The Light Side Of Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle Urtica dioica
Image by brewbooks via Flickr

Stinging Nettle (Common Nettle) grows from one meter to two meters tall during the summertime and dies off when the winter comes. It’s rhizomes spread out wide. The roots and stolons are both bright yellow in color. The leaves are spade shaped and range from 3 to 15 centimenters in length. Both the leaves and stems are covered with dense hair.

Most of the hair does not sting but some of them might have hairs that inject several chemicals into whoever touches them. This burning sensation can last for anywhere from a minute or two to a week. Stinging nettle can be found in Europe, Asia, North America and Africa.

Nettle is believed to cause lactation and tests have confirmed that it’s juice helps people suffering with congestive heart failure by acting as a diuretic. Extracts from the nettle plant are commonly used to treat ailments such as kidney problems, pain, arthritis and hay fever.

Rubbing the needles across the skin is used to provide temporary relief from rheumatism. The goal here is to provoke inflammation and cause redness. This was started a long time ago and used as a folk remedy.

The German’s have used the leaf of the nettle plant, for a long time, to treat arthritis. The two active chemicals that help to provide relief from arthritis are TNF-alpha (Tumor necrosis factor-alpha) and certain cytokines.

You can find nettle in many natural dandruff control shampoos. Not only does it help with dandruff but it also helps to make hair more glossy.

Bodybuilders often use nettle as a supplement to help gain muscle mass. The nettle contains a chemical that increases free testosterone.

Newly picked nettle is often used to stop many types of bleeding. As long as it is fresh it will help to clot the blood, but when it dries out it will no longer work because the vitamin K dies off. Dried nettle is used as a blood thinner.

The nettle plant has a wonderful flavor when consumed as food. It tastes a lot like spinach. Stinging nettle is very good for you because it is high in vitamins A, C, D, calcium, potassium, manganese and iron. The baby shoots are made into a terrific soup in both Sweden and Denmark.

When the nettle plant is dried out or thoroughly cooked the toxicity is removed. It is better to eat the nettle plant while it is early in it’s growth phase because after it starts to flower it develops “cystoliths”, which are gritty and an irritant to the urinary tract.

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