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Forageable Herbs #2: Nettle

Created on: 2024-04-15

Nettle - Urtica dioica

Following on from the previous forageable herb, here is Nettle. This is one of the most important forageable herbs. It provides food, medicine, and more.

There are no dangerous lookalikes in the Temperate Zones. The common nettle in Britain (Uriens dioica) is safe; the needles give a slight burn or sting. A related plant, Roman nettle (Uriens pilulifera) has a "far more virulent venom", but is no longer thought to exist in the UK, though is still used in herbal medicine where it is found.

In the Tropics, however, there are some relatives which are in fact quite dangerous. For instance, the burns from a Javanese variety (Uriens urentissima) can last for as long as a year, and are said to even have the capacity to be fatal. So if travelling, seek out local knowledge.

However, the common nettle is familiar to all in the UK, and most if not all have experienced its sting.

As with all plants, some people may have an allergic reaction.

With all of that said, here's a convenient way to harvest the plant with bare hands with minimal stinging:

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