Stinging nettles are usually classed as a weed but they have much more about them than people think. They are prominent in America, part of Asia and of course Europe. They grow to around 3 or 4 feet tall and are predominantly green. The common feature is the hairy leaves , the being made of a silica that when when broken by your skin can release histamines irritating the skin. Nettle leaves produce a green dye which was used in war time Europe to make camouflage and is used to this day in Germany to keep canned vegetables looking a healthy green. It is one of the herbs used in the 9 herb charm along with Mugwort, Cockspur Grass, Lambs Cress, Plantain, Mayweed, Crab apple, Thyme and Fennel. Burning it is said to drive away evil spirits and if ground into powder can break curses. Steeping the leaves in boiling water for 10 mins then straining will leave you with a broth or nettle tea the steam will have destroyed the stings. Steamed nettles can also be used as a tasty alternative for any spring greens and are high in vitamins A and C and loaded with iron. No wonder butterflies go mad for them !
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