Uses

Our ancestors used nettles 

  • as food
  • for fibre
  • in medicine

and some of these uses are being revived today.

Food

Young shoots of nettle can be 

  • eaten as a green vegetable, similar to spinach 
  • used in 
    • soups
    • quiches
  • are good simply mashed with potatoes

Early in the nineteenth century in Scotland nettles were valued for food to the extent that they were cultivated under glass. 

Fibre

Nettles have a long history as a source of fibre, and as a dye.  During the Second World War schoolchildren were encouraged to collect nettles so that a dark green dye, used for camouflage, could be extracted from them.

Medicine

In the British Isles it was widely thought that beating limbs with nettles would relieve rheumatic pains.  At present research is being carried out into the use of nettles to cure arthritis.  

Other medicinal uses include the treatment of 

  • asthma
  • skin complaints
  • hay fever
  • as a spring tonic
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