Li, Yan Wang, Bi-meng Zhang. Effects of mild moxibustion on intestinal microbiome and NLRP3 inflammasome in rats with 5-fluorouracil-induced intestinal mucositis. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2021, 19(2): 144-157.
[2] Sitthichai Iamsaard, Supatcharee Arun, Jaturon Burawat, Supataechasit Yannasithinon, Saranya Tongpan, Sudtida Bunsueb, Natthapol Lapyuneyong, Pannawat Choowong-in, Nareelak Tangsrisakda, Chadaporn Chaimontri, Wannisa Sukhorum. Evaluation of antioxidant capacity and reproductive toxicity of aqueous extract of Thai Mucuna pruriens seeds. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2020, 18(3): 265-273.
[3] Morufu Eyitayo Balogun, Elizabeth Enohnyaket Besong, Jacinta Nkechi Obimma, Ogochukwu Sophia Mbamalu, Fankou Serges Athanase Djobissie. Protective roles of Vigna subterranea (Bambara nut) in rats with aspirin-induced gastric mucosal injury. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2018, 16(5): 342-349.
[4] Lucky Legbosi Nwidu, Raphael Ellis Teme. Hot aqueous leaf extract of Lasianthera africana (Icacinaceae) attenuates rifampicin-isoniazid-induced hepatotoxicity. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2018, 16(4): 263-272.
[5] Keshav Raj Paudel, Ung-Won Lee, Dong-Wook Kim. Chungtaejeon, a Korean fermented tea, prevents the risk of atherosclerosis in rats fed a high-fat atherogenic diet. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2016, 14(2): 134-142.
[6] Kylie Connolly, Douglas Jackson, Candice Pullen, Andrew Fenning. Alpha-adrenoceptor antagonism by Crassostrea gigas oyster extract inhibits noradrenaline-induced vascular contraction in Wistar rats. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2015, 13(3): 194-200.
[7] Udhaya Lavinya Baskaran, Sherry Joseph Martin, Rasool Mahaboobkhan, Sabina Evan Prince. Protective role of Triphala, an Indian traditional herbal formulation, against the nephrotoxic effects of bromobenzene in Wistar albino rats. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2015, 13(2): 115-121.
[8] Hussein O. B. Oloyede, Matthew C. Adaja, Taofeek O. Ajiboye, Musa O. Salawu. Anti-ulcerogenic activity of aqueous extract of Carica papaya seed on indomethacin-induced peptic ulcer in male albino rats. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2015, 13(2): 105-114.
[9] Anirudha A. Lande, Shirishkumar D. Ambavade, Uma S. Swami, Prafulla P. Adkara Prashant D. Ambavade, Arun B. Waghamare. Saponins isolated from roots of Chlorophytum borivilianum reduce acute and chronic inflammation and histone deacetylase. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2015, 13(1): 25-33.
[10] Elizabeth Abidemi Balogun, Sylvia Orume Malomo, Joseph Oluwatope Adebayo, Ahmed Adebayo Ishola, Ayodele Olufemi Soladoye, Lawrence Aderemi Olatunji, Olatunji Matthew Kolawole, Stephen Olubunmi Oguntoye, Abiola Samuel Babatunde, Oluwole Busayo Akinola . In vivo antimalarial activity and toxicological effects of methanolic extract of Cocos nucifera (Dwarf red variety) husk fibre. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2014, 12(6): 504-511.
[11] Urmila Aswar, Mayuri Gurav, Ganesh More, Khaled Rashed, Manoj Aswar. Effect of aqueous extract of Solanum xanthocarpum Schrad. & Wendl. on postmenopausal syndrome in ovariectomized rats. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2014, 12(5): 439-446.
[12] Xin-fang Zhang, Ji Zhu, Wen-ye Geng, Shu-jun Zhao, Chuan-wei Jiang, Sheng-rong Cai, Miao Cheng, Chuan-yun Zhou, Zi-bing Liu. Electroacupuncture at Feishu (BL13) and Zusanli (ST36) down-regulates the expression of orexins and their receptors in rats with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2014, 12(5): 417-424.
[13] Benjamin Perry, Junzeng Zhang, Tarek Saleh, Yanwen Wang. Liuwei Dihuang, a traditional Chinese herbal formula, suppresses chronic inflammation and oxidative stress in obese rats. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2014, 12(5): 447-454.
[14] Upendarrao Golla, Praveen Kumar Gajam, Solomon Sunder Bhimathati. Evaluation of diuretic and laxative activity of hydro-alcoholic extract of Desmostachya bipinnata (L.) Stapf in rats. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2014, 12(4): 372-378.
[15] Qian Zhang, Xin-hua Xiao, Ming Li, Wen-hui Li, Miao Yu, Hua-bing Zhang, Fan Ping, Zhi-xin Wang, Jia Zheng ​. Chromium-containing traditional Chinese medicine, Tianmai Xiaoke Tablet improves blood glucose through activating insulin-signaling pathway and inhibiting PTP1B and PCK2 in diabetic rats. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2014, 12(3): 162-170.
Full text



[1] Wei-xiong Liang. Problems-solving strategies in clinical treatment guideline for traditional Chinese medicine and integrative medicine. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 1-4
[2] Zhao-guo Li. Discussion on English translation of commonly used sentences in traditional Chinese medicine: part one. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 107-110
[3] Jun Hu, Jian-ping Liu. Non-invasive physical treatments for chronic/recurrent headache. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 31
[4] Xue-mei Liu, Qi-fu Huang, Yun-ling Zhang, Jin-li Lou, Hong-sheng Liu, Hong Zheng. Effects of Tribulus terrestris L. saponion on apoptosis of cortical neurons induced by hypoxia-reoxygenation in rats. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 45-50
[5] . Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals: Writing and editing for biomedical publication (Chinese version, part two). Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1001-1005
[6] Daniel Weber, Janelle M Wheat, Geoffrey M Currie. Inflammation and cancer: Tumor initiation, progression and metastasis,and Chinese botanical medicines. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1006-1013
[7] Hong Liu , Guo-liang Zhang, Li Shen , Zhen Zeng, Bao-luo Zhou, Cheng-hai Liu, Guang Nie . Application and evaluation of a pseudotyped virus assay for screening herbs for anti-H5Nl avian influenza virus. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1036-1040
[8] Zhao-guo Li . A discussion of English translation of 1995 and 1997 Chinese National Standards of Traditional Chinese Medical Terminologies for Clinical Diagnosis and Treatment. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1090-1096
[9] Rui Jin, Bing Zhang. A complexity analysis of Chinese herbal property theory: the multiple formations of herbal property (Part 1). Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2012, 10(11): 1198-1205
[10] Hui-min Liu, Xian-bo Wang, Yu-juan Chang, Li-li Gu. Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of integrative medicine therapy for treatment of chronic severe hepatitis. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2012, 10(11): 1211-1228