The leaves of the plants have stinging hairs, causing irritation to the skin. This action is neutralized by heat or by thorough drying, so the cooked leaves are perfectly safe and nutritious. However, only young leaves should be used because older leaves develop gritty particles called cystoliths which act as an irritant to the kidneys.
Nettles have an ancient history of use in herbal medecine that has successfully graduated into a modern scientific context. have a long history of use in the home as a herbal remedy. A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used as a cleansing tonic and blood purifier so the plant is often used in the treatment of hay fever, arthritis, anaemia etc.
Nettle root extracts have been extensively studied in human clinical trials as a treatment for symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). These extracts have been shown to help relieve symptoms compared to placebo both by themselves  and when combined with other herbal medicines. Because it contains 3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran, certain extracts of the nettle are used by bodybuilders in an effort to increase free testosterone by occupying sex-hormone binding globulin
The whole plant is antiasthmatic, antidandruff, astringent, depurative, diuretic, galactogogue, haemostatic and hypoglycaemic. An infusion of the plant is very valuable in stemming internal bleeding, it is also used to treat anaemia, excessive menstruation, haemorrhoids, arthritis, rheumatism and skin complaints, especially eczema. Externally, the plant is used to treat skin complaints, arthritic pain, gout, sciatica, neuralgia, haemorrhoids, hair problems etc.
The fresh leaves of nettles have been rubbed or beaten onto the skin in the treatment of rheumatism etc. This practice, called urtification, causes intense irritation to the skin as it is stung by the nettles. For medicinal purposes, the plant is best harvested in May or June as it is coming into flower and dried for later use. This species merits further study for possible uses against kidney and urinary system ailments. The juice of the nettle can be used as an antidote to stings from the leaves and an infusion of the fresh leaves is healing and soothing as a lotion for burns. The root has been shown to have a beneficial effect upon enlarged prostate glands. It is used in the treatment of rheumatic gout, nettle rash and chickenpox, externally is applied to bruises.
Nettle leaf is a herb that has a long tradition of use as an adjuvant remedy in the treatment of arthritis in Germany. Nettle leaf extract contains active compounds that reduce TNF-? and other inflammatory cytokines. It has been demonstrated that nettle leaf lowers TNF-? levels by potently inhibiting the genetic transcription factor that activates TNF-? and IL-1B in the synovial tissue that lines the joint.
Division succeeds at almost any time in the growing season. Very easy, plant them straight out into their permanent positions.
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame, only just covering the seed. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and plant them out in the summer.
Prefers a soil rich in phosphates and nitrogen. Plants must be grown in a deep rich soil if good quality fibre is required. Nettles are one of the most undervalued of economic plants. They have a wide range of uses, for food, medicines, fibres etc and are also a very important plant for wildlife. There are at least 30 species of insects that feed on it and the caterpillars of several lepidoptera species are dependant upon it for food. It is a good companion plant to grow in the orchard and amongst soft fruit. So long as it is not allowed to totally over-run the plants, it seems to improve the health of soft fruit that grows nearby and also to protect the fruit from birds, but it makes harvesting very difficult.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Urtica dioica. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? to add it.
Polycultures & Guilds
There are no polycultures listed which include Urtica dioica.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
- Phillips. R. & Foy. N. Herbs Pan Books Ltd. London. ISBN 0-330-30725-8 (32202/01/01)
- Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (32202/01/01)
- Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting. Cassell Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-304-34324-2 (32202/01/01)
- Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (32202/01/01)
- [] Wikipedia (2012/09/16)
- Loewenfeld. C. and Back. P. Britain's Wild Larder. David and Charles ISBN 0-7153-7971-2 ()
- F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (32202/01/01)
- Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (32202/01/01)
- Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (32202/01/01)
- Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-33545-3 (32202/01/01)
- The Herb Society Herbal Review. Vol.11. 3. The Herb Society ISBN 0264-9853 (32202/01/01)
- Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (32202/01/01)
- Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (32202/01/01)
- Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (32202/01/01)
- Wild food [Nettle Beer] Wild Foods (2012/09/16)
- Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (32202/01/01)
- Mabey. R. Plants with a Purpose. Fontana ISBN 0-00-635555-2 (32202/01/01)
- Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain. ()
- Turner. N. J. Plants in British Columbian Indian Technology. British Columbia Provincial Museum ISBN 0-7718-8117-7 (32202/01/01)
- Bruce. M. E. Commonsense Compost Making. Faber ISBN 0-571-09990-4 (32202/01/01)
- Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants. Watkins (32202/01/01)
- Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (32202/01/01)
- Schofield. J. J. Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest. ()
- Hatfield. A. W. How to Enjoy your Weeds. Frederick Muller Ltd ISBN 0-584-10141-4 (32202/01/01)
- Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-262-7 (32202/01/01)
- De. Bray. L. The Wild Garden. ()
- Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (32202/01/01)
- Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
- Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (32202/01/01)
- Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (32202/01/01)
- Carter D. Butterflies and Moths in Britain and Europe. Pan ISBN 0-330-26642-x (32202/01/01)
- Mabey. R. Food for Free. Collins ISBN 0-00-219060-5 (32202/01/01)
<ref>tag; no text was provided for refs named
Cite error: Invalid
"image:Urtica dioica.jpeg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.