Of all the plants in Siberia, nettle is perhaps the only one with such an unenviable reputation – it grows under a fence, stings painfully and never pleases when meeting. Meanwhile, nettle has rare abilities and amazing healing properties! Let's talk about them in greater detail.
Where it Grows and Why it is so Burning
Nettle grows throughout Siberia and the Russian Far East, is widespread in Europe, Asia, and China. The plant grows in moist and fertile soils rich in nitrogenous substances. It can be found in damp forests, in shady places, in ravines, along the shores of reservoirs and roadsides, on the forest edges, near housing and railways.
Nettle leaves are covered with fine hairs – microneedles, which are filled with histamine, choline and formic acid. Each of these substances causes an allergic reaction in the form of burning and itching. Upon contact with a person or animal, the contents of the needle are injected under the skin – hence the irritation. Scientists believe that this property protects the plant from herbivores.
Not Just a Weed
The dual nature of the plant is reflected in the name: from the Latin Urtica nettle means "burning", and from the Old Russian "koprina" translates as "silk".
In ancient times, clothes were sewn from nettle fiber, carpets, ropes and fishing nets were woven. It was also appreciated in Europe – they say even Napoleon's soldiers wore uniforms made of it. Unlike cotton, nettle is softer and more environmentally friendly in production – it can be safely grown on polluted lands, without fertilizers and chemicals. But it is not yet known whether it is possible to make fabrics from it that will meet all modern standards.
In Russia, nettle was part of a healthy diet – salads were prepared from it, cabbage soup, sauces were cooked, pies were stuffed and tea was brewed. For centuries, nettle has been known to humans for its hemostatic and diuretic properties. Fresh nettle has also been treated for arthritis and rheumatism, it has been used for diabetes, neuroses, and heart disease. The Greeks used nettle seeds to enhance male strength.
Modern medicine recognizes the medicinal value of nettle, today it is used for various diseases and for prevention, it is widely used in dermatology, cosmetology, veterinary medicine, cooking.
There are about 50 species of nettle in total, about 10 of them are common in Russia. We will tell you about the three most common ones.
Urtica dioica. It is found in the vast expanses of Siberia and Europe. Individuals of this species of nettle are distributed by gender: males have only staminate flowers, and females have only pistillate ones. It is known for its analgesic, antibacterial and hemostatic properties.
Urtica urens. One of the most common plant species in Russia. It differs in that dangerous hairs are found not only on the surface of the leaves, but also on the stems.
Urtica cannabina or urtica siberiana. It is found in Western and Eastern Siberia. It grows everywhere and is distinguished by coarsely serrate with incurved teeth leaves. When in contact with the skin, this Siberian stings, but does not leave blisters, and herbal tea made of it does not thicken the blood.
What Ingredients This Burning Beauty Contains
Nettle has a record content of Vitamin K, which improves blood clotting (100 g of nettle contains about 500 mcg at a daily rate of 120 mcg).
The Vitamin C content in nettle is twice as high as in lemons.
Nettle leaves contain chlorophyll, which improves metabolism, the work of the intestines, blood vessels, and heart and has powerful stimulating and tonic properties.
Nettle contains a lot of valuable protein, which makes it considered a highly nutritious product.
It also contains Vitamin A, B vitamins, minerals (manganese, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium), high concentrations of tannins, flavonoids and valuable amino acids, which explains the powerful antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of nettle.
Ultimate Benefit for the Body
Due to its multivitamin composition, nettle has a beneficial effect on our body. Here are just some of its healing properties:
The leaves of useful nettle are part of the Herbal Tea No. 1 (Cleansing and drainage).
Herbal collection with Kuril tea, senna and clover helps to gently cleanse the body and gives a sensation of lightness.
Nettle leaves in this tea have a tonic effect on the body and help remove products of metabolism and toxins.
A drink made from Siberian detox plants improves metabolic processes in the body and is great for those who strive for reducing body weight.
Did you know that weeds have so many healing properties and that nettle is definitely worth continuing to get to know and add it to your diet?