You would do well not to overlook this plant while walking in the countryside, for the consequences are quite painful.
The hollow stinging hairs called trichomes on the leaves and stems break when they come into contact with human skin and inject a tiny but extremely effective dose of a toxic nitrogenous substance into your body. This sets off a histamine reaction accompanied by itching and red spots on the skin. In a nutshell, this is what we call a nettle sting.
In some cultures, nettle whipping is a traditional treatment to boost blood circulation and metabolism. People who suffer from rheumatism and local blood circulation problems can whip the aching parts of their body, and with a little endurance they soon feel the nettle’s miraculous effect.
Young people logically tend to avoid direct contact with fresh nettles. The complementary effect of boosting metabolism is secured by the psychosomatic effect of the central nervous system on adrenal glands, which shed a tear of catecholamine stress hormones in the bloodstream.
The poisonous nitrogen substances contained in miniature protective spines, which break in a wound, decompose when heat-treated in temperatures of over 60 °C/140ºF.
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