Stinging Nettle – Urtica dioica
Stinging nettle is highly regarded for its health and healing benefits. It stings by releasing formic acid which is present in most bee stings. When harvested correctly, stinging nettle can be used to treat muscle pain, eczema, arthritis, gout, hay fever, insect bites, and many other aliments. Like any treatment, stinging nettle can potentially cause stomach aches or react with other medicine. Furthermore, the stalk fibers can be created into extremely strong cord used for clothes, nets, and baskets.
Stinging nettle is found pretty much everywhere in the Pacific West. It grows in moist sites along streams, open forests, ditches, and abandoned areas such as roadsides and old barns. Therefore, it is common component of riparian zones and disturbed areas. To identify stinging nettle, look for tapered and somewhat heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges covered with fine stinging hairs. Have you ever brushed up against a stinging nettle? The rash generally disappears after a day or so, but make sure to clean the affected area and try to relieve the pain with other plant leaves or remedies.
SHADOW Intern Gabrielle (Gabi) Esparza