Stinging Nettle is a herbaceous flowering plant found in Europe, Asia, northern Africa, North America and apparently my back yard. The leaves and stems are covered with brittle, hollow, silky hairs that contain three chemicals, i.e., histamine, acetylcholine and serotonin. The histamine irritates skin and the acetylcholine causes a burning sensation acting as a neurotransmitter in both the peripheral and central nervous system. I'm not sure what the serotonin does. When you accidentally grab the plant as I did today in the broccoli patch while weeding, the tiny plant hairs act like syringes, injecting you with these three chemicals.
I've encountered stinging nettle before but never felt pain like I did today. And the pain simply was not going away 4 hours later. Ten hours and 50 mg of Benadryl later on the Wong-Baker pain scale:
I'm a 4. Whats up with that? Obviously, I've had a freakishly severe reaction.
Someone suggested I buy my broccoli at Publix as she hears it's good this time of year.
In reading about this little plant I've learned some interesting things. For instance, if applied to an area of intense pain such as my arthritic toe it helps relieve that arthritic pain. Scientists think nettle does this by reducing levels of inflammatory chemicals in the body, and by interfering with the way the body transmits pain signals. My theory is you are in so much pain from the nettle injections that you can no longer feel your arthritic toe.
I might be tempted to try it on my toe if I didn't think I would lapse in to an anaphylactic coma after the application.
Stinging Nettle is also edible and supposedly tastes like
I'll stick with spinach.
Has anyone else encountered this plant?