Specification & Spread
Nettle leaves — folia urticae
Common nettle — Urtica dioica L.
Nettle family — Urticaceae
Other names: bindi, awnchaff, bindi-eye, dead-nettle,stinging nettle, white nettle.
It is a perennial herbaceous dioecious plant 60-170 cm tall which is densely covered with burning hairs.
The rhizome is creeping and branched. The stems are erect, tetrahedral and unbranched.
The leaves are opposite, long-petiolate, 7–17 cm long, 2–8 cm wide, broadly or narrowly ovate and large-toothed along the edge. The flowers are small and unisexual. It has a simple four-part greenish perianth. It is gathered in apical leafy inflorescences - thirsses.
The fruit is a nutlet.
It blooms in June - August, the fruits ripen in August - September.
Spreading. It grows throughout the country, with the exception of the Far North, as a ruderal and weed plant. It is almost cosmopolitan plant and it is actively reproduced.
Habitat. It grows on fertile, nitrogen-rich soils, in shady places, near dwellings, along river banks, in littered places, at campsites, in damp forests. It mostly forms continuous commercial thickets.
Nettle leaves have a rich multivitamin composition. It contains vitamins such as:
- K1 (200 mg%),
- ascorbic acid (270 mg%),
- pantothenic acid (vitamin B5),
- carotenoids (50 mg%),
- glycoside urticin,
- organic acids,
- nitrogenous substances,
- chlorophyll (2-5%),
- iron salts,
- silicon and other substances.
Harvesting and storage of raw materials
Harvesting. The leaves are harvested in the flowering phase. The above-ground part is cut with a sickle or a knife. It is pressed for 2-3 hours, then the leaves are torn off. Among pure thickets, nettle is mowed. The harvesting and processing of the raw materials is carried out in canvas mittens.
The inadmissible species for harvesting are stinging nettle and hemp nettle. Stinging nettle (Urtica urens L.) is a weed and an annual ruderal and monoecious plant 40-50 cm tall. The leaves are elliptical or ovate, 4-5 cm long with a rounded wedge-shaped base.
Hemp nettle (Urtica cannabina L.) is a perennial herb 50-150 cm tall. The leaves are deeply 3-5-dissected with pinnacular incisions. It is very similar to nettle leaves, but do not have stinging hairs. Snakeflower or dead-nettle leaves (Lamium album L.), there are plants from labiate family - Lamiaceae. The flowers of dead-nettle are bisexual, white and have a two-lipped corolla 2 cm long.
Security measures. Due to the enormous resources of nettle, no special measures are required. It is necessary to alternate the places of harvesting.
Drying. The nettle leaves are dried in dryers at a temperature of 40-50 ºС or in attics, under canopies, spreading a layer of 3-5 cm on fabric or paper. After drying, blackened and brown leaves, stems, and flowers are removed. The leaves are thin and easily crushed. The end of the drying is determined by the fragility of the stalks.
Storage. It is stored in a dry and dark place. It is packed in bales or bags.
External signs of raw materials
Whole raw materials
The leaves are whole or partially crushed, simple, petiolate, up to 10 (12) cm long and up to 6 cm wide. It is broadly or narrowly ovoid, acuminate, usually heart-shaped at the base. The edges are sharp and coarsely serrate with the teeth bent to the apex. The surface of the leaf is rough hairy, especially many hairs along the leaf veins.
In cross-section the petioles are rounded or semi-rounded with a groove on the upper side of the petiole which is covered with hairs. The leaf colour is dark green, the petioles are green. The smell is weak. The taste is bitter.
Milled raw materials
The pieces of leaves have various shapes passing through a sieve with holes of 7 mm in diameter.
The colour of the raw material is dark green.
The smell is weak.
The taste is bitter.
Properties and application
Pharmacotherapeutic group. K-vitamin and hemostatic agent.
The pharmacological properties of nettle
Nettle leaf preparations have hemostatic properties that are associated with the presence of vitamin K and chlorophyll in the plant.
Herbal nettle preparations have stimulating effect on the contractile activity of the uterus.
- strengthen the activity of the digestive glands,
- reduce flatulence,
- have choleretic properties,
- reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.
Vitamins, chlorophyll and iron salts:
- stimulate erythropoiesis,
- increase hemoglobin and basal metabolic rate,
- improve mucosal regeneration,
- activate the cardiovascular system and gas exchange.
Nettle has a general tonic effect.
Biologically active substances from the roots of nettle:
- affect metabolic processes,
- reduce the proliferation of prostate cells,
- inhibit the progression of an enlarged prostate gland, thereby preventing the processes of inflammation.
Application of nettle
Nettle leaves have hemostatic effect with:
- gastrointestinal and
- hemorrhoidal bleeding.
Nettle is indicated for overdosing of indirect anticoagulants. Nettle leaves are a part of the medicinal fees. Recently, the preparations from nettle roots have been widely used for the treatment of non-infectious chronic prostatitis and prostate adenoma.
It is contradicted with individual intolerance, hypercoagulation, bleeding (for diseases requiring surgical intervention and tumors); pregnancy; child age up to 12 years.
It is used with caution in renal failure.