Stinging nettle

Botanical Name :Urtica dioica
Family: Urticaceae
Genus: Urtica
Species: U. dioica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names:Stinging nettle, common nettle, Urtica dioica or Nettle

Habitat :Urtica dioica is  native to Europe, Asia, northern Africa, and North America. They are abundant in northern Europe and much of Asia, usually found in the countryside. It is less widespread in southern Europe and north Africa, where it is restricted by its need for moist soil. In North America it is widely distributed in Canada and the United States, where it is found in every province and state except for Hawaii and also can be found in northernmost Mexico. It grows in abundance in the Pacific Northwest, especially in places where annual rainfall is high. In North America the stinging nettle is far less common than in northern Europe[citation needed]. The European subspecies has been introduced into North America as well as South America.

In Europe stinging nettles have a strong association with human habitation and buildings. The presence of nettles may indicate that a building has been long abandoned. Human and animal waste may be responsible for elevated levels of phosphate and nitrogen in the soil, providing an ideal environment for stinging nettles.

Description:
Stinging nettle is a dioecious herbaceous perennial, 1 to 2 m (3 to 7 ft) tall in the summer and dying down to the ground in winter. It has widely spreading rhizomes and stolons, which are bright yellow as are the roots. The soft green leaves are 3 to 15 cm (1 to 6 in) long and are borne oppositely on an erect wiry green stem. The leaves have a strongly serrated margin, a cordate base and an acuminate tip with a terminal leaf tooth longer than adjacent laterals. It bears small greenish or brownish numerous flowers in dense axillary inflorescences. The leaves and stems are very hairy with non-stinging hairs and also bear many stinging hairs (trichomes), whose tips come off when touched, transforming the hair into a needle that will inject several chemicals: acetylcholine, histamine, 5-HT (serotonin), moroidin, leukotrienes, and possibly formic acid. This mixture of chemical compounds cause a painful sting or paresthesia from which the species derives its common name, as well as the colloquial names burn nettle, burn weed, burn hazel.

click to see the pictures….>…...(1)..(2).…...(3).…...(4)..…...(5)..…..

Edible Uses:
Stinging nettle has a flavour similar to spinach and cucumber when cooked and is rich in vitamins A, C, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium. Young plants were harvested by Native Americans and used as a cooked plant in spring when other food plants were scarce.  Soaking nettles in water or cooking will remove the stinging chemicals from the plant, which allows them to be handled and eaten without incidence of stinging. After the stinging nettle enters its flowering and seed setting stages the leaves develop gritty particles called “cystoliths”, which can irritate the urinary tract.  In its peak season, stinging nettle contains up to 25% protein, dry weight, which is high for a leafy green vegetable.  The young leaves are edible and make a very good pot-herb. The leaves are also dried and may then be used to make a tisane, as can also be done with the nettle’s flowers.

click & see ..>The nettle can be used as a foodstuff, as the purée shown in the  image.

Nettles can be used in a variety of recipes, such as polenta, pesto and purée. Nettle soup is a common use of the plant, particularly in Northern and Eastern Europe. In Nepal and the Kumaon & Gargwal region of Northern India, stinging nettle is known as Sisnu, Kandeli and Bicchu-Booti ( in Hindi) respectively. It is also found in abundance in Kashmir. There it is called ‘Soi’. It is a very popular vegetable and cooked with Indian spices.

Nettles are sometimes used in cheese making, for example in the production of Yarg[20] and as a flavouring in varieties of Gouda.

Nettles are used in Albania as part of the dough filling for the byrek. Its name is byrek me hithra. The top baby leaves are selected and simmered, then mixed with other ingredients like herbs, rice, etc before being used as a filling between dough layers.

Competitive eating:
In the UK, an annual Stinging Nettle Eating Championship draws thousands of people to Dorset, where competitors attempt to eat as much of the raw plant as possible. Competitors are given 60 cm (20 in) stalks of the plant, from which they strip the leaves and eat them. Whoever strips and eats the most stinging nettle leaves in a fixed time is the winner. The competition dates back to 1986, when two neighbouring farmers attempted to settle a dispute about which had the worst infestation of nettles.[24][25]

Drinks:
Nettle leaves are steeped in a concentrated sugar solution so the flavour is extracted into the sugar solution. The leaves are then removed and a source of citric acid (usually lemon juice) is added to help preserve the cordial and add a tart flavour.

Commercially produced cordials are generally quite concentrated and are usually diluted by one part cordial to ten parts water – thus a 0.5 litres (0.11 imp gal; 0.13 US gal) bottle of cordial would be enough for 5.5 litres (1.2 imp gal; 1.5 US gal) diluted. The high concentration of sugar in nettle cordial gives it a long shelf life.

There are also many recipes for alcoholic nettle beer, which is a countryside favourite in the British Isles.

Medicinal Uses:
Allergies * Alopecia * Amenorrhea * Arthritis * Asthma * Bed Wetting/incontinence * Female Hormones * Fibromyalgia * Kidney * Libido * Longevity Tonics * Menorrhagia * Nutrition * Osteoporosis * PMS * Prostate * Rheumatoid_arthritis * Spring Tonics
Properties: * Analgesic * Anodyne * AntiCancer * Astringent * Depurative * Diuretic * Tonic
Parts Used: Leaves, stems, and to a lesser extent root
Constituents:  formic acid, mucilage, ammonia, carbonic acid, water

Stinging nettles are a potent herb with a long history of use. Nettle is one of natures best nutraceuticals, containing protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, beta-carotene, along with vitamins A,C, D, and B complex, all in a form that is easy for the body to use.

The stinging comes from the presence on the bristles of histamine that delivers a stinging burn when the hairs on the leaves and stems are touched. Stinging nettle contains natural antihistamines and anti-inflammatories (including quercetin), that open up constricted bronchial and nasal passages, helping to ease hay fever, and nose & sinus type allergy symptoms.1

Extracts of nettle roots(click & see) are reliable diuretics that encourage excretion of uric acid, but simultaneously discourage nighttime bathroom urges, making this remarkable plant useful for such disparate problems as gout, and the overnight incontinence of benign prostate enlargement and weak and irritated bladder. Frequent use of nettle leaf tea, a cup or more daily, rapidly relieves and helps prevent water retention. Nettle is a superb nourisher of the kidneys and adrenals.

Stinging nettle is an almost ideal herb for those with all types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. The anti-inflammatory substances combined with the rich concentration of the minerals boron, calcium and silicon ease the pain while helping to build strong bones. Drink stinging nettle in teas to reap the most benefits for osteoporosis and the bone loss that is often associated with arthritis. A cup of nettle herbal tea delivers as much calcium and boron, important herbs for bone health, as a whole cup of tincture would.3 While non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) is necessary evil for most with arthritis, using nettle may help you to decrease the amount you need to take. In a scientific study of patients with acute arthritis, stewed stinging nettle leaves enhanced the anti-inflammatory effects of common arthritis medications. One reason may be that nettles contain large amounts of magnesium which helps to moderate pain response.

Stinging Nettles use a tonic of the female system goes back to the Native American women who used it throughout pregnancy and as a remedy to stop hemorrhaging during childbirth. It is considered one of the best all round women’s tonics. Nettles are a good general tonic of the female reproductive system, excellent for young women just starting their monthly cycle, as well as women entering menopause. Stinging nettle helps to keep testosterone circulating freely and keep you feeling sexually vital, and has been shown effective in treatment of BPH in clincal trials when combined with saw palmetto  4 and for male pattern baldness when combines with saw palmetto and Pygeum 5 Stinging nettle also acts as a tonic to the female system making it a herb that couples can share

Other Uses:

Textiles:
Nettle stems contain a bast fibre that has been traditionally used for the same purposes as linen and is produced by a similar retting process. Unlike cotton, nettles grow easily without pesticides. The fibres are coarser however…>…… click & see….click & see.....click & see .
In recent years a German company has started to produce commercial nettle textiles.
Nettles may be used as a dye-stuff, producing yellow from the roots, or yellowish green from the leaves.

click & see .

Gardening:
As well as the potential for encouraging beneficial insects, nettles have a number of other uses in the vegetable garden.

The growth of stinging nettle is an indicator that an area has high fertility (especially phosphorus) and has been disturbed.

Nettles contain a lot of nitrogen and so are used as a compost activator or can be used to make a liquid fertiliser which although somewhat low in phosphate is useful in supplying magnesium, sulphur and iron. They are also one of the few plants that can tolerate, and flourish in, soils rich in poultry droppings.

Recent experiments have shown that nettles are a beneficial weed, having use as a companion plant.

Stinging nettle can be a troubling weed, and mowing can increase plant density. Regular and persistent tilling will greatly reduce its numbers, the use of herbicides such as 2,4-D and Glyphosate, are effective control measures.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:

http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail107.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stinging_nettle

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