Introduced into Britain by Caesar’s soldiers, the stinging nettle provides benefits as an herbal remedy. Known as ‘ortie’ in France and ‘Brennessel’ in Germany, Caesar’s soldiers sowed it along the sides of the great straight roads.
Both the roads and the nettles survive.
At the end of a day’s march, the cooler climate of England and the weary miles made their legs ache. They would gather the nettles and beat each other with them, so warming the affected parts. Really an embrocate for the strong.
By feeling on the darkest night, Culpeper wittily says you may find them. He tells us that the juice with honey is a safe and sure medicine to open the pipes and passages of the lungs.
Uses For Nettle As An Herbal Remedy
Today the herbal practitioner has found many uses for the humble nettle.
Nettle extract with alcohol is a stimulating hair tonic.
Urtication, or beating with nettles, is sometimes used as a counter-irritant for rheumatic sufferers.
When taken in juice form, nettle lessens bleeding in the mouth.
Also, the juice apparently greatly relieves painful piles or hemorrhoids if taken a tablespoonful (l5ml) at a time, three times a day.
Active Ingredients, Therapies, Research
The many active constituents in nettle include 5-hydroxytryptamine, histamine, formic acid, gallic acid, and readily assimilable iron.
Stinging Nettle Benefits
Research by Drs Herrmann and Neumann established that an increased metabolic rate took place over a period that lasted from the sixth to the twenty-second hour after taking a glassful. They said that this was very helpful when used in conjunction with therapies for removing toxins from the blood, and for rheumatism.
For the same reason, nettle juice is a good addition to any iron therapy for anemia.
It helps control diarrhea and is at the same time a diuretic that aids the elimination of uric acid.
It is powerful so is usually taken a wineglassful at a time. The part of the plant to pick is the top leaves. You may wear gloves or ‘Grasp it like a man of mettle and its soft as silk remains.’