Stinging Nettles. They're a pain in the bum - I literally sat on some last week and they still hurt now!
But after reading about them, I will moan no longer, because far from being a complete nuisance, these "weeds" have a multitude of benefits, you wouldn't realise at first glance .. or sting .. though!
Nettles with their creeping roots, sharp-pointed leaves and irritating substance of histamine and formic acid that stings when the prickly hairs are touched can be painful; but no, they are not a pain.
Nettles are a fascinating plant. Not only are they an extremely good food source for insects and humans alike, they have medicinal uses as well.
Uses and Benefits
Nettles are rich in minerals and vitamins and can be used in all manner of homoeopathic ways to open up the lungs to help alleviate wheezing and coughing.
In addition, nettles are said to kill intestinal worms, can act as an antidote to certain poisons and when used as a gargle can relieve swelling of the mouth and throat.
And, as we thunder through our gardens, pulling up or destroying nettles, which are so often perceived as nothing more than a weed or a nuisance, I thought it would be interesting to try and think a little differently and harvest them instead.
Most of our ancestors would have had knowledge of working the land, understanding the weather patterns and working with the seasons. They would have known the best times to plant, or whether the moon waxed or waned. Working with nature, rather than against it, which is something we could all probably do today as well.
You can learn more about nettles and how to make your own nettle tonic here