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Nettle: Properties, Benefits, Side-effects?

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Nettle: Properties, Benefits, Side-effects?
Details: - Flower --- Male Female flower - Seeds

Family: Orticacee

Common name: Stinging Nettle
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Features: vibrant herbaceous plant with a creeping rhizome and widely branched little deeply into the soil; drums, that arise from the rhizome, are erect, tall up to a meter and a half, they have a square section and are generally simple; the surface has some short hairs, longer and more rigid: the latter are the stinging hairs.

The leaves all have a distinct petiole long but more than half of the leaf blade; This is oval-oblong, has a base in the shape of heart towards the apex while si'restringe gradually into a sharp tooth; all the inargine is engraved in large teeth often curved sickle; on the surface and especially along the ribs are present the stinging hairs.

The flowers are grouped in spikes divided into male and female erect pendulous; these are inserted axils of the upper leaves and are always longer than its petiole. The flowers have four tepals enclosing four stamens in male flowers and the ovary in the female ones.
The fruit, which is spread by the female flowers, is an oval achene with a tuft of hairs at apex, enclosed in the four tepals persistent

Congeners: Urtica urens L. L.Urtica piluifera

Habitat: Very common in stations rich in nitrates. 0-1200 m. May

Pharmaceutical properties: Nettle seeds are rich in unsaturated fatty acids (linoleic acid, phytostimulines, phytohormones and c.); cold-pressed oil made ​​from it with a bio-stimulating activity indicated in cases of debolazza and asthenia. The root is able to reduce by 70% the volume of the prostate gland in men with benign hypertrophy by inhibiting the growth of prostate cells. It seems, however, that other therapeutic properties beyond those diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties, have not yet confirmed by scientific research.
The orticazione treatment is a 'heroic' in the case of rheumatic pains ..

Use in the kitchen: There are no collection problems due to its ubiquity. It collects all the seedling until it is young and juicy. As soon as the drum lignifica is no longer usable. This is so pungent in the collection, so it is good meal.

It is certainly one of the most known and used wild herbs. In the kitchen, the nettle is a very wide use thanks to the kindness of his young quotes. Combined with other vegetables taste excellent shape: it is excellent with tender leaves of ragweed pollen. Its taste is delicate, often higher than that of many vegetables marketed, with this pungent vegetable can be prepared Past refreshing, soups and even stuffing. (See Recipes)

From the book "Herbs of the city" vol I - Giovammi of hanger - Richard Luciano - Renzo Salvo - and Arabafenice.

The nettle is a plant known by everyone, most unfortunately for his irritancy (stinging, and the derivation from the Latin urere, burn, says a lot) and for his many virtues. First of all, it is a food plant, which is used industrially as a source of chlorophyll, and then consumed even by those who think that he had never done. Then, it is a plant fiber, useful for industrial applications and textiles. Finally, it also has medicinal properties, some of which have been confirmed by modern clinical research.

The irritant properties of nettle are due to the presence on the leaves and stems of hair in the form of a pinhead that act like real hypodermic needles. The tip of the hair breaks easily, leaving a small surface pointed that penetrates the skin, where the content is freed of liquid present in the hair, which is under pressure. This mechanism is the basis of the observation that the nettle does not sting hands if it grabs so tight, given that the breaking of the tip of the hair requires a rubbing. The nature of the glandular secretion has long remained a mystery. The most recent studies have ruled out the involvement of all the classic compounds identified as possible suspects in the past (histamine, acetylcholine, serotonin, formic acid), demonstrating that the principle irritating nettle is a mixture of oxalic acid and tartaric acid. When injected under the skin, these compounds, otherwise harmless, causing intense pain and durable, just like nettle stings. The question is, in any case, much debated (the experiments were done on a nettle in the Far East and not on ours), and the mechanism by which these two acids cause persistent pain is unknown. This is not a nonspecific effect related to acidic properties, because the formic acid, which is stronger, does not cause this effect. There are several remedies for stings from nettles. The more common in traditional medicine are based on the treatment of reddened area with various plants, such as horsetail, Parietaria or the underside of the leaf of a fern. It is not clear how effective, and today you prefer anti-itch drugs, such as antihistamines and corticosteroids.

The irritant properties and arrossanti (rubefacient) nettle have been used in the past in folk medicine to combat rheumatism, and also to heat the body. The rumor that the legionnaires to defend themselves from the bitter cold of northern Europe putting on the skin of nettles seems unfounded, if not for the fact that the plant does not survive the winter cold and dry state loses power stinging, but the practice fierce and almost sadistic s' "urticazione" is well documented in medical literature. In practice, they were rubbed on the skin of fresh nettle leaves in the belief that the intense pain caused by the sting lenisse one coming from the underlying organs, and had a revitalizing action in the event of astgenia. In the case of pain, there must be some form of relief, because the practice has survived a long time in medicine, and the discovery in the skin of an array of sensors "on" (activated in scientific language) from the classics of the folk medicine rubefacient (camphor , chili) and implicated in pain, gave credit to this form of treatment. The use of capsicum creams for the treatment of neuropathic pain is, in some ways, the modern version of the practice dell'urticazione.

The underground parts of nettle (rhizomes and stolons) are a beautiful deep yellow, and yellow are also the internal parts of the plant. The nettle is a plant dye, from which we obtain two different tinctures, green from the aerial parts, and yellow from groundwater. The association of yellow nettle may seem strange, but if you cut across the stem of a nettle, we see that its inside is intensely colored yellow. The deep green nettle is due to very high content of chlorophyll, and the yellow polyphenols (flavonoids and coumarins).
The medicinal uses of nettle are very many, and not just topically. The nettle was in the past, one of the plants most commonly used to induce diuresis, use documented not only by medical writers of the past, as Theophrastus and Dioscorides, but even in some recipes of Copernicus, who in addition to religious and astronomer, was also a doctor of the prince bishop of Warmia, the region where he was born. The juice of the root has hemostatic properties, and was one of the most common remedies to stop the bleeding of the nose. Besides as diuretics, decoctions of the plant were used for the treatment of inflammatory conditions and bronchial catarrh, but, currently, the most important is to medicinal use of the roots, whose extracts are widely used, especially in combination with other extracts herbal, for the symptomatic treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy. The active ingredients are not fully known, as well as their mechanisms. Paradoxically, the extracts of nettle roots are also used by fans of body-building, in that they contain compounds (lignans) can increase the concentration of free testosterone, moving from proteins that bind and transport in the blood. Extracts of nettle are popular in cosmetics such as anti-dandruff agents, especially to make your hair glossy and for growth promotion. Missing in each case studies confirming the cosmetic properties.

Nettle can be eaten, and there are several websites dedicated to fans of recipes based on nettle, in spite of indications of Galen, who considered the plant as useful only in case of famine. Cotta, the nettle loses all its power irritant, and has a flavor similar to spinach, with a sweet note that mitigates the bitterness of many weeds. The nettle leaves are used in soups, omelettes, rice and fillings, and are a good source of protein, there are very high for this type of fabric (up to 25% of their dry weight). The high concentration of protein, and then nitrogen, is the basis of the use of nettle as a "trigger" for the composting of organic waste. In our kitchen we remember the nettle soup, but the plant is very versatile and is also suitable for other uses, one of the most important of which is the flavoring of the cheese. The practice is widespread, especially in northern Europe, and is used, for example, for some types of Gouda cheese. Nettle is also used to flavor alcoholic drinks, and the best known example is that of the "cordial", a popular drink in England, where the nettle is also used to flavor beer. The "cordial" English has nothing to do with the "friendly" of the continent, which are digestive liqueurs made ​​with spices (the famous Cordial Campari was not green!). The nettle is also found use in animal nutrition, added to the forage as a true functional food, can provide high doses of protein, and the prevention of intestinal infections, especially chickens and rabbits. Nettle is also the only food they eat the larvae of some of the most beautiful species of butterflies, and therefore has an important ecological role. It is not eaten by the majority of herbivores, and provides a safe haven for many insects.

It 'also an indicator of fertility of the soil, since it requires high amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus to grow. The nettle is so typical of disturbed sites or abandoned houses, and accumulates these elements, necessitating its use as a fertilizer in organic farming.

Interesting facts on nettles are not lacking. That is perhaps the strangest world championship eaters nettle, which takes place in England since the early nineties. Participants are given the stems of nettle about 60 cm long, and the participants (65 in 2009) should remove the leaves and eat them raw. Vince who, in an hour, I eat more. The event attracts people from all over the world, and there are strict rules that forbid, for example, the use of local anesthetics on the tongue. The masticatory nettle manage to break the stinging hairs on the teeth by neutralizing the irritancy of the plant.

The stems male nettle, which is a dioecious plant, are an excellent fiber, used as an alternative to flax and hemp. The use of textile fiber nettle is very old, and have been discovered in the shrouds hemp dating back to the Bronze Age. Paradoxically, the nettle fabrics are softer than cotton, and the nettle has been used in the past as a textile fiber, especially for the uniforms of the soldiers when there was cotton. As a result of the blockade, the armies of Napoleon wore uniforms of nettle, and also the soldiers of Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of World War I wore uniforms made ​​with nettle fiber. In recent years, an Italian company has successfully launched a line of eco-friendly fabrics made ​​from nettle fiber, which is hollow inside and has insulating properties, which are useful to mitigate the summer heat in the warmer months, and keep the body warm in the cold months.

Few plants have the versatility of nettle, a real handyman species, the usefulness of which deserves to be better known and appreciated. It 'a very common plant, but it is not yet understood which are the compounds responsible and the mechanisms involved in its medicinal properties (prostatic hypertrophy) and action irritating. It seems incredible, but science has managed to put a man on the moon and still not understand how does the nettle sting!

Article Wiki Closed - Nettle: Properties, Benefits, Side-effects?
asked Jul 7, 2014 by Lancomega Level (10,245 points)
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