The Last Furlong

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MY Urtication studies


I was going tell you today what people do with using nettles for pain

They don’t tell the doctor, in case he laughs at them. Link

Nettle-people sometimes share their knowledge with trustworthy friends and often have secret stashes of stinging nettles growing in their gardens or on their windowsills.

Because nettle-people have the strange habit of urtication in which they beat themselves with little clumps of nettle leaves, they avoid discussing it, knowing that normal people would think they were in the company of loonies.

So the several thousand-year old knowledge, is not being networked. Not being shared. But there is no doubt that urtication reduces pain. In some literature the non believers say us nettle-people are just noticing the main pain less because of the nettle pain.

But that is not true.

The body pumps out anti-allergens and anti-inflammatory chemicals to the site of the nettle sting (which we place on the site of the pain) – and voila! – the pain recedes. The main pain gets mistaken for the nettle pain and the body is tricked.


It takes twenty-four to forty-eight hours to reduce the inflammation. Urtication isn’t an instant pain reliever and it isn’t a ‘cure’.

Nettles like moist rich soil and shade. There are good stingers and weak stingers. Nettle-people test their nettles first. Naturally nettle-people like good stingers. It’s worth the effort to pot a plant that we know will work. A good sting can last twenty-four hours. Your nettle plant will grow all winter, inside.

Use the leaves still attached to the cut branch and wash the branch under running water – especially if you have picked it from outside. Do NOT soak it. Wear gloves or hold it with kitchen/loo paper ‘handle’ wrapped around the stalk.

Aim for your pain – or the closest you can get, and smack. The first time is a shock. That only happens the first time. Smack some more so the area of your pain is covered.

Rules for new nettle-people

  1. Try a nettle sting on your inner wrist BEFORE you try urtication, in case you are extra allergic.
  2. Use a little branch/bunch of leaves. A branch is not a bough!
  3. Urticate at least once a day. Twice is better.
  4. Don’t be a wimp – afterwards you will experience a mood lift as serotonin clocks in.

Here is a page listing of all my stinging nettle posts on this site and my other site.

The Last Furlong Nettle posts.

Life on an alien planet Nettle posts.






Patent –


Notes on Urtication

If you are game to try and you do find that you get relief from brushing the skin over your painful joint with fresh Nettle leaf and so you want to adopt it as your medicine then you need to be aware of the following points
a) do not wash the treated area with cold water for the rest of the day or the pleasant warmth and relief from pain will be replaced by an unpleasant burning sensation (will be fine to wash after 8 hours)
b) do the treatment daily for no more than 3 days and then take a break for at least 2-3 days otherwise you will become desensitised to its effects (conversely doing this on/off approach should cause you to become increasingly responsive to the treatment as your joint gets more blood flow and the tissues make progress with their attempt to self-heal.




Pollard and Briggs [7] describe the method in which the nettle delivers a sting. The leaf of the nettle is covered in tiny hairs (trichomes) each of which has a rounded tip. The end of each hair is very brittle because of high silicon content. When brushed, the rounded tip snaps off obliquely, turning the hair into the functional equivalent of a small hypodermic syringe. This penetrates the skin allowing toxins at the base of the hair to be injected. The toxin delivered contains a range of chemicals including histamine, serotonin, LTC 4, and acetylcholine [8,9]. Fu et al. [10] note there may be other, as yet, unidentified compounds that contribute to the longevity of the sting. For some individuals, this can last beyond 12 hours. If the analgesic effect is as long lived, then this could be of clinical significance.

The sting induces wheal, flare, and C fiber discharge [9,11]. The description of nettle sting has been reported as a prickling, burning, and for some an itching sensation [11]. Randall et al. [3,6] have undertaken several studies assessing the effect of nettle sting on musculoskeletal symptoms. The first consisted of a qualitative study exploring various aspects of use in a group of 18 subjects already self-treating with nettle stings [3]. Subjects had a variety of long-term musculoskeletal conditions resulting in pain. The study explored a number of interesting issues with these patients but of most relevance to this report is the finding that all but one of the subjects gained good short-term relief of symptoms from nettles. It must be remembered, however, that this group of patients were self-selecting having been recruited from radio and newspaper advertisements.

In a follow-up double-blind, cross-over trial, they assessed nettle leaf sting vs a visually similar placebo leaf in 27 subjects with chronic base of thumb pain [6]. Subjects applied either the placebo leaf or nettle leaf to the base of the symptomatic thumb once a day for a week. Subjects were told that two types of nettle leaf were being tested and that a mild stinging sensation was often associated with the treatment. After the treatment week, there was a 5-week washout before the next week of treatment using the other leaf. The key outcome measures were pain (visual analog scale) and disability (Stanford Health Assessment Questionnaire). After 2 days use, pain in the nettle group was lower than the placebo leaf group. At 1 week, pain and disability levels in the group using the stinging nettle leaf were markedly less than the placebo leaf. This reached statistical significance but the clinical significance of the difference was not discussed. At the end of the study, 17 of the subjects reported they would like to use stinging nettles in the future.

Like so many pain-relieving strategies, the exact neurophysiology underlying symptom reduction is not fully understood [6,12]. Much clearer is that numerous societies throughout history have developed treatments that cause mild pain or irritation to ease a more severe pain [13]. In modern times, these treatment approaches are often referred to as counterirritants. The most commonly cited explanation for counterirritant analgesia is the phenomena of “diffuse noxious inhibitory controls”[14]. This is primarily a centrally mediated process and has been the focus of much research over the last 20–30 years. More recent research findings suggest that the peripheral nervous system may also have its own system contributing to counterirritant analgesia [15,16].

It is of interest to note that many modern physical treatment techniques also cause a degree of mild pain or irritation. Proponents of these techniques give a variety of explanations for their effect including: breaking down scar tissue, repositioning subluxed joints or altering energy flows. Perhaps rather that altering the mechanical properties of tissues these approaches are utilizing the same neurophysiological mechanisms accessed by generations of healers and therapists before them. This is not a new suggestion and Le Bars and Willer [17] allude to a similar proposition in relation to acupuncture induced analgesia.

Author: Elizabeth

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

2 thoughts on “MY Urtication studies

  1. *bookmarked page for future reference* thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The best medicine so far – Sciatica | The Last Furlong

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