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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Someone on another forum asked about stinging nettles and their treatment.<br><br>
I replied with what I knew about treatment for the intense burning caused by the acid-injecting hairs on this amazing plant.<br><br>
Ds was looking over my shoulder as I typed. He asked me what it felt like when you get touched by nettles.<br><br>
I told him I was lucky, I'd never been stung by them, so I couldn't say.<br><br>
Ds: "Well, then, how do you know those cures you told that lady about really work?"<br><br>
Hmmmmm, the boy makes a valid point. I was telling her only what I knew from books. How could I give advice if I didn't know from personal experience? ((Yes, I know how to treat a rattlesnake bite without wearing the scars of their two teeth. But, still...........))<br><br>
Me: "You know what? You're right! Let's go to the nettle patch in the meadow and try an experiment! I'll brush them against my arm and we'll see which treatment works, okay?"<br><br>
Ds is always up for one of our numerous field trips into the meadow or woods to learn something new about Nature!! And, hey, if Mom wants to get stung by nettles in the process, cool, that's even better!<br><br>
We looked-up nettles in our various books and write down the different suggested remedies. We gather Plantain tincture, vinegar and baking soda. We know, exactly, where in the garden we have plantain, sage, rosemary and mint plants.<br><br>
We mark 1" ball point pen circles on the insides of both my forearms (wouldn't that softer skin show the reaction better?) and label them with what we will use for treatment. One is left unmarked, as the control (ouch, NO treatment for that circle). <i>Um, why am I doing this?? Oh, yeah, education.....</i><br><br>
So, off we go to our meadow. It is a beautiful day, hot with a couple of picture-perfect white clouds floating on the brilliant blue sky. The red-tailed hawk pair are soaring with their two young (their nest is in a huge pine on our property) and calling to each each other in their high-pitched mewing cry. Walking through the dry native grasses (we have had just a couple of days of rain in over three months of hot temperatures), grasshoppers bounce this way and that through the drying native grasses, scattering as we invade their territory. A territory we are happy to grant them if they leave our garden alone! We see great numbers of brown pellets, evidence of the white tailed deer that live all around us. A nearby snort alerts us to a doe warning her twin fawns that we are here. A downy woodpecker hammers on one of the huge cottonwoods in its never-ending search for bugs hidden in the rough bark.<br><br>
Ah, there it is, a beautiful HUGE patch of stinging nettles, tucked-in and around some small boulders, reminders of the turn-of-the-last-century homesteaders that cleared part of our property and planted a bulb farm in what is now, again, a native meadow. They are very pretty, graceful plants, sharing their space with stiff yellow mullein spikes, blushing wild roses and the last golden blooms of St. John's Wort. We have never tried to eradicate this patch as it is not in our way. I have seen the deer nibble on them in the Spring. They come up early, the snow still on the ground surrounding it. It grows faster than many of the other plants and they are rich in minerals. The deer must like their bit of Spring tonic when they munch on them!<br><br>
As we approach our target, I remind myself, "I am learning more about medicinal plants, this experiment intrigues me, I am learning more about medicinal plants, this experiment intrigues me" (this mantra does not calm me as much as I hoped! I am a little nervous at what I am about to do! I mean, what type of idiot does this type of thing <span style="text-decoration:underline;">on purpose</span>?? Wait, please, don't answer that........).<br><br>
Ds climbs up on one of the rocks and watches, with more glee than I would like. But, before I touch the draping, hypodermic plants, he touches my hand and asks (ah, his heart wins out over intrigue), "Mom, do we have Benadryl in the house, just in case this turns out to be a bad experiment?"<br><br>
I assure that we do and that it will be fine.<br><br>
Gritting my teeth and bracing myself, I carefully pick a leaf with my fingertips and rub it against my arm in one of the already-designated circles. Hmmm, no pain. Did I do it correctly? I pinch another leaf and rub harder, over the same spot. Okay, a little sting (hardly anything to warrant the fear this plant inspires, perhaps it's just my high threshold for pain?). I continue to do this double-leaf rub on each of the other circles. Plus, I rub against the stems, just to make sure that I make contact with all the parts of the plant, save the roots.<br><br>
Okay, part one of the experiment, "CONTACT", is over. I feel a little, light buzzing sensation on my arms. More like a small fly walking on them than anything. Still, no pain.<br><br>
We walk back to the house. Hmmm, oh, look! There <span style="text-decoration:underline;">are</span> small bumps beginning (hey, maybe I'll have a little rash after all!). Ds's reaction, "Oh, cool, you can actually see them forming!" Yes, it is cool, isn't it (would <span style="text-decoration:underline;">you</span> like to try it next??).<br><br>
Funny, the buzzing feels a little stronger now, more like an incredibly bad sunburn. Nothing I can't handle, heh-heh-heh... ((Is that stress sweat forming on my upper lip......?))<br><br>
Okay, we're back at the house. We apply the various "cures" to the various designated circles. Plantain tincture, vinegar, baking soda paste, chew-up leaves of spearmint, plantain, rosemary and sage.<br><br>
Hey, let's not get anything on that control spot!! Don't want to make it feel good, do we, heh-heh-heh... Why is <span style="text-decoration:underline;">that</span> really not all that funny?<br><br>
Wow, this really <span style="text-decoration:underline;">does</span> sting, doesn't it? I wonder if alcohol would help? (You know, internally, for medicinal purposes only, of course.... Nah, then I'd have a headache AND stinging arms...sigh........)<br><br>
Hmmm, is it supposed to throb <span style="text-decoration:underline;">THIS</span> much? ((Geez, I must tell that woman on the other forum how REALLY sorry I feel for her!))<br><br>
Interesting, my wrists are actually getting wider. And, redder. Wow, those bumps now have blisters. This is really interesting. And, painful. No, not painful. It's PAINFUL!!!! Damn! Why do I do this sh*t to myself???<br><br>
((No, dear, it's perfectly okay to use those words when you are in agony. No, I didn't say that in childbirth. That was work, this is PAIN. Yes, you may go play on the computer..............Wait, would you please get me a Dr. Pepper first?))<br><br>
Well, all the chewed-up leaves feel the best (guess I've got good spit and good plants). The tincture, nothing. The vinegar stings (no worse than the nettles). The baking soda also feels pretty good (neutralizing the acid, I surmise).<br><br>
We (ahem, I) did these courses of treatment for about a half hour. Both the baking soda and leaves worked the best at relieving the stinging pain (particularly the spearmint). The buzzing increased to a full-fledged, painful STINGING and the bumps grew to be 1/4" in diameter (until they spread together, forming, in some spots, welts more than 1" in diameter!!). When I rub nettles in, I do a GREAT job!!<br><br>
The redness continued for several hours and today, though the redness is gone, there are still a few small blisters and a slight stinging sensation when the areas affected are touched.<br><br>
So, the Great Nettles Experiment is over.<br><br>
If you ever get into a patch, accidentally (I don't recommend doing this experiment), try chewing some spearmint (peppermint would work well, too, I suppose. But, I'm not going to the nettle patch again, just to confirm my theory) or plantain leaves and applying the poultice to the area. I'd say leave it on longer than I did, as well.<br><br>
Praying mantis love and death. Black widows. Nettles. Did I ever post about getting bit by a garter snake on purpose to see what it felt like? Dissecting a freshly-caught gopher or the putting the dead bird in the ant hill to de-flesh it (and, later, having todig it up)? Or, getting stung by a bee, so ds could see what their stinger looked like as it pumped the venom? ((I still feel bad that I caused the demise of a bee.))<br><br>
Oh, the things we do for education...........
 

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although i am sorry for the pain that you endured for the sake of education, i am really enjoying reading your commentary, i love your style!<br><br>
do you blog? if not, you should!
 

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Next time try sand, just rub into the affected area.<br><br>
That is if there is a next time. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/mischievous.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="mischief">:<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
And remember nettle love perfect soil.
 

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I've had a few run ins with stinging nettle though not on purpose. I have a great deal of sympathy for you; that stuff burns like crazy. I also enjoyed your writing style.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sand, huh? Well, IF there IS a next time, I'll give it a whirl!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">:<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>And remember nettle love perfect soil.</i></td>
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That I do know. The soil in our meadow is exquisite. Back at the beginning of the 1900's, part of our property (including the meadow) was a bulb farm. The folks that owned it cleared all the rocks out and the soil was fertilized with manure.<br><br>
The farm existed into the 1930's and was then sold to the folks from whom dh bought this land before we married. They allowed Nature to reclaim the land and the native grasses took over. There are still bulbs that come up all over the property each Spring (mainly fox-tail lillies, they are beautiful. We have, probably, well over three hundred scattered all over!).<br><br>
When dh bought the land and we began building in January 1996 (we married in September 1996). The first thing we did was have some of the meadow tilled under for our garden and orchard. The soil is incredible, dark & rich & not a rock to be seen for four feet down!! We have had folks ask if they could buy our soil (we always say no!).<br><br>
So, the nettles thrive along with the wild roses, SJW, mullein, and all the wild grasses. Dh has planted larch all over and they are now well over 18' tall. We have also planted apple, peach and cherry trees out around the large meadow for the wildlife. Over the years, he planted over 4,000 daffodils, as well. But, the native grasses overtook most of them, so we only have around 500 bloom each Spring. However, they are different varieties, so they bloom at different times. It's nice, we have almost two months of yellow and white in the meadow!<br><br>
I'll remember the sand.................... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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WOW sounds like a beautiful place <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">:<br><br>
The reason behind the sand is it scrapes out the little hairs of the nettles stuck in your skin. Who knows maybe its an old wives tale but I thought it worked.<br><br>
Your quite the mom <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/bow.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="bow">:
 

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I have heard that the antidote is the sap in the nettle stem. Slice open the stem and rub that on your nettle contact.<br><br>
I have been stung by nettles and have always gotten those little blisters, and I JUST found out about the antidote, although I haven't tried it-- could you? ;-)
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kidspiration</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9053276"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">although i am sorry for the pain that you endured for the sake of education, i am really enjoying reading your commentary, i love your style!<br><br>
do you blog? if not, you should!</div>
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Yeah that! I really enjoy reading your posts. They are incredibly interesting and entertaining.<br><br>
My MIL (who lives in England where they have tons of stinging nettles) says that there's some plant that's supposed to grow right near them and it's an antidote. There's an idea that where you find naturally toxic plants, a natural antidote grows along side it. I cannot remember the name of the nettle antidote. I just remember that it's short and it has broad leaves. I don't know if it just happens in England or whatnot. I wish I remember what it was called.<br><br>
Anyway, I'm super impressed that you touched nettles on purpose for scientific discovery!
 

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I ditto the nettle sap as a remedy! The nettles hurt extra this time of year... they hurt less in the springtime when they are new. The kids and I pick them bare handed every spring... I secretly love the stinging buzz I get in my hands! I have contemplated using it on purpose when I have bad arthritis flares! great story!
 

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Dockleaf! My husband says the plant I referenced in my pp is called dockleaf. I'm not sure if it grows next to nettles outside of England. And he said it never really did much for him.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>LeftField</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9056001"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Dockleaf! My husband says the plant I referenced in my pp is called dockleaf. I'm not sure if it grows next to nettles outside of England. And he said it never really did much for him.</div>
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Dockweed grows near me (southern Canada). If it grows here it would likely also grow in at least the northern states.<br>
Another pair of plants the OP could experiment with is Poison Ivy and Jewel Weed - the Jewel Weed is an anidote to Poison Ivy and they are often growing within sight of each other.<br><br>
Karen
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>LeftField</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9056001"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Dockleaf! My husband says the plant I referenced in my pp is called dockleaf. I'm not sure if it grows next to nettles outside of England. And he said it never really did much for him.</div>
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yes dockleaf does help, but you have to squeeze the juice of the root onto the sting.<br><br>
My 3 yr old told me the other day that when nettles have the little white flower on them, they dont sting. She then made me stand in the middle of them and was right...whos teaching who here?<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Great post by the way..loved reading it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I appreciate all your kind comments on my posting. It's really nice of you to say!<br><br>
We DO live in a beautiful and wild place, in NE Washington state. We are surrounded by mountains on all sides and have a wide valley below our home. Our property has both prairie and forest ecology. To the north, the hill above our home has tall pines (where the red-tailed hawks nested this year) and native grasses (and is ablaze with golden St. John's Wort from mid-June through late-August) that I look at while I am on the computer. We find owl pellets under these tall pines every time we go looking for them. In the late evening, as the sun is completely behind the mountains to the west, we watch the great horned owls fly to these trees before they start their nightly hunt. Up there, a bachelor badger has its den and we have noticed a major drop in ground squirrels since his/her arrival!<br><br>
Right now, as I type, this same hill and the grasses covering it are a lovely shade of apricot pink! There is an 8000 acre fire on the reservation to the west (miles and miles away on the other side of the mountain range) and the setting sun is shining through the haze in the air. The sky behind it is to the northeast and is that shade of blue that only Maxfield Parrish could create (cobalt to navy). It looks like something out of a fantasy story or a dream with its other worldliness appearance.<br><br>
I love living here.....................<br><br>
Isn't blogging where you keep a sort of on-line diary?? With our activities, it's a wonder I have time to post on MDC as much as I do!!! Nah, I'll just keep it coming to you folks here in this hs forum. I'm glad you like our adventures!<br><br>
((Though, I must admit, our science-experiment disposal day today was sort-of gross. In other words, we cleaned-out the refrigerator!!! But, my-oh-my, it sure does look pretty now!!!))<br><br>
Thanks for the mention of using dock. I need to see if any is growing nearby our botanical adversary! If there is, I will, in the interests of science, try the nettles again and this possible remedy! Just a few red marks are left on my arms tonight and the stinging stopped completely by this morning.<br><br>
Tomorrow, I am making calendula cream. I'll give it a whirl, as well, with the nettles.<br><br>
Thanks for reading and, again, thanks for your kind comments!!
 

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Will you be my mom? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Hope everything returns to normal on your arm! I rolled in some nettle once and now have a couple scars on my stomach from them....raised ones like you would get with chicken pox or something. That might have been due to my overzealous itching more than anything though. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>momto l&a</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9053484"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">And remember nettle love perfect soil.</div>
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So I need to move the horse to the garden plot and put my garden in the pasture.... Doh.
 

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You are inspiring--your DS is really lucky, both for where he's growing up and for his mom!<br>
And thanks for the info! Twice I've been stung by nettle and both times vinegar worked fairly well, but we have plenty of mint in the yard so I will try that next time.<br>
Plus you've made me finally learn the word for "ortie" in English (which is my native language, btw <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">). I knew it wasn't poison ivy but wasn't sure what we called it in English.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>grahamsmom98</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9058053"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I appreciate all your kind comments on my posting. It's really nice of you to say!<br><br>
We DO live in a beautiful and wild place, in NE Washington state. We are surrounded by mountains on all sides and have a wide valley below our home. Our property has both prairie and forest ecology. To the north, the hill above our home has tall pines (where the red-tailed hawks nested this year) and native grasses (and is ablaze with golden St. John's Wort from mid-June through late-August) that I look at while I am on the computer. We find owl pellets under these tall pines every time we go looking for them. In the late evening, as the sun is completely behind the mountains to the west, we watch the great horned owls fly to these trees before they start their nightly hunt. Up there, a bachelor badger has its den and we have noticed a major drop in ground squirrels since his/her arrival!<br><br>
Right now, as I type, this same hill and the grasses covering it are a lovely shade of apricot pink! There is an 8000 acre fire on the reservation to the west (miles and miles away on the other side of the mountain range) and the setting sun is shining through the haze in the air. The sky behind it is to the northeast and is that shade of blue that only Maxfield Parrish could create (cobalt to navy). It looks like something out of a fantasy story or a dream with its other worldliness appearance.<br><br>
I love living here.....................<br></div>
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You are making me very homesick <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/bawling.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="bawl">
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/spitdrink.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="spitdrink"> I seriously almost peed myself! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 
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