Stinging Nettle is considered a weed by many but is a useful healing herb. It is primarily used for treating itches, stings, insect bites, burns and hives. Nettle contains histamine which is what actually causes the itching you get from poison ivy or poison oak but, when put on an area that is already irritated, it reduces the irritation. It is also used for arthritis, gout and other joint problems. It also can help scalp problems and dandruff. It is used to treat thin blood and circulation problems. A piece of cloth or cotton dabbed in nettle juice and inserted in the nose can stop nose bleeds. Nettle tea is used to break up congestion from colds and flu.
Internally, it is used to treat urinary tract infections, kidney stones and enlarged prostate. Studies in Europe have shown it to be effective for enlarged prostate when used in combination with Saw Palmetto. It is also used for hemorrhoids and allergies.
Native American women used a tonic made from nettles during pregnancy to prevent Hemmoraging during childbirth. Herbologists consider it an excellent all around tonics for women.
Some non-medical uses:
- Nettle can repel biting flies
- Protect bee hives
- flavor beer and omelets
- Is a great companion plant for vegetables such as tomatoes and broccoli
Legends and Folklore:
- Paralysis of the arms and legs was sometimes treated by beating the limbs with nettle branches
- In Hans Christian Anderson’s tale of the Princess and Eleven Swans, the princess weaves coats of nettle for the swans
- A Cree legend says Nettle was once golden but, because it didn’t get proper respect for it’s healing properties, it turned green and grew stinging hairs.
- It is claimed that you will always find nettle in a area where old farm equipment has been abandoned and rusted because nettle likes iron rich soil.