nettleCommon Names: Common Nettle, Stinging Nettle

Scientific Name: Urtica diocia, Urticaceae

Identification

This is an herbaceous perennial plant that flowers. It is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa along with North American. Some species have needles along their stems, which inject histamine into a predator. It has broad dark green leaves with saw like teeth, and with small yellow flowers.

General Information

This plant can grow three to seven feet in height at its peak in the summer time. The leaves and stems are hairy (non-stinging), but can transform into a needle when stimulated.

Parts Used: All parts are used

Uses: Medicinal, culinary

Storage: Store in a cool dry place, the plants thrive with high levels of nitrogen (waste product).

Medicinal Uses

This herb has a long history of treating arthritis, as well as kidney, urinary, GI, neuro, cardio-vascular system disorders. Extracts from this plant may also help with glycemic control in diabetic patients. It can be made into a tea, oil, or extract, and is used as a dried herb in many recipes.

Safety

Be aware of the species you are dealing with. If you get pricked with the stinging nettle, be sure to apply anti-itch drugs and use anti-histamines to stop the spread of the toxin in your skin.

Books: “101 Uses for Stinging Nettles” by Piers Warren