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Stinging Nettles


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Stinging nettles are a highly successful plants that are found all over the world in temperate zones. They spread themselves by means of seeds and rhizomes. These rhizomes can be found creeping around just below the surface of soil. Stinging nettles are easy to recognize by their square stems and jagged leaves. If not recognizing by their appearance one will always remember and recognize them from their sting. And there are not many of us who have not experienced a sting from them. Stinging nettles thrive in different types of soil and can reach growth heights of over 2 metres. They prefer the richer types of soil and hence are most frequently found around human habitats benefiting from the waste that we produce. The Latin name for stinging nettles is Urtica Dioica which means Two Houses. This refers to the fact that the male and female flowers of stinging nettles are carried on 2 separate plants.

The sting nettle stings by way of stings which are hollow hairs stiffened by silica. These hairs have a swollen base which contains the nettle’s venom. The tips of these hairs are extremely delicate and when brushed against they snap to reveal a sharp point that can penetrate your skin. These points work in the same fashion as a hypodermic needle and inject histamine and other chemicals that cause a stinging sensation and nasty reaction to humans and animals.

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Getting Rid Of Stinging Nettles With A Petrol Strimmer

If you have been stung by stinging nettles, which is fair to say that most of us have, you will not be particularly fond of them. You certainly would not want them in your garden. However they have a habit of turning up in most gardens and are extremely persistent in remaining there. In a nicely kept flower border they can spoil the appearance and sting you at anytime when you are weeding.

The garden is also a place where you relax and let your children play. Children can play with a football and if this ball lands in a bed of nettles your child is going to jump in to retrieve the ball. And we all know what happens next. It is no surprise that many people wish to get rid of stinging nettles from their gardens..

You can get rid of these stinging nettles with a petrol strimmer and a couple of other items. Along with the strimmer you will need a long sleeved shirt, long trousers, good gardening gloves, a shovel and some sort of herbicide.

To begin with dress properly with the shirt and trousers and put your gardening gloves on. You will be standing amongst the nettles and hence brushing against them. So you need to cover and protect your skin properly. Once amongst the stinging nettles power up your petrol strimmer and cut down the nettles leaving all but a short base of the plant. Once the nettle bodies have been cut down with the strimmer you need to take your shovel and dig up the roots. This can be a tough job because stinging nettles have finger like roots and you need to get all the roots up. When you think that you have dug up al the root system, apply the herbicide to the area before you replace the soil and pat it down.

Stinging Nettle Treatment

If you do get stung by stinging nettles there are anti itch creams that you can buy to help give a little relief. These creams will contain antihistaminic or hydrocortisone. However they may not work fully and you will still suffer a little. The reason these creams may not fully work is because of the complexity of the chemicals that the nettle injects. So you can use these creams but maybe use other remedies at the same time. With a nettle sting your skin will swell and feel painful for a while. The stinging though will go away on it’s own, but there are a couple of ways in which you can speed that process up.


Baking Soda


Mix up some baking soda in water until you have a paste. Spread this paste over the inflamed area and wait until you get some relief from the itching. By personal experience this does not take too long. You then simply remove the paste.

Sticky Tape


When you have been stung by nettles there may well be nettle hairs still stuck in your skin. To remove these, apply some sticky tape to the inflamed area and then slowly peel back the sticky tape. This should pull the hairs out. Repeat as many times as necessary until all the nettle hairs have been removed.


Soap And Water


Good old soap and water gives stinging nettle relief to many. Simply wash the affected area with soap and water and then pat dry. Do not rub dry as this will provoke itching. Once dry, apply calamine lotion to your skin for the soothing qualities.


Doc Leaves


Perhaps the most well known stinging nettle treatment method to deal with nettle stings. Take a doc leaf and squeeze it. Rub it over the affected area and the moist sap the leaf releases will soothe the pain. The rubbing motion used with a doc leaf will also redistribute the pain, offering a feeling of less pain.

Stinging Nettle Benefits

But it’s not all bad with stinging nettles. These nettles greatly help with the support of wildlife, can offer benefits to gardener’s, be used as a food source and also have medicinal qualities. So perhaps gardeners should refer to them as herbs as opposed to weeds and embrace them in their gardens to utilize them fully. It’s a thought worth thinking about deeply before you rush out with your petrol strimmer and try to eliminate them.


There are a lot of myths involving stinging nettles and as a herb, the sting nettle has long been used as a protective herb. Freshly cut nettles placed under one’s sickbed was believed to ail any sickness. Nettles sprinkled around a house were supposed to ward off any evil and any nettles carried in the hand would fend off any ghost.

It is believed that the Romans introduced the nettle to Britain where they used it to improve their blood circulation by beating themselves with it. The reason for wanting to improve their blood circulation was to keep warm in the cold and damp conditions that Britain hosted. In these olden days nettles were also used to make clothes, paper and fishnets. To make clothes the nettles were soaked in water and the fibres separated before being spun in to a yarn.


Stinging Nettles And Wildlife


Believe it or not the stinging nettle is actually one of the most important plants for wildlife in the U.K. It is beneficial and supports over 40 different species of insects and without it such butterflies as the Red Admiral would not survive.

The stinging qualities of nettles have been developed to protect the plant from grazing animals, yet provide safe sanctuary for insects and their eggs. Butterfly larvae live and feed in nettle patches.

Nettle patches hold aphids which provide a food source for the common ladybird. Aphids are also eaten by woodland birds.

In summer, stinging nettles throw out huge quantities of seeds which are a food source supply for many seed eating birds.

The nettle weevil only lives amongst nettles.