The Charm of Nine Herbs (4) Nettle

Website of poet Elizabeth Rimmer

The Charm of Nine Herbs (4) Nettle

December 6, 2016 Half a Hundred Herbs 2


Nettle this is called * powerful against sickness.

It drives out pain * it is powerful against sickness.

This is the herb * that fought with the serpent,

It has might against poison, * might against infection,

might against the evil one * who wanders the land.

No controversy about this one – everyone agrees that ‘stiÞe’ is nettle, and all the herbal traditions agree that it is powerful against fevers and inflammation – notoriously used against rheumatism by Roman soldiers – good for the kidneys, and a very useful antihistamine. In many countries the fibres from nettles were used to make a thread that could be woven like linen, ropes, or fishing nets. I have not found any reference to a herb that ‘fought with the serpent’ anywhere, so I can’t account for that, but Grieve says that nettles planted around beehives will deter frogs. I can’t say I ever thought frogs might be a problem, but there you go.


2 Responses

  1. Cora Greenhill says:

    I’d prefer frogs to nettles in my garden – but nettles are supposed to be great for the compost heap – what to do?

    • Elizabeth says:

      They are! And you can make nettle tea for a liquid feed for vegetables, which doesn’t smell quite so foul as comfrey. I have a nettle amnesty in a wild corner, for orange tip butterflies, but if you can’t bear that, they are supposed to doe out if you cut them down three times in a season.

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