Opposite, egg- to lance-shaped with a rounded base and pointed tip. Stinging nettle is a plant. Wood nettle will have branching flower clusters at the top of the plant, unlike stinging nettle. The staff at Gardener’s Path are not medical professionals and this article should not be construed as medical advice intended to assess, diagnose, prescribe, or promise cure. Alternatively, if you do find a patch growing wild, you can gather the tiny seeds in early fall, once they have turned brown. What is your favorite way to use stinging nettle? Stinging nettle herb is such a magical herb that also reduce the chances of communicable diseases and increase your immunity. The root and above ground parts are used as medicine. Frequently, I would be out peacefully weeding my beds and daydreaming – until I was jolted back to earth by an unexpected sting, the effects of which could last for hours. Hydrating Your Landscape: Which Irrigation Method Is Best for You and Your Plants? Never mind worrying about pests and disease. Stinging nettle may also affect the sneezing and itching of hay fever, perhaps because the herb can reduce the amount of histamine the body releases from mast cells in response to an allergen. Another benefit of growing stinging nettle is that it actually can reduce the risk of pest infestation for surrounding crops. She holds a bachelor of science degree in environmental science from Tufts University, and has traveled and worked in many roles in conservation and environmental advocacy, including creating and managing programs based around resource conservation, organic gardening, food security, and building leadership skills. She goes on to say that it is also high in magnesium, potassium, silica, and chlorophyll. You can store the fresh leaves in the refrigerator for two to five days, just make sure they are kept in a closed container to prevent them from inadvertently stinging anyone! Heather is a certified permaculture designer and student herbalist. Documented accounts of its use date as far back as 1200 BC, and its uses are widespread. I’ve even made nettle pesto – but I made sure to blanch the leaves before throwing them in! Nostalgic! These are hearty perennials with a tendency to become invasive, so choose wisely. Just harvest regularly to encourage new growth, and keep an eye on them in case they start to spread to areas where you don’t want them to grow. Tell us your thoughts in the comments below! Stinging nettle occurs from sea level to subalpine elevations. Leaves, roots, and seeds have all been used medicinally, and each has different applications. The toothed leaves are borne oppositely along the stem, and both the stems and leaves are covered with numerous stinging and non-stinging trichomes (plant hairs). Over the winter the foliage will die back and the plants will go dormant, reemerging in spring. 8. The pain from nettles is short term, which is why most folks don’t need medical help. Males have a stringier, compact cluster of flowers that tend to point outward. If you can learn to properly identify them – which isn’t difficult if you touch them, but relying on visual cues is preferred! Nettle leaf tea can have diuretic properties and is often used to relieve the symptoms of urinary tract infections. In the 80’s, we used to go into the wild in search of stinging nettles. It can grow from two to four feet tall at maturity. Thank you for this info. Pick a place where you are certain that you want them, perhaps not directly next to your veggie patch! Some people purposely sting themselves to encourage the release of an anti-inflammatory response. In the US, there is a history of Native American use in food, medicine, clothing, and ceremonies. The sting subsides after a few minutes or if rinsed with water, she adds. There are quite a number of claims about the healing properties of some root and leaf extracts, but many of these are inconclusive and largely anecdotal. Stinging nettle persists in northern climates, spreading vegetatively rather than by seed. It has been grown, foraged, and harvested for thousands of years. A. Farwell 8513 in 1929, BLH, MICH). Today, it is still commonly used as a textile similar to hemp or flax. A distant mint relative, stinging nettles are equally invasive and need to be sternly managed . Including Bois Blanc, Mackinac, Round Islands. This method has been used to reduce joint pain, such as what is experienced by those with arthritis. To harvest, cut back the top third of the plant, just above a node where leaves branch off, which will encourage new growth. The flavor is sweet and salty, with a pleasant, earthy taste. Plant in full sun or partial shade. I was living at a property with a huge patch of it growing directly across the path from my veggie garden, and those nettles didn’t like to stay put! Inflammation is your body’s way of healing itself and fighting infections. Insects found included predatory bugs, predaceous flies, parasitic wasps, and native bees. We occasionally link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. Preserving Nettle Plants. Here are some ideas for making use of the free food and fertiliser that this under-appreciated weed has to offer. The stinging nettle is a plant found practically all over the world. The study concluded that the extract may decrease cardiovascular risk factors and other complications in patients with type 2 diabetes. You can also cut off the flowering seed heads when they form, which will encourage a better crop next year, as less energy will be diverted to seed production. May Reduce Inflammation. Females can be identified by dense, heavy flower clusters that may look like they are pulling the plant down. But for this you’ll need a big harvest – two pounds or more of fresh leaves, simmered in four cups of water with a tablespoon of non-iodized salt for 30 minutes. One of the most interesting ways of enjoying nettle that I’ve ever tried is in cheese- it’s popular in the Netherlands, and the herb adds just a touch of flavor that combines nicely with creamy dairy. Selecting your site with future spread in mind is also advised. Stinging nettle is about 80 percent water and 5 percent protein. That’s why you may feel pain and/or itchiness after touching them. It is garnished with okra and red pepper and little palm oil to make a delicious soup called “ofo akuba” -nettle soup in Abiriba, Nigeria. (7) Just bundle up six or seven stems, and hang them in a dry, dark place with good air circulation. Keep the soil moist throughout the spring until you are done harvesting, after which time the plants will usually take care of themselves. Fresh nettle leaves can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-5 days. Nettles don’t need much maintenance after harvest season, as they are very hardy and spread easily. Petiolated leaves have coarsely toothed margins, smooth surfaces to a few hairs beneath and long, stinging … I remember my mum using it to treat wounds on people. Nettle is easy to grow and can easily be started by seed indoors, or divided from existing patches. Stinging nettle is a member of the large family Urticaceae and is a decidedly unpleasant herbaceous perennial. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet or using plant-based remedies or supplements for health and wellness. This herb should not be used during pregnancy, or by those who take prescription medication. The plant can spread vegetatively with its yellow creeping rhizomes and often forms dense colonies. Nettle plants are dioecious, which means they only produce either male or female flowers, not both. – you might realize that you already have some growing nearby that you can dig up and transplant to your garden. Nettle fabric was used by Europeans and Native Americans for linens and sailcloth as early as the 16th and 17th century. The plant is named “stinging nettle” because its stems and leaves have hairy structures called trichomes, which cause a stinging sensation on touching. Once you’ve harvested the greens, you can use them as you would any leafy green. If you’re interested in growing other medicinal herbs, you’ll need these guides next: © Ask the Experts, LLC. The needles are generally pointed downward, so work from the top of the plant downwards. Nettle, Urtica dioica, is an herbaceous perennial in the Urticaceae family that is often found growing wild in the understory of riparian zones, on the edges of meadows, in open forests, or in disturbed soils near pasture. There is no recommended dosage for stinging nettle. The stinging nettle plant has tiny little needle-like projections all over the leaves and stems. Bring a basket, bucket, or paper bag, and a clean and sharp pair of scissors. The species is divided into six subspecies, five of which have many hollow stinging hairs called trichomes on the leaves and stems, which act like hypodermic needles She is also a fanatical gardener, and enjoys spending as much time covered in dirt as possible! Alternative practitioners believe that stinging nettles can reduce pain and inflammation associated with both infectious and non-infection conditions. To make a tincture, you can infuse dried or fresh leaves in alcohol or vinegar for use as an herbal remedy. Anemia 6. Arthritis 4. Dried leaves can also be ground into a powder for use in cooking, to make tea, or as a nutritional supplement. Stinging nettle is a plant that grows in North America, Europe, and Africa. Muscle and joint pain 2. Their flavor has been described by TV Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as “irrefutably green,” somewhere between spinach, cabbage, and broccoli, with a unique hint of nettliness: a sort of slight, earthy tingle in your mouth.”. Cooking, drying, crushing, or blending will remove the stings, making leaves safe to handle and eat. Here’s how – and why – you should grow it at home. PLANTS Profile . Drinking it reminds me of sitting in a peaceful forest. Coming to the stinging nettle plant, you can brew tea from the dried leaves and flowers. Males and females grow adjacent to each other, and the flowers are usually wind pollinated. These “hairs” are hollow and act like mini hypodermic needles that inject a shot of formic acid, histamine, and other substances that can irritate your skin. gracilis (Aiton) Selander. Urtica dioica L. Nettle Family (Urticaceae) Origin: Europe Distribution and Habitat Also called great nettle, European stinging nettle occurs in Coastal Plain, Piedmont and Mountain provinces in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast, from Delaware to Florida. In some parts of the US, stinging nettle is considered an invasive weed due to its ability to self-seed and spread through its root mass. Stinging nettle – Urtica dioica. Some of these links may be affiliate in nature, meaning we earn small commissions if items are purchased. Such plants are represented in Michigan only by a Houghton Co. collection (Lake Linden; O. A Persistent and Useful Weed Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) originated in Europe but now grows on every continent … After disposing of the leaves, the liquid can be stored in the refrigerator and used in place of animal rennet. Eczema 3. They can be used to make a fresh nettle soup, added to stews, used in baking, or simply sauteed in a little butter and garlic as a side dish. Among the conditions stinging nettles are purported to treat are: 1. The action of disturbing the hairs breaks off the fragile silica tips, and the hair acts like a needle, injecting you with chemicals. What Is Stinging Nettle? When growing nettle in your garden, try to place it in an area where water will naturally run toward it without leaving the plant soggy. In a study by David James, associate professor of entomology at Washington State University, from 2011 to 2013 researchers monitored beneficial insect populations in U. dioica patches at three locations in the Yakima Valley. Nettle leaf extract is traditionally available in the form of dried or frozen leaves, creams, ointments and pills. In the spring, broadcast seeds and press them lightly into the soil or cover with a very thin layer of soil, only about 1/4 inch at most. Just shake out a seed head into a jar or bag. You can also try blending the infused vinegar with honey to make an oxymel, which is perhaps even tastier! Nettle can be planted using five different scenarios. The most common variety (Urtica dioica procera) is native to North America, being prolific in California and other areas of the western United States, and is referred to by a number of common names for its two mo… You know your way around the Nettle plant. Let it sit for about a month and then strain. Urinary tract infections 8. Stinging nettle herb is a very effective anti-inflammatory agent. It can also be categorized as a noxious weed. European Stinging Nettle . You may quickly be convinced, as I was, that this plant is well worth the hassle of cultivation – and perhaps the very occasional sting. The tiny flowers are arranged in inflorescences that hang off the stems like catkins. A double-blind, randomized clinical trial was conducted in 2016, where 50 women with type 2 diabetes were divided into two groups and one group was given an extract of U. dioica. Throw them in soups, pasta, stir fries, stews, or omelets. Urtica dioica, often known as common nettle, stinging nettle (although not all plants of this species sting) or nettle leaf, or just a nettle or stinger, is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant in the family Urticaceae. Erect, rhizomatous perennial. In fact, it might just be my favorite herb yet! Plant in a location where you can manage it, as this plant has a habit of taking over. The Stinging Nettle you will most likely find here in Michigan is the “Slender Nettle” or Urtica gracilis. Fibers can be dried, pounded, and twisted into rope or cloth. This versatile edible and medicinal herb is not often cultivated, but foraging it from the wild is certainly not your only option. The sting of the fresh leaves is said to have healing properties, such as helping to reduce inflammation, improving circulation, and even combating allergies. The nettle leaves are extremely high in nutrients and make a delicious tea. The other parts of the plant can be put into soups and dishes. To store, remove leaves from the stems and secure in tightly lidded glass jars. Stinging nettle is dioecious, which means plants can have either male or female flowers. As long as you use one of these methods, nettle leaves can be a part of practically any dish, used in a similar way to spinach or other leafy greens. The leaves and stems of the plant are covered with brittle, hollow, hair-like structures. It can grow in full sun to partial shade and will tolerate soil with a wide pH range, anywhere from 5.0 to 8.0. Sow seeds in flats in late winter. But it seems the latter may be the case. Nettles can also be foraged easily, and they grow as a weedy perennial all over the place. Swamps and (less often) marshes, moist disturbed forests and thickets, ditches and weedy areas, lake shores and river banks. To blanch, place in boiling water for a minute or two, and then quickly douse in ice water. The nettle has … Place the mixture in a tightly lidded jar in a dark location, and shake it daily. Stinging nettle sounds like something you'd run from, not a vibrant green herb that improves blood sugar metabolism, prevents weight gain, and reduces pain. I just could not understand why anyone wanted this plant around. Urtica dioica L. - stinging nettle URDI in the state of Michigan. It has been used as an herbal remedy for thousands of years. Urtica dioica L. Urticaceae (Nettle family) Life cycle. I didn’t grow up eating much okra myself, but I have grown to love it as an adult, especially in Indian subzi recipes. Upon contact, the tiny needles pierce the skin and release chemicals including acetylcholine, formic acid, histamine, and serotonin, which trigger inflammation and pain that can unfortunately last for up to several hours. Stinging nettle is used for diabetes and osteoarthritis. It has toothed opposite leaves along the stems, which are almost heart shaped, and very small flowers. Infused vinegar can impart a pleasant flavor when used in cooking. A. Farwell 8513 in 1929, BLH, MICH). It’s delicious on a warm day. These are actually tiny hollow tubes known as trichomes. Fresh leaves can also be used in cheesemaking as a vegetarian substitute for rennet. Typical European plants are said to be usually if not always dioecious and to have broader ovate and definitely cordate leaf blades, which bear stinging hairs on both surfaces. Stinging nettle, or Urtica dioica, is a common plant that grows in the United States, Canada, and Europe.It primarily grows in damp, fertile soil. Wood Nettle and White Snakeroot have flowers at the top of the plant, Stinging Nettle and Clearweed have flowers along the sides. Caused by eating wrong type of food. Leaves. Most if not all of our plants are monoecious, have narrower, smoother leaves, and are the native subsp. Keep in a dark place, such as a pantry. Male flowers can be yellow or purple, while female flowers are green and white. The leaves can be preserved and consumed in a number of ways. Seeds are very tiny and require light for germination. Will it become one of yours? Never mind worrying about pests and disease. Plant in a location where you can manage it, as this plant has a habit of taking over. Keep your gloves on when you wash them, carefully removing any dirt or insects. Often maligned due to its painful “stings,” stinging nettle is actually a flavorful, high-protein superfood with a long history of use as a culinary, medicinal, and fiber plant. Here is more about what we do. Transplant outdoors in early spring, as soon as the ground can be worked. If you’re using fresh leaves, it’s best to chop them and use about eight ounces of leaves to 16 ounces of liquid. Or, why not find them in the woods? The main consideration is moisture. You can consume the leaves fresh, but if you want to preserve the nettle plants to be consumed or used later, there are a few things that you can try. If you have a friend with a thriving patch, ask if you can dig up a couple of plants in late fall and replant them in your yard. If you are concerned about spreading, consider confining it to containers. After removing stalks, leave them to decompose on the ground around plants. A full grown stinging nettle can range anywhere from three to seven feet tall. Though seen by many as an irritating weed, nettles have been appreciated by foragers for a long time, and they are so much more than just a menace to be wary of. Just be sure to wear gloves, long sleeves and pants, and closed-toe shoes. You could argue that White Snakeroot doesn't belong in this discussion because its flowers are clearly different (they actually look like flowers). Each year over the course of three years, they found 200 to 400 beneficial insects trapped in nettle plants at all three sites. Be conscious about what you are doing. I highly recommend Groves’s book, which is available from Amazon, if you want to learn more about how to use common plants as herbal remedies. With additional writing and editing by Clare Groom and Allison Sidhu. As the name implies, stinging nettle has the capacity to irritate and blister when it comes into contact with skin. Distinguish from Northern Bugleweed (Lycopus uniflorus). Click the map above to view a larger image. Some of the claims are better supported by research than others. Such plants are represented in Michigan only by a Houghton Co. collection (Lake Linden; O. Just remember not to put a fresh nettle leaf on the side of the plate to garnish your dish, or you may end up with a prickly surprise. Additionally, these plants thrive on nitrogen rich soil, so it is a good idea to dig some composted manure into the soil where you are planning to plant. The plant is considered an herbaceous perennial, meaning that it has herbal properties and grows back in the same areas year after year. Though it stings the hands, it does not sting the gut. Plants can later be thinned to an inch apart. Stinging nettle, also known as Urtica dioica is a perineal plant that grows during the warmer spring and summer months then begins to die down with cooler temperatures and less sunlight. This may also help to reduce spreading if you are concerned about the patch getting away from you. If a spot is too dry, plants may struggle and will lack flavor, and may potentially lack some of their potency as an herbal remedy. Space seedlings about 8 inches apart. The nettle stem and leaves have little “stinging hairs,” Kelly says, that inject compounds into the skin, including histamines. Yum, that soup sounds delicious, Onwuka, and I would love to try it! Tendonitis Although researc… Once you’ve determined the proper garden location for nettle, you’re ready to plant it and start the growing process. Plant taxonomy: Stinging nettle is a member of the genus, Urtica, a broadleaf, perennial plant. I use around four ounces of dried leaves to 16 ounces of vodka or vinegar. They will spread quickly, once they become established. You may have had the misfortune of experiencing the unpleasant sensation of accidentally brushing up against a plant, or pulling one up without gloves. You can read more about harvesting and using stinging nettle roots here. Cooking stinging nettle gets rid of the stinging hairs. Stinging nettle herb also helps with arthritis, joint disease, liver, kidney,Also helps to cure stomach inflammation. Dry in a dehydrator on the lowest temperature setting, about 95°F for 12 to 18 hours. If you want, you can incorporate some leaf mulch around the plants to help retain moisture during dry spells. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. For food and making herbal remedies, harvest the foliage when the stems looks juicy, before flowering. Perhaps this is why they were given the Latin name dioica, which means “two houses.”. There’s one way to find out! When I first started gardening, I absolutely hated stinging nettle. COPYRIGHT © 2020 ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. Perhaps the most infamous identifying feature is the tiny stinging hairs, which can be found under the leaves and along the stems. To prepare for planting, look for an area with rich soil and sufficient moisture. Gout 5. One of my favorite recipes is this iced fennel and nettle tea from our sister site, Foodal. Enlarged prostate 9. Native in many places around the world, this herb can be found in north Africa, North America, Asia, and Europe. This is because it attracts various beneficial insects, and several butterfly species. Thank you for the information! When we take the time to appreciate their value and learn to handle them with care, nettles are really an incredible herb with so much to offer us. Frozen nettles are a great addition to any food that would be good with added greens. Once plants flower and start to look woody and fibrous, leaves become stringy and tough. Stinging nettle rash presents as raised bumps or hives that are often light in color and up to a centimeter in diameter. Do not confuse these plants with dead nettle (Lamium maculatum), a harmless perennial plant used in shade gardens. The more I researched, the more I began to change my tune on nettle. According to Maria Noel Groves, author of “Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies,” one cup of tea infused for 4-12 hours contains “approximately 500 milligrams of calcium in a highly bioavailable form,” meaning it is easy for the body to absorb and put to use. They need to stay in a closed container. And so I started learning. Before freezing, you’ll want to blanch the leaves to remove the sting. We're offering 3 options: 1) Single Plant - which will give you a nice solid set of roots you can plant out or divide a bit to get started, 2) Nettle Patch - which will give you enough root material to establish at least 10 plants in year 1. Product photos via: Crossing Press and Storey Publishing Uncredited photos: Shutterstock. County Distribution. Harvesting nettles can sound intimidating, but with a few precautions in mind, you won’t get any trouble from the pesky needles. I have spent years of my life telling people that this species here in Michigan is called Urtica dioica and that it is the same species as the European and Asian counterparts. Infused tinctures can be stored in a cool, dark place for three to five years. In Germany it was used during the first half of the 20th century, often combined with cotton to make undergarments, stockings, and fabrics. Now I feel confident I can care for mine! stinging nettle tall nettle This plant can be weedy or invasive according to the authoritative sources noted below.This plant may be known by one or more common names in … All parts of the nettle plant are edible and are used by some practitioners today in herbal remedies. Squeeze to drain as much moisture as possible, chop, and place in freezer bags or containers. You may choose to cut off the top third to keep plants from becoming too tall and toppling over. Heather Buckner hails from amongst the glistening lakes of Minnesota, and now lives with her family on a beautiful homestead in the Vermont Mountains. harvesting and using stinging nettle roots here, You can find more tips on freezing herbs here, 9 Reasons Why Tulip Leaves May Turn Yellow Prematurely, When and How to Harvest Cantaloupe, the Sweetest Garden Candy, How to Identify and Prevent Crown Gall on Apple, Grow Mexican Petunias (Ruellia Simplex) for a Heat and Shade Tolerant Perennial, How to Train Pumpkins to Grow on a Trellis. Seeds should germinate in approximately 14 days. You’ll need about one cup of liquid nettle rennet per gallon of milk. Hay fever 7. You can find more tips on freezing herbs here. Managing Pests and Disease. Another benefit of growing stinging nettle is that it actually can reduce the risk of pest infestation for surrounding crops. I just needed to know why my landlord insisted so strongly on maintaining that pesky nettle patch. I am now a complete convert. Nettle does especially well on the edges of meadows, pastures, or streams where the soil stays moist but isn’t waterlogged. Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) are one of more than 50 varieties of nettle plants worldwide. This valuable plant also has long been part of culinary and medicinal practices. The skin surrounding the hives may be red. (7) Local occurrence (where, how common) Stinging nettle is a common understory component of riparian communities and also occurs in and adjacent to marshes and meadows and in disturbed areas. Stinging nettle is an herbaceous plant and often grows to about 2 metres (6.5 feet) in height. See our TOS for more details. A very hearty plant, this herb will do well in a variety of climates and conditions. The finished product can range from fine and soft to thick and rough. I think I will domesticate it in the nearest future. 3) Nettle Massive Patch - enough root material to plant out or pot up at least 30-40 plants. It spreads by vigorous creeping rhizomes, and often forms dense clusters. Gardener’s Path and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. You can also hang leaves to dry in small bunches. Our county data are based primarily on the literature, herbarium specimens, and confirmed observations. If this article hasn’t quite won you over yet, I encourage you to taste some nettle tea for yourself. Typical European plants are said to be usually if not always dioecious and to have broader ovate and definitely cordate leaf blades, which bear stinging hairs on both surfaces. Although this particular recipe calls for store-bought nettle tea bags, I substitute those with a handful of fresh leaves from my own garden, or a smaller quantity of home-dried leaves. Always consult with a medical professional or trained herbalist before starting any herbal treatment. Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a springtime, flowering plant that grows abundantly in North America and temperate regions in the Northern Hemisphere.. The drying time can vary depending on your location and the relative humidity, and it could take anywhere from one to a few weeks. Stinging nettle has a long and diverse history of use for food, medicine, cordage, and dye. I learned, for instance, that it is one of the most nutrient-rich native herbs known. GARDENER'S PATH® IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. This plant is distinguished from stinging nettle by its shorter height (1 foot (0.30 m) to 2.5 feet (0.76 m) tall), and its leaves (opposite on the stem) and white flowers. To use, dilute a few drops of the tincture in half a cup of water and drink as a general health tonic. How to Plant Stinging Nettle. … Let’s learn more. Originally native to Europe, much of temperate Asia and western North Africa, it is now found worldwide, including New Zealand and North America. This will return nutrients to the soil, and the added mulch layer will help retain moisture in the spring. It is safe for almost everyone, has a plethora of uses, and is actually quite delicious. U. dioica has been used to address a range of ailments over the centuries. It was concluded that nettle could be a great biological control for managing insect pests, and was recommended for use in vineyard habitat restoration and pest management, as well as for butterfly conservation. Common stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a perennial plant found in temperate regions throughout the world.
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