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Why do nettles sting?


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Answered 2008-08-22 15:34:45

Nettles (Urtica dioica) sting to protect themselves, the question that you should be asking is How do nettles sting? Well, now you asked... The stinging structure of the nettle is very similar to the hypodermic needle although it predates that man-made invention by millions of years! Each sting is actually a hollow hair stiffened by silica with a swollen base that contains the venom. The tip of this hair is very brittle and when brushed against, no matter how lightly, it breaks off exposing a sharp point that penetrates the skin and delivers its stinging payload. It used to be thought that the main constituent of the sting was formic acid - the same chemical used by ants, giving that never forgotten burning sensation that demands to be scratched. Although formic acid is present in the sting, recent research has shown that the main chemicals are histamine, acetylcholine and 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin). A fourth ingredient has yet to be identified. Remember when stung a natural remedy will often be found close at hand. The leaves of the dock contain chemicals that neutralise the sting and also cool the skin.

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Nettles - because they can sting.


having a sting or the capacity to sting; "stinging insects"; "stinging nettles"


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There are commercial products for dabbing on a sting, either from a wasp or bee, or from nettles. A dock leaf or vinegar is a well known home-made remedy.


Dogs noses are covered in a thicker layer of skin, similar to that on the bottoms of their paws. Since the skin is so thick they do not seem to be bothered by stinging nettles as much as they should be.


Nettles are covered with tiny tiny needle like and sharp "hairs" made of silisium. On thin skin, these razorsharp needles cut through your outer protective skin. Further more, inside these silisium needles there is a mix of: histamin, serotonin, acetylkolin, 5-hydroksytryptamin, formic acid, butyric acid and vinegar. The pain is however mostly caused by the acids. Nettles can sting you, but only where skin is very thin. The silisium needles are very very fragile and break off easily. These needles pose no threat in our skin because they are quickly dissolved and absorbed by our body. You can normally pick nettles without getting stinged if only touching the stem. It is the underside of leaves that is most "painful". Topside of leaves do not sting.



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They can help because nettles are fillet with acids and will sting that acid into you so if you rub a Dock leaf on it then it will get better because a dock leaf is filled with an alkali so acid and alkalis togeter become netural so it will get rid of the acids sting


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