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Urtica dioica facts for kids

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Stinging nettle
Brennnessel.jpg
Urtica dioica subsp. dioica
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Urtica dioica

Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) are a type of plant which have stinging defensive hairs. Stinging nettles can be found in America, Europe and in Asia.

The hairs inject histamine and other chemicals that produce a stinging sensation when contacted by humans and other animals. The plant has been used as medicine, food, and fibre. Soaking stinging nettles in water or cooking removes the stinging chemicals from the plant, which allows them to be handled and eaten without injury.

Nettle sting mechanism and treatment

A Stinging nettle produce its inflammatory effect on skin (a stinging, burning sensation) both by impaling the skin via the little spines causing irritation – and by chemical irritants.

Anti-itch drugs, usually in the form of creams containing antihistamines or hydrocortisone, may provide relief from nettle dermatitis.

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