Common nettle Facts

Common nettle Facts
Common nettle, also known as stinging nettle, is herbaceous plant that belongs to the family Urticaceae. There are 6 subspecies of common nettle that are native to Europe, Asia, North Africa and North America. Common nettle can be found in numerous habitats including forests, grasslands, marshes, farms, gardens and urban areas. Even though most people associate common nettle with pain, this plant has numerous beneficial properties that are widely exploited by humans.
Interesting Common nettle Facts:
Common nettle has wiry stem that can reach 3 to 7 feet in height.
Common nettle has green leaves that are deeply serrated on the edges. Leaves are oppositely arranged on the stem.
Common nettle is attached to the ground via yellow rhizome. Each year, new stem develops from the underground rhizome at the beginning of the vegetative season.
Common nettle develops small greenish-brownish individual flowers that are grouped in axillary inflorescences. Latin name for common nettle is "Urtica dioica". Word "dioica" means "two houses" and it refers to the male and female plants (each plant possesses either male or female reproductive organs).
Common nettle is best known for its needle-like hairs that cover leaves and stem. Each hair ends with swollen base that contains mix of chemicals. These chemicals are responsible for the burning sensation that results from touching of common nettle.
Large herbivores avoid common nettle because of its sharp and poisonous hairs. On the other hand, many insects and their larvae use common nettle as food and safe place for egg deposition.
Common nettle is used in folk medicine as a remedy for rheumatism and gout. Placing of fresh plant on the painful joint can alleviate pain.
Common nettle can be used in treatment of urinary tract infections, disorders of gastrointestinal tract, skin and cardiac diseases, hemorrhage and flu.
Common nettle is used in cosmetic industry mostly in the production of shampoos. Shampoos made of common nettle are used to remove dandruff and to improve quality of hair.
Common nettle was used in the production of fabrics in the past (before cotton was discovered). Certain countries produce textile made of common nettle today, because it is cheap and has good characteristics.
Common nettle is rich source of iron, vitamin A and C, and few minerals. It can be consumed in the form of soups, salads or as an ingredient of various salty dishes.
Common nettle is also used for the manufacture of sweet non-alcoholic beverage and beer in Europe.
Common nettle contains high level of valuable minerals and it can be used as manure for gardens.
Dyes extracted from the rhizome (yellow) and leaves (green) are used for dyeing of fabrics and food.
Common nettle is perennial plant, which means that it can survive more than two years in the wild.

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