The Last Furlong

Comments on the race of life.

In praise of stinging nettles


Several years ago, I wrecked my shoulder metal detecting. In the beginning, Mr Furlong worked the machine and did heavy digging. I could work the probe! But then he had, first, a mini stroke and then a heart attack, So we put ourselves out to pasture.

The first month of my wrecked shoulder, I SUFFERED! Then I went to the doctor. His prescription of Inflammation Reducing Pills (NSAIDs), were so savage on peoples’ stomachs, that he also had to prescribe more pills to protect my stomach from destruction. It frightened me. I am not a pill person.

But serendipity intervened, On the Internet, I happened to find this article. Dr Christopher’s Herbal Legacy

The bit that jumped out at me was quote “The leaves of the fresh nettle plant are stimulating, thus making it a powerful rubefacient. Arthritis, bursitis, rheumatism, gout, and tendonitis have all been treated successfully with urtification. In a group of eighteen patients with joint pain treated with the topical use of the nettle sting, all except one respondent were sure that the therapy had been very helpful, and several considered themselves cured”

I had never heard of a Rubefacient or urtification – quote – from History of Stinging Nettles A standard practice of flogging oneself with the fresh nettle plant, called urtification, was prescribed to treat such illnesses as chronic rheumatism, lethargy, coma, paralysis, and even typhus, and cholera. This practice of urtification is known to many cultures and has been used for thousands of years. The Roman soldiers are said to have brought their own nettle to the British Isles to treat their tired, painful legs on long marches in the cold and wet climate by urtification, thus stimulating the circulation. Documentation or anecdotal reports of its use in this way have been found among the Ecuador Indians, ancient Romans, and Canadian and American native tribes.”

I went out and collected some stinging nettles and used the on my shoulder and arm. The result was astonishing. They sorted my shoulder more efficiently than the doctor’s pills.

I used them twice a day for about five days I think. But just in case the pain might return through the winter when nettles are not available, I potted a beauty and it grew all winter in the sunlight on the bathroom windowsill. I simply had to warn our guests of its presence.

As my nettle plant and I became friends, I used it even if I felt a faint twinge in my arm or shoulder, and also I found other uses for it. For cuts, bruises or under skin bleeds on my hands from bumping them as happens to older people, sticking it into my friendly nettle, accelerated healing.

The scientific explanation is that the body responds to the sting by rushing naturally produced hormones and anti inflammatory chemicals to the site. The site happens to be your wound, or pain which gets sorted out as well. Simples! And it works!



Author: Elizabeth

I'm someone also pounding the Path, just like you.

3 thoughts on “In praise of stinging nettles

  1. I have known about this for years. I might try it on my shoulder next time it plays up.

    It is a fallacy that Nettles only grow on fertile soil. They grow anywhere.


  2. Pingback: Baking Soda/Bi-Carb – did you know? | The Last Furlong

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