Stinging nettle

Urtica dioica

Stinging nettle - intro, appearance and characteristics.

There are two types of stinging nettles, Large Nettle and Little Nettle. Large nettle is the most common and what we colloquially call stinging nettle. We have both plants here in Denmark.

Stinging nettles can grow up to 4 m tall, however, they are mostly between 30-200 cm and grow especially on nutrient-rich soil, in woods and thickets, along streams, and near compost heaps, in middens by chicken farms and where there is a lot of nitrogen in the soil. The nettle perennial reproduces with long, underground shoots and has a dense root system.

Large nettle has green leaves that are shaped almost like elongated hearts. The leaves are serrated at the edge and have small burning hairs all over. We all know the burning blisters you get on the skin if you burn the teddies on the nettles. When we touch a nettle, the tips of the hairs break and the sharp edges scratch the skin so that the cells in the hairs can empty their poison into the wounds. The venom contains histamine, acetylcholine, serotonin and formic acid, which causes a strong sting and forms blisters on the skin. The root is used against urination problems in benign enlarged prostate. These effects are scientifically documented. Stinging nettle has small white flowers that bloom from July to August.

Stinging nettle locations Grows luxuriantly on nutrient-rich and nitrogen-rich soil, on roadsides, forests and forest edges, in ditches, fences and bogs. Stinging nettles can be picked in spring and summer, but the small, new, light green top shoots in spring are the most delicious. Stinging nettles are a little milder but otherwise taste like spinach.

Pick top shoots before the nettle blooms, if you are careful you can do it without gloves, but otherwise a pair of rubber gloves is plenty. You can also take the whole plant and lightly knock it down on the tabletop, then it will no longer burn.

Fun History
The monks found that if you whipped hysterical women with large sticks of nettle, they became very calm afterwards. Yes, after only a few treatments, you only had to present a pinch of nettles to the hysterical woman, and it is said that she calmed down. I don't know if anyone dares to try it to this day.

May I make an apology to Mai-Britt Iversen from Engvej 41, whom Jacob and I pushed into the nettles on the empty lot. Children can be cruel, and I must regret that I was that summer day too. PARDON!

Stinging nettle - active substances and their effect

Stinging nettle contains large amounts of iron and flavonoids. Flavonoids inhibit inflammatory conditions in the body and are also bactericidal. Stinging nettle is therefore recommended both against rheumatism and sclerosis. It also has a high content of silicon which is great for our connective tissue and hair, so you will also become more beautiful and get stronger hair by consuming nettle. Nettle stimulates the lymph and strengthens the immune system. It has been shown that stinging nettles reduce symptoms of menopause, help with menstrual cramps, reduce high blood pressure, help delivery with kidney stones and respiratory diseases, diarrhoea, asthma, stop bleeding and reduce skin problems. Helps with stomach/intestinal diseases, IBS and constipation. Is also instrumental in the treatment of Alzheimer's.

Kills intestinal worms and parasites. Supports endocrine health by helping the thyroid, spleen and pancreas and relieves neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, ALS and sciatica. Increases milk production in nursing mothers. Nettle stimulates the lymphatic system and thus boosts the immune system. Nettles can also relieve gout symptoms and gout symptoms. Nettle also supports the adrenal glands and helps with diabetes. Strengthens the fetus in pregnant women.

You can brew nettle tea, drink it daily and enjoy the healing effect. But check with your GP beforehand as stinging nettle can interact with other medications.

Stinging nettle has been shown in test tube tests to be able to inhibit several of the essential bacterial reactions that cause symptoms of seasonal allergies. Antagonist and negative agonist response against histamine-1 receptors as well as inhibition of mast cell tryptase (which prevents de-granulation) and release of a wide range of pro-inflammatory mediators. They are the ones that cause symptoms of hay fever. In Danish, this means that when you experience that the histamines in the body cause the skin to itch, the nose to run and the eyes to become red, your antihistamine may be the nettle itself.

Stinging nettle is a classic ingredient in herbal shampoos, for hair cleaning and as a cure.

In dry weight, nettle contains 10 mg of iron per 100 g, and when fresh, 100 g of nettle contains 2.2 mg of iron.


An easy recipe for nettle tea

I personally like it best with the freshly picked nettle, but you get almost the same power from the dried herb. When you pick, we need the young top shoots, and preferably before the nettle blooms. It is therefore in the same spring when you can experience pollen allergy that you can find help. You can pick from both Large Nettle and Little Nettle. Remember to use gloves so you don't burn yourself. If you zero the leaves with gloves on, they stop being able to burn.

I would highly recommend that you drink nettle tea daily, at least two cups, if you suffer from any of the above ailments. You can mix nettle with other herbs, possibly mint or licorice root to give it a sweeter taste.

For a pot of tea you use

1 good handful of freshly picked nettle shoots or 2 tablespoons of dried leaves

1 l boiling water

Pour the water over the leaves and let it soak for 10 minutes.

Easy recipe for fresh eyes

Stinging nettle contains large amounts of minerals. Try a cold nettle tea on cotton pads and put it on your red eyelids.

First, you make your nettle tea by pouring boiling water over the nettles and letting it steep in the teapot for at least 10 minutes. Allow your tea to cool slightly and pour it into a beautiful bowl. Take the bowl with you, somewhere where you can lie quietly and peacefully for the next 15 minutes. You wet your cotton pads in the lovely warm water and twist them lightly, then place them on your eyes. It is a good idea to have a small cloth at hand, as it may run a little from the cotton wool. You can wring the cotton balls in the lukewarm water, once or twice more, during the 15 minutes you lie down and relax. You can enjoy the rest of your tea, either hot before your eye treatment, or you can store it in a bottle in the fridge for later use, possibly as a supplement in your juices.


There are lots of other small easy recipes, but most edible…

You can eat the young shoots in a salad, in an omelette or in bread.

Stinging nettle butter is also wonderful on most meats. Mix butter and fresh nettle shoots in a blender and spread it on your meat.

Make a good nettle schnapps perhaps with other herbs and enjoy with your lunch

Nettle soup is also quite delicious with nettle bread, nettle butter and some crispy bacon.

Take nettle tincture (strong schnapps) every morning. One-third herb is put in a bottle and filled with two-thirds vodka or tasteless schnapps. Leave to infuse for 4 days and filter. Have a spoonful of schnapps every morning.