Did you think that the stinging nettle was just a pesky plant that causes an irritating sting and normally try to avoid it? Well the stinging nettle actually has many uses, it can be eaten, used as a medicine and can be used to make cloth!
Where to find Stinging Nettles
Stinging nettles can be found around most woodland, urban verges, grassland and any waste land. They can normally be spotted whilst walking through parks, gardens and fields.
The stinging nettle’s name is actually the Urtica Dioica and is the best-known member of the nettle genus Urtica. The plant is native to Europe, Asia, Northern Africa and North America. When contact is made with a nettle, the stinging hairs act as needles injecting histamine and other chemicals which produce the stinging sensation.
Nettles have serrated spear shaped leaves, greenish yellow flowers, and stinging hairs on leaf stalks and steams.
What most don’t know is that you can actually eat parts of the stinging nettle! If you cook young leaves for 6 minutes you can add them to dishes like soups and stews. The leaves make a rich vitamin A&C adding health benefits to your dish.
Nettles used as a medicine
If you suffer with hay fever have you ever tried treating your symptoms the leaves from a stinging nettle? An antihistamine tea can be made from the leaves of the plant and has been known to help treat the symptoms of hay fever! So if you have tried every trick in the book and can’t seem to calm your symptoms down, give this a try and let us know how you get on!
A leaf tea can also be used to treat dandruff.
Other Uses of the Nettle
Stinging nettles can also be used to make cloth. Did you know that cloth made from the stem fibres of the nettle was used to make cordage and WW1 Uniforms! Hence why they were so itchy!
Green dye can also be formed from the leaves of the nettle, and yellow dye can be produced from the roots.
Just be careful when picking the stinging nettle, as we all know they can sting!