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10 Interesting Facts About Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)

Updated on January 25, 2011
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica)
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) | Source
flowers of stinging nettle have genders
flowers of stinging nettle have genders | Source
Stinging Nettle Pesto
Stinging Nettle Pesto | Source
Fresh leaves of stinging nettle are good for soups, pies, salads
Fresh leaves of stinging nettle are good for soups, pies, salads | Source
Powder, made of dried leaves of stinging nettle - for soups, bakery, stews
Powder, made of dried leaves of stinging nettle - for soups, bakery, stews | Source
Cubes of frozen leaves of stinging nettle - for soups
Cubes of frozen leaves of stinging nettle - for soups | Source

1. Leaves and steams of the nettles has small fragile hair, which actually are the capsules, full of several liquid chemicals, including formic acid. While touching the leaf, a hair, sharp like a needle, gets into your skin, then breaks down, and liquid gets injected into your skin. Ouch! The sting of a Nettle may be cured by rubbing the part with Rosemary, Mint or Sage leaves.

2. Nettle stems contain a fibre, which may be (and was!) used for making ropes, sails and fine linen cloth, suitable even for shirts and beddings. The first known nettle textile find in Europe is from the Bronze Age and there is evidence of nettle cloth production in Scandinavia, Poland, Germany, Russia. That’s why sometimes nettle is called „poor relative of Flax“. In some of these countries nettle fibre was used for textiles up to 17th or even 19th century, but finally was replaced by cotton. Recently there is again the interest to fibre of nettle, as it grows very easily and the textile has good characteristics. It doesn‘t sting!

3. If you went fishing on hot summer day, how could you preserve the fish you got? I have to say - in Eastern Europe people fish for food, not for taking pictures! So, how to preserve the fish up to bringing it home fresh? To wrap into stinging nettles! – it would not let bacteria to multiply neither to start fish to smell bad.

4. For ages until now nettles are used in medicine. I am not a doctor to describe what to heal with nettles, how and when to use them, but I know, nettles are not only for herbal teas – the stinging itself may be a cure against some rheumatic pains.

5. Modest nettle flowers have genders! The male or barren flowers have stamens only, and the female or fertile flowers have only pistil or seed-producing organs . A plant will bear either male or female flowers throughout, that‘s why the specific name of the plant, dioica, which means 'two houses.'

6. Leaves of the nettle may be used for producing beautiful and permanent green dye for woollen stuffs and even for food, while roots boiled with alum, produce a yellow colour.

7. In Dorset (UK) each year Annual stinging Nettle Eating Contest takes place. Held as part of a charity beer festival at the Bottle Inn in the village of Marshwood near Crewkerne, the event attracts participants from around the world.

Contestants are given two foot long stalks of stinging nettles and have one hour to eat as many leaves as possible. The winner is the person with the longest length of empty stalk. Only nettles provided by the organisers can be eaten, competitors are not allowed to bring their own, no mouth numbing substances are permitted - although a swig of beer in between mouthfuls is always encouraged.

8. Nettle acts as a hair tonic and growth stimulant, restoring colour, and beauty to hair. It improves the health of skin, scalp, and hair; strengthens weakened hair follicles; and removes dandruff. It is composed into some shampoos, but also simple nettle tea can be used as a skin toner and hair rinse.

9. In many nations exists the belief, that stinging nettles have magic powers. People would put some nettles leaves into pockets to be safe from lighting, or some dry leaves into shoes – that evil power would not be able to lead them to vicious places. Some nettles would put under the door, preventing evil to enter or would make brooms of nettles – to sweep evils from the rooms.

The belief is, that most powerful are adult, but not old nettles, gathered at the night of young moon, better in Tuesday. And please don‘t take the whole plant with roots – if the plant loose relation with the land , it loose part of their powers as well.

10. And finally nettles are really good for food. I must admit, I haven‘t made myself any fibre of nettles, neither I ever put my bare body into the bush of nettles to cure rheumatic pain, nor I have any magic leaves in my pockets. But for many years I put fresh spring leaves of nettles into soups I cook, in salads, pies... I mix it with butter, cheese. I make gorgeous pesto of nettles. For winter I prepare frozen fresh leaves and powder of dried nettles and enrich winter meals with vitamins and minerals.

Stinging nettle rules!

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    • profile image

      Balakay 

      4 years ago

      Good job, 20 out of 10, 5 thumbs up, 15 stars.

      Also, I believe that it is actually better on a Wednesday.

    • profile image

      alex 

      4 years ago

      intressting

    • profile image

      sweta 

      7 years ago

      Like the way you present.knew different variety from a single nittle.thank you it will help me in my micro teaching session.If you have further information in it pz send in my email.Thank you!!!!!

    • profile image

      olivia 

      7 years ago

      this is one cool website

    • baygirl33 profile image

      victoria 

      8 years ago from Hamilton On.

      Dalia ,I love this useful hub!I have used it in green juice and have cooked it.I would not eat it raw but I know having arthitis that it is good for that ,although annoying with its terrible creepy itch and sting. I have one growing in a pot on my driveway for my own use but have told my neighbour that it hurts. voted you up.

    • Dallia profile imageAUTHOR

      Dallia 

      8 years ago

      Yes, they have certain charm, though not everyone would agree with us on that.

      Fence around the house, he he, would keep house safe from barefooted strangers, but your neighbours would not think good about you.

    • moncrieff profile image

      moncrieff 

      8 years ago from New York, NY

      Stinging nettle is my favorite plant. Oddly I have never seen it in America. But I saw plenty of it in Eastern Europe. I love their ominous looks and their stinging power. Bushes of nettle are the best fence around the house :)

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