Stinging nettle is a perennial herb scientifically known as Urtica dioica. The family Urticaceae is known as the nettle family and the genus name comes from Latin uro meaning “I burn”.
Stinging nettle can cause skin irritation when handled – symptoms include intense burning and itching sensation but don’t worry the sensation only lasts a few minutes. This is caused by the bristly, stinging hairs on stems and leaves. They also grow a pretty green or brown flower usually their blooming time is from June to September.
Besides their stinging characteristic, stinging nettle can be very tasty when steamed but make sure you collect only young shoots and remember to wear gloves! If you want to try them here’s what to do. Rinse the young shoots in warm water to remove dirt. Then put them into boiling, salted water with kitchen tongs and boil for 2-5 minutes. There is nothing to fear – the stinging quality disappears after cooking. If you try this easy but tasty recipe, let us know and share with us your experience in our Instagram account: stmu_science.
A very interesting use of stinging nettle is as an antirheumatic drug (helps to reduce or prevent joint damage associated with inflammatory disorders of the joints). Hesquiat, a Native American Tribe, makes a poultice of steamed leaves and roots to apply to swollen, sore, and arthritic legs, ankles and joints.