Nettle is a perennial plant that thrives in woodlands and other shady areas throughout Europe and eastern North America. It is also called stinging nettle because the leaves are lined with stinging hairs that inject histamine into the skin when handled or brushed against, although they readily drop off when introduced to hot water or steam. Nettle is one of the first herbs to emerge in early spring and because the leaves are rich in calcium and other nutrients, it is considered a valuable tonic herb. While whole leaves are cooked like spinach or roasted to make crisp snack chips, dried nettle is used in teas or simply sprinkled into cooked foods and smoothies.
Nettle, also known as stinging nettle, is a perennial herb native to Europe, Africa and North America. As the common name implies, the plant is armed with hair-like stingers that inject histamine and other inflammatory chemicals when brushed against.
Nettle leaf has a long history of use as a food crop (the stingers fall off in hot water) and today we know that the herb is highly nutritious. The dried leaf is commonly used in herbal tea blends, although it is also frequently encapsulated or tinctured.