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Gaeilge: Neantg
English: Stinging Nettle
Latin: Urtica dioica
In recent times, Stinging nettle has become considered by many to be a bothersome pest, but the
nettle has been used since ancient times as a source of food, fiber, and medicinal preparations. In
Denmark, burial shrouds made of nettle fabrics have been discovered that date back to the Bronze
Age (3000-2000 BC). Europeans and Native Americans used the fibers from stinging nettle to make
sailcloth, sacking, cordage, and fishing nets. These fibers have also been used to produce cloth
similar in feel and appearance to silky linen. During World War I, the German Empire, plagued by
textile shortages, used nettles as a substitute for cotton. Captured German uniforms were found to
be 85% nettle fiber.
Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.) and his followers reported 61 remedies using nettle. In the second
century A.D., Galen, the Greek physician, recommended nettle in his book De Simplicibus as a
diuretic and laxative, for dog bites, gangrenous wounds, swellings, nose bleeding, excessive
menstruation, spleen-related illness, pleurisy, pneumonia, asthma, tinea, and mouth sores.
Throughout the Dark Ages (fifth to tenth centuries) uses of nettle were expanded to include
treatment of shingles, constipation, and dry disease, which probably meant problems with the
sinuses or lungs, mucous membranes, and skin.
Stinging nettle has always been recognized for its tonic and nutritional value. It is rich in vitamins
and minerals and has traditionally been used primarily in the spring time to stimulate slow winter
blood. Its reputation for restorative powers for the sick has been particularly appreciated in poor
and rural areas, especially since it is freely available from the fields and ditches. There are reports
of the Romans eating nettles as food and using it in the boiling of meat to tenderize it. It is used as
a pot plant, in a soup, and as a tea. Nettle is a traditional remedy for scurvy, anaemia, and lack of
energy. This is due to its high level of iron, vitamin C, magnesium, and other nutrients. By weight,
it is the vegetable with the highest percentage of protein with approx. 25% of the plant being such.
Stinging nettle is an astringent, diuretic, tonic, anodyne, pectoral, rubefacient, styptic, anthelmintic,
nutritive, alterative, hemetic, anti-rheumatic, anti-allergenic, anti-lithic/lithotriptic, haemostatic,
stimulant, decongestant, herpatic, febrifuge, kidney depurative/nephritic, galactagogue,
hypoglycemic, expectorant, anti-spasmodic, and anti-histamine.
It is a slow-acting nutritive herb that gently cleanses the body of metabolic wastes. It is one of the
safest alteratives, especially in the treatment of chronic disorders that require long-term treatment.
It has a gentle, stimulating effect on the lymphatic system, enhancing the excretion of wastes
through the kidneys.
Nettles iron content makes it a wonderful blood builder, and the presence of vitamin C aids in the
iron absorption. As a hemetic (an herb rich in iron), this is an excellent herb for anaemia and
fatigue, especially in women. It promotes the process of protein transanimation in the liver,
effectively utilizing digested proteins, while simultaneously preventing them from being discharged
through the body as waste products.

As a diuretic, stinging nettle increases the secretion and flow of urine. This makes it invaluable in
cases of fluid retention and bladder infections. It is also anti-lithic and nephridic, breaking down
stones in the kidneys and gravel in the bladder.
As a styptic (an arrestor of local bleeding), stinging nettle is an effective remedy for nose bleeds. It
can be applied locally or sniffed. The astringency of stinging nettle proves its usefulness in
hemorrhoids, diarrhea, and bleeding in the urinary organs. It also treats mouth and throat
infections. Nettle leaf is useful to correct symptoms of gastrointestinal excess, such as gas, nausea,
and mucus colitis. It is also used as an anodyne to relieve the pain of burns and scalds.
A decoction of nettle is valuable in diarrhea and dysentery, with profuse discharges, and in
hemorrhoids, various hemorrhages, and scorbutic affections. It has been recommended in febrile
affections, gravel, and other nephritic complaints. The fresh leaves were found to show antitumoural activity in animal studies and strong anti-mutagenic activity. Nettle leaves are high in
antioxidants with vitamin activities and have high potassium to sodium ratio. All this indicates it as
an excellent natural source for protection against neoplastic diseases (tumors), cardiovascular
disorders, and immune deficiency.
The stimulating effect of stinging nettle is used as a rinse for the hair. This can and will regenerate
hair growth and restore original hair color. It is used by the personal hair care industry in antidandruff products and scalp conditioners. This is mainly attributed to its high nutrient content. In
addition, Russian studies show that nettle tea has anti-bacterial activity. Mouthwashes and
toothpastes containing nettle can reduce plaque and gingivitis. Many oral health care products in
health food stores contain nettle.
The following is a concise reference of the ailments Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) has been proven
to treat:
CONGESTION - Coughs, Tuberculosis, Bronchitis, Lung congestion, Laryngitis, Consumption.
JOINTS/MUSCLES - Arthritis, Rheumatism, Gout, Bursitis, Tendonitis, Musclular weakness,
ALLERGIES - Hay Fever, Seasonal allergies, Asthma, Hives.
NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS Sciatica, Neuralgia, Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
EXCRETORY SYSTEM COMPLAINTS Stones, Gravel from bladder, Kidney stones, Urinary
tract infection.
INTERNAL BLEEDING - Excessive menstruation, Hemorrhoids, Ulcers, Bleeding piles,
SKIN COMPLAINTS - Eczema, Acne, Insect bites, Chicken pox.
MISCELLANEOUS Enlarged Prostate, Pelvic congestion, Goiter/Scrofula, Debility, Blood
impurity or weakness, Parasites, Metabolic disorders, Fever/Cold, High blood sugar, Low blood
pressure, Gingivitis, Scurvy, Celiac disease.