This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
COMMON NAME. Great Stinging Nettle.
MEDICINAL PARTS. The root and leaves.
Description. -- This is a perennial, herbaceous, dull-green plant, armed with small prickles, which emit an acrid fluid when pressed. The stem is from two to four feet high; root creeping and branching. The leaves are opposite, cordate, lance-ovate, and conspicuously acuminate. Flowers are small and green.
History. -- The Common Nettle is well known both in America and in Europe, and grows in waste places, beside hedges and in gardens, flowering from June to September. The leaves and root are the parts used. The prickles of the Common Nettle contain Formic Acid. The young shoots have been boiled and eaten as a remedy for scurvy.
Properties and Uses. -- It is astringent, tonic, and diuretic. In decoction they are valuable in diarrhoea, dysentery, and piles; also in hemorrhages, scorbutic and febrile affections, gravel, and other nephritic complaints. The leaves of the fresh Common Nettle stimulate, inflame, and raise blisters upon those portions of the skin to which they may be applied, and they have, as a natural consequence, often been used as a powerful rubefacient. They are also an excellent styptic, checking the flow of blood from surfaces almost immediately upon their application. The seeds and flowers are given in wine for agues.
Dose. -- Of the powdered root or leaves, from twenty to forty grains; of the decoction from two to four fluid ounces.
URTICA URENS, or Dwarf Nettle, possesses similar qualities, and is very efficacious in uterine hemorrrhage.
URTICA PAMILA, Cool-weed, Rich-weed, or Stingless Nettle, has also active properties. It gives relief in inflammations, painful swellings, erysipelas, and the topical poison of rhus.