Everybody knows the stinging nettle, despite its unspectacular appearance. The fact that its leaves are edible, and can be used as a wholesome potherb, is no longer ‘esoteric’ knowledge, either. But few people realize that the roots are useful, too - the Greeks and Romans used them to tenderize meat.
Nettles seem to grow anywhere and everywhere, giving the impression that they must be virtually indestructible. They are, in fact, sensitive to deep freezes. Nettles are valuable warrior plants: they grow most prolifically where the soil has been over-fertilized with nitrates and they can also ‘detox’ sites that are polluted with heavy metals.
Nettle root extract makes a good hair rinse to promote healthy hair growth. The roots (and leaves) have anti-bacterial properties that can soothe inflammation of the scalp, which can sometimes be the cause of hair loss.
Modern research has also confirmed the traditional use of the root extract: for Combined with Saw Palmetto, Nettle root extract is said to be effective for treating an enlarged prostate gland. (Kregiel et. al, 2018)
In magical herbalism, Stinging Nettles are regarded as protective -their stings were thought to ward off negative, or demonic energies, and to protect against fires. They were hung above doors or sown into amulets. Farmers hung them up in the barn to keep their cattle safe and the milk from going off. Nettles are associated with Maundy Thursday, the holy day of the thunder god Thor, and with the Summer Solstice.