Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), commonly known as the nettle, is a perennial herb native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It can be found in North America as well.
It is named after the fine hairs on its leaves and stems, which release chemicals that cause stinging and itching of the human skin.
The nettle has a long history of use as a food source, especially in Europe. The leaves and stems are cooked and eaten as nutritious vegetables and are often used to make soup, tea, and pesto. It is a rich source of vitamins A, C, and K and minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium. Nettle, when used as a herbal tea is believed to have various health effects, including digestion support, inflammation reduction, and immune system boosting.
In addition to its culinary uses, nettle is also used for medicinal purposes. It contains anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to treat conditions such as arthritis, allergies, and asthma.
Nettle is a popular ingredient of natural products for skin and hair care. It is used as a natural tonic for hair loss and dandruff, stimulating hair growth and improving scalp health.
The fibrous stems of nettles were historically used to make various textiles, from clothing to fishing nets. It was also used as a natural dye, producing shades of yellow, green, and brown.