Stinging Nettle and the ups, downs of this invasive species

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo (KBSI) – In the woods, down a winding creek in southern Missouri you will find a prickly, flowering stem with pointed leaves on it. Careful not to touch it or you might regret it.

“It’s just a plant that’s misunderstood,” said Jamie Koehler, the Missouri Department of Conservation Assistant Manager.

Stinging Nettle is a common plant with different abilities to its character.

“It’s really quite a nutritious and very useful plant,” said Koehler.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, the nettle is useful for seasonal allergies and arthritis.

“Parents of small children that don’t really want to get into prescribed medication for shots or anything like that, but they have kids who really suffer in the spring,” said Koehler.

Stinging Nettle can be useful in making teas for seasonal allergies.

“I’ve seen research and photographs that showed almost instant relief for those kids. Just by having a cup of tea.” said Koehler.

Other medicinal uses are for diabetes or hay fever.

“You can cook it, teas, tinctures,” said Stacey Roth from Glass Gardens. “You can make like a topical ointment for it.”

You can cook the nettle in many different ways.

“You can put them in any kind of recipe that calls for spinach,” said Koehler.

Harvesting these nettles is tricky. Be sure to use gloves, as the needles of the nettle leave a nasty sting and rash to them, but it only lasts up to 24 hours.

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