Touching a nettle plant with bare skin will produce a stinging or burning sensation. Dr. Marina Hurley, who did her PhD work in stinging trees, said a brush with the plant, nicknamed the ‘suicide tree,’ is ‘like being burnt with hot acid and electrocuted at the same time.’, ‘Not only do you feel pain from where you are stung, if it is a really bad sting, within about 20 minutes your lymph nodes under your arms swell and throb painfully,’ Hurley wrote on The Conversation. Reportedly, nettle tea leaves have been a part of ancient medieval medicine for treating and curing a range of diseases including hay fever, bone-related issues, and allergies among others. Overview Information Stinging nettle is a plant. (Of course, if anyone can provide evidence to the contrary, it’d be great to see!). I have also always wondered this. So, you’re out and about, and get stung by a stinging nettle – what do you do? I’m heading out right now, so don’t have time to give it a proper read, but I’ll take a look later on. When the hairs touch skin, the end breaks off and the shaft of the hair sticks into the skin, injecting a toxin in the same way as a hypodermic needle. Other, stranger methods of treating stings have also been suggested. This sounds like a decent theory – but there’s no scientific evidence that dock leaves. Calamine is usually a mixture of zinc oxide and a small amount of iron (III) oxide, and is unsurprisingly the main ingredient in calamine lotion. It never worked for me. In the forests of eastern Australia there are a handful of nettle trees so noxious that signs are commonly placed where humans trample through their habitat. Enjoyed this post & graphic? Urtica dioica, often known as common nettle, stinging nettle (although not all plants of this species sting) or nettle leaf, or just a nettle or stinger, is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant in the family Urticaceae. In the venom, histamine causes inflammation and pain. [Edit: 20/05/2016: Since writing this article, a paper which shows that dock leaf extract can have some effect on serotonin in the nettle sting has been brought to my attention. If you get stung, take a few leaves, crush them into a paste, and put it on the stung area. If you’d like to know more about the plants chemistry check out this cool chart. Available at: http://www.compoundchem.com/2015/06/04/nettles/ (accessed […], […] Side Note: Yes I’m barehanded but it’s likely you should wear gloves, as it does sting and most don’t care for it. Toxin in Australia's 'stinging tree' is comparable to spider venom. Growing up in the US I had only encountered them once and had never heard of them before. The species is divided into six subspecies, five of which have many hollow stinging hairs called trichomes on the leaves and stems, which act like hypodermic needles Notorious stinging trees from Australia cause agonizing pain that can linger for weeks and even months. Whilst formic acid is certainly capable of causing a stinging sensation, and it is present in stinging nettles, it’s now thought that it’s present in too low a concentration to account for the extended pain of a stinging nettle sting. This small, carnivorous stinging nettle commonly grows in mires. The tree’s scientific name is Dendrocnide which literally means ‘stinging tree’ and is a member of the nettle family which can be found in Australia from the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, through to Gympie, Queensland and all the way to the tip of the Cape York Peninsula. The tree’s scientific name is Dendrocnide which literally means ‘stinging tree’—a member of the nettle family which can be found in Australia from the Northern Rivers region of NSW, through Gympie QLD and all the way to the tip of the Cape York Peninsula.. Found all over eastern Australia, the dendrocnide plant is among the most toxic flora on Earth and stings can kill dogs or horses and cause excruciating pain in humans that last weeks, even months. Stinging Nettle Rash. The ‘dock leaves contain antihistamines’ claim is a widespread one – a quick google will show as much – but in all cases it is unsubstantiated, and the trail of breadcrumbs always leads back to the same study which seems to be erroneously referencing a finding that doesn’t exist. It preys mostly on amphibians, fish, and small mammals, though they have been known to attack and kill much larger prey, especially when hunting in groups. We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. It contributes to the detoxification of the urinary tract, and it also contains histamine that may help with seasonal allergies—a condition many … It’s an anti-pruritic (anti-itching) agent, which is commonly applied to insect stings (which we’ve also looked at previously) to ease itching. This graphic sorts the nettle sting remedy fact from the fiction. Stinging nettle is used for diabetes and osteoarthritis. Explorations of everyday chemical compounds. By R. T. BRITTAIN and H. 0. The plant juices relieve the itch almost immediately like magic. However, the toxin in stinging nettle is much stronger than those two plants. In some countries, your immediate reaction would probably be to hunt for a dock leaf to rub on the affected area. The stinging nettle plant can grow well over 10 feet tall and is commonly found in uncultivated areas of moist soil such as pastures, wasteland, and alongside streams. The plant is considered an herbaceous perennial, meaning that it has herbal properties and grows back in the same areas year after year. It’s an anti-pruritic (anti-itching) agent, which is commonly applied to insect stings (. 6. Calamine is usually a mixture of zinc oxide and a small amount of iron (III) oxide, and is unsurprisingly the main ingredient in calamine lotion. The toxin produced by a dangerous ‘stinging tree’ is comparable to a scorpion or spider’s bite, according to a new study. Because the trees’ toxins target a nerve-cell molecule that’s fundamental to our pain response, researching them may also help unlock how to block pain receptors. A stinging hair consists of one stinging cell and surrounding pedestal cells. The Gympie-Gympie tree is the world's most painful stinging nettle Stinging nettle contains its own antidote. The root and above ground parts are used as medicine. I’ve yet to try it myself! Plantain leaves, much like dock leaves, are also a common remedy in some countries, though again, there’s currently no scientific evidence that they have any particular chemical effect. The team discovered the culprit is a new class of toxic miniproteins that has been named ‘gympietides,’ in honor of the Indigenous name for the stinging tree. It is almost 60 years old and it’s only in conference proceedings, but it looks sound and I’ve seen it referenced as true somewhere much more recent, with nothing to contradict it. The nettle species, Urtica dioica, actually encompasses six different subspecies, all but one of which have stinging hairs. Despite it being so widespread, however, there’s still a lot we don’t know about stings from stinging nettles. It is more common in areas with moist soil – which explains its ubiquity in the UK! Hurley said the only way she’d handle the free is wearing a dust mask and thick, padded welding gloves. The ‘dock leaves contain antihistamines’ claim is a widespread one – a quick google will show as much – but in all cases it is unsubstantiated, and the trail of breadcrumbs always leads back to the same study which seems to be erroneously referencing a finding that doesn’t exist. It is covered with tiny little hairs that act as needles that release a toxin when penetrating the skin. Independently, they don’t explain why the effect of a nettle sting is so prolonged. I was prompted to do some research of my own by someone telling me (possibly having heard it from you) that the dock leaf is just a placebo, which I found hard to believe. This is one I’d heard previously too, but again, there’s nothing I’ve come across that suggests any previous scientific investigations into this. There’s no real cure – the hairs are so fine that wax hair removal strips are sometimes used to yank them off. Its efficacy has also been debated at times, and it won’t completely nullify the pain of the nettle sting, but it may help take the edge off. Acetylcholine is another neurotransmitter that can accomplish a similar effect, and you might remember histamine from previous discussions of allergies, Another suggestion is that dock leafs contain a natural antihistamine, which prevent histamine in the venom from producing inflammation and pain. The fine hairs remain potent for decades – dried-up specimens from a century ago can still sting. The Gympie-Gympie’s leaves, stems and raspberry-like fruit are densely covered in hair-like protuberances called trichomes, which are less than a fifth of an inch long. Nevertheless, I don’t understand how even if the sting goes away naturally, it will burn again even after hours, if you apply water! The toxin produced by a dangerous ‘stinging tree’ is comparable to a scorpion or spider’s bite, according to a new study. What’s in this mix of different chemicals that causes the sting? However, the leaves are shorter and more oval shaped that the stinging nettle, and they lack the tapered tip that is characteristic for the stinging nettle. I managed to find a research paper on the subject! When something brushes against these hairs, their very fragile silica tips break off, and the remainder of the hair can then act like a needle. Proceedings of the physiological society 1957, p. 58P-59P http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/jphysiol.1957.sp005739/pdf, I have written a short blog post about this, making use of your infographic and linking back here. Another oft-suggested remedy is applying calamine lotion to the skin. It pierces the skin, and releases a cocktail of various chemicals from the base of the hair, and it’s these that cause the sting. Aids Detoxification . The stinging nettle is a plant found practically all over the world. However, further studies could reveal that there are still gaps in our current understanding. The Dendrocnide moroides plant, also known as the Gympie-Gympie stinging tree, is the world’s most painful stinging nettle. The Dendrocnide plant, also known as the Gympie-Gympie Stinging Tree. However, the paper being referenced doesn’t actually contain any mention of this at all. Dermatólogo, The Defence of a Stinging Nettle – My Forest School Blog, Understanding the Chemistry of Stinging Nettles | The Homestead Survival, The Health Benefits Of Stinging Nettle – Brandon Goji, Stinging plants share needle designs « Botany One. After a lot of hunting, the only paper I could find naming a specific compound references another paper that supposedly shows dock leaf to have high levels of chlorphenamine. Additionally, tartaric acid and oxalic acid are two compounds, isolated in a different species of stinging nettle, which were implicated in the drawn-out effect. Other, stranger methods of treating stings have also been suggested. http://growingthingsandmakingthings.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/in-case-you-were-wondering-how-dock.html. ... Pica-Pica Wood Nettle Ortiga Brava Stinging Nettle Stinging Nettle spp. Other chemicals contained in the stinging nettle venom, and the ones we now think are primarily responsible for the pain it induces, are histamine, acetylcholine, and serotonin. Whilst all of the above contribute to the painful experience of a nettle sting, it’s still not the full story. Serotonin, in particular, might sound familiar – it’s produced in our bodies, and sometimes referred to as the ‘happy hormone’, though it’s actually responsible for a number of other roles too. When the liver is sluggish, it processes estrogen slowly, contributing to the high levels that cause or aggravate PMS. A magnified view of the tree’s trichomes. Urinating on them is one that crops up more often than you might expect, but it’s likely to have little or no effect – and whilst we’re on the subject, there’s little point in urinating on a jellyfish sting either. The hairs can remain in the skin for months, and with stings recurring if the skin is pressed hard or washed with hot or cold water. This sounds like a decent theory – but there’s no scientific evidence that dock leaves do contain an antihistamine. The pain is caused by tiny hairs which cover the leaves, stem and fruits of the plants, which can grow up to 10 feet tall with 20-inch-wide leaves. We need scientific research to compare: do nothing vs dock leaves vs sandpaper (or emery-board) vs a soft leaf vs another tough leaf vs rubbing with a hand. Originally native to Europe, much of temperate Asia and western North Africa, it is now found worldwide, including New Zealand and North America. It’s still not clear why the Gympie-Gympie evolved this off-putting defense. While it’s toxic to humans and other animals, their leaves and fruit are a prized meal for beetles, birds and pademelons, an Australian marsupial related to the wallaby. Nettle (Latin Urtica dioica) is a perennial herb known as common nettle, stinging nettle, nettle worth, big string nettle, devil's leaf.. Some people get very sick if they come into contact with stinging nettle rash. When your priority is to cure stinging nettles rash caused by the plant (stinging nettle), vinegar is a remedy that you must not miss! The itching and burning feeling from stinging nettle rash is similar to that of poison ivy or poison oak. As I result, I’m not convinced it isn’t just a total fabrication. Those hairs make the leaves look inviting, Gilding told The New York Times, ‘like it’s a furry, friendly green plant that you’d want to rub.’. Whilst, of course, it doesn’t do much to some of the other chemical components of the venom, preventing histamine’s action does at least help to reduce inflammation and some of the pain. Thanks for the post. found Stinging Nettle Root Extract to be effective. As I result, I’m not convinced it isn’t just a total fabrication. In the venom, histamine causes inflammation and pain. […]. Il “Risotto con l’ortica” (rice with Stinging Nettles) is a gourmet choice! We used to think that the main component was formic acid, the same compound contained in ant venom. The stinging trees. As reported in the journal Science Advances, Kalani Gilding, Irina Vetter and a team of researchers at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience discovered the culprit was a completely new class of toxic miniproteins. Even if this is the case, however, we’ve already pointed out that it’s not just the acidic compounds in nettle venom that are problematic. Doubtless the majority of people reading this will, at some point in their life, have had the unpleasant experience of being stung by stinging nettles. In one historical account from the 1940s, a soldier said the pain was so bad he had to be tied to his hospital bed for three weeks. The best 2 plants that rubbed on the affected area worked immediately were plantain (plantago) and pellitory (parietaria), dock didn’t seem to do much at all ! How do people not know this? The Gympie-Gympie, known scientifically as Dendrocnide moroides, can grow to 10 feet tall with leaves 20 inches long. The painful toxins wielded by a giant Australian stinging tree are surprisingly similar to the venom found in spiders and cone snails, University of Queensland researchers have found. Toxin accumulation in the body can severely damage vital organs and systems, causing chronic illness. Ortiga, el nombre de la cosa - Dr. Valentín De Benito Rica. Sadly, no evidence is provided to back it up! Who’s up to do it? : removing them from your garden). If you do get stung, crush and rub a Plantain Weed leaf or a Curly Dock Stalk on the area. When injected by the stinging nettle, however, it functions as an irritant, leading to pain. It’s also abundant in Asia, North America, much of Europe, and even some Northern African countries. What we do know well is how they occur. Stinging nettle grows everywhere in the moderate climate zones, especially near human habitation in areas where scrap metal has been discarded, such as behind barns and in dumps. To many, this is almost second nature, but is it actually in any way effective? Acetylcholine is another neurotransmitter that can accomplish a similar effect, and you might remember histamine from previous discussions of allergies, particularly hayfever. Acetylcholine is another neurotransmitter that can accomplish a similar effect, and you might remember histamine from previous discussions of allergies, particularly hayfever. Stinging nettle is a plant that grows in North America, Europe, and Africa. Many of the sites that mention it use the same turn of phrase (“The juice of nettle is also the antidote for its own sting”) which makes me think it may well be from a single original source. Another oft-suggested remedy is applying calamine lotion to the skin. The graphic in this article is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, Major persistent toxins in the hairs of stinging nettles, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/jphysiol.1957.sp005739/pdf, http://growingthingsandmakingthings.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/in-case-you-were-wondering-how-dock.html, http://www.compoundchem.com/2015/06/04/nettles/, http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74146.html, http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-nettle.html. Dr. Marina Hurley studied the huge toxic plants for her PhD and had to wear a dust mask and cover her arms and legs when she was working. Some have claimed that the dock leaf’s sap is alkaline, which neutralises the acidic compounds in the nettle sting. But what chemicals do stinging nettles contain that elicit this effect? Standing near one unprotected for 20 minutes is enough to cause violent sneezing, nose bleeds and even breathing problems. Antagonism of 5-hydroxytryptamine by dock leaf extracts. […], […] http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74146.html http://www.compoundchem.com/2015/06/04/nettles/ http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-nettle.html http://www.nettlesforhealth.com/ […], […] Interest (2015) The Chemistry of Stinging Nettles. The Dendrocnide moroides plant is thought to be the most potent and deadly stinging nettle in the world. […] mecanismo defensivo de las ortigas puede considerase altamente sofisticado: los tricomas microscópicos son unos micro-tubos llenos substancias, y al tocarlos se fracturan y […], […] http://www.compoundchem.com/2015/06/04/nettles/ […], About the dock leaves.. its not a chemical that helps though it wouldn’t surprise me if it had one, its the rubbing as it disperses the sings, so if no dock leaves around you can always use your hand or some other material. The trichomes remain potent for decades, Hurley said, and dead, dried-up specimens from a century ago can still sting. Additionally, dock leaf sap actually isn’t alkaline, so the whole argument falls apart. Mechanical injury, sometimes called toxin-mediated urticaria, is generally induced by plants with obvious physical characteristics that directly injure the skin, such as the barbs of aloe or the trichomes of stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) (Table 5). Another anecdotal one is to hold your breath as you touch it, if you really need (e.g. ‘By understanding how this toxin works, we hope to provide better treatment to those who have been stung by the plant, to ease or eliminate the pain,’ she said. It will stop stinging within about a minute. So, next time you’re out walking and get stung by a nettle, there’s nothing wrong with hunting for the distraction or placebo effect of a dock leaf. Dogs, humans, and other animals who come into contact with the stinging nettle will experience unpleasant symptoms that can intensify with repeated exposure. Thanks for this excellent article; you put across very well just how limited the research is on this topic, while at the same time explaining what is known. 3)Detoxify the Body The wide range of beneficial nutrients found in Stinging Nettle Root Extract make it an ideal detoxifier for the body&it has been known to gently cleanse the body of toxins.As a diuretic substance,stinging nettle can also ensure Do you know that in Italy we eat them as well? Stinging nettle, or Urtica dioica, is a common plant that grows in the United States, Canada, and Europe.It primarily grows in damp, fertile soil. J. COLLIER. But you don’t even have to touch it to feel its wrath – standing near one unprotected for 20 minutes is enough to cause violent sneezing, nose bleeds and even breathing problems. When you brush against the plant, the tip of the hair breaks off. Another suggestion is that dock leafs contain a natural antihistamine, which prevent histamine in the venom from producing inflammation and pain. They found that dock leaf extract will block the effect of serotonin, making that the likely mechanism for dock leaves to ease the pain of a nettle sting. The toxin produced by a dangerous ‘stinging tree’ is comparable to a scorpion or spider’s bite, according to a new study. Found all over eastern Australia, the dendrocnide plant is among the most toxic flora on Earth and stings can kill dogs or horses and cause excruciating pain in humans that last weeks, even months. It’s possible that there are synergistic effects between them and other chemicals in the venom mixture. Stinging nettle (or should I say Urtica dioica) is an herbaceous flowering plant that can be found in Europe, Asia, Africa and Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. When injected by the stinging nettle, however, it functions as an irritant, leading to pain. Until now, scientists haven’t been able to identify the neurotoxin the plant secretes. The stinging trees In the forests of eastern Australia there are a handful of nettle trees so noxious that signs are commonly placed where humans trample through their habitat. "Stinging nettle scientifically known as Urtica dioica has a long medicinal history. Currently, this is the only remedy for nettle stings for which there is concrete scientific evidence. Both of these prevent the action of histamine. ‘[They] feel like they are being slammed between two blocks of wood.’. But […] While it’s far from conclusive, being around 60 years old and only mentioned in conference proceedings, it does at least hint at the possibility of there being a chemical basis to dock leaves’ effects. Toxin in Australia's 'stinging tree' is comparable to spider or scorpion venom and can cause excruciating pain that lasts weeks. The toxin is harmless but burns at first and causes a nasty itch afterwards. The graphic in this article is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Although fresh nettle is primarily known for its stinging quality, dried nettle has some incredible detoxifying properties. Dermatólogo | Dr. Valentín De Benito Rica. I had no idea why my arm suddenly felt on fire, but I was terrified. When injected by the stinging nettle, however, it functions as an irritant, leading to pain. Urinating on them is one that crops up more often than you might expect, but it’s likely to have little or no effect – and whilst we’re on the subject, there’s little point in urinating on a jellyfish sting either, The Chemistry of the Smell of Toilets & Human Waste, This Week in Chemistry – Cats & Bitter Compounds, & Recovering Indium, Urticaria crónica. Stinging nettles are very effective at removing these toxins. a few days ago I stung myself on purpose to see what effects the plants that grow where nettles grow have on the sting. Although they come from a plant, the gympietides target the same pain receptors as the venom found in arachnids and cone snails, the researchers say, making the Gympie-Gympie a truly ‘venomous’ plant. (Of course, if anyone can provide evidence to the contrary, it’d be great to see!). Mire nettles are infamous for their hollow, needlelike thorns, which contain a natural toxin that causes extreme pain. These trees are called gympie-gympie in the language of the Indigenous Gubbi Gubbi people, and Dendrocnide in botanical Latin (meaning "tree stinger"). Toxin in Australia’s ‘stinging tree’ is comparable to spider or scorpion venom and can cause excruciating pain that lasts weeks The Gympie-Gympie tree is the world’s most painful stinging nettle Stings can kill dogs and even being near a plant can cause symptoms in humans Scientists found the tree secretes a new class of toxin similar to […] • Drink stinging nettle tea 2-3 times a day. Consider supporting Compound Interest on Patreon, and get previews of upcoming posts & more! Serotonin, in particular, might sound familiar – it’s produced in our bodies, and sometimes referred to as the ‘happy hormone’, though it’s actually responsible for a number of other roles too. Without any further or more recent research to back it up, the jury’s still out as to whether dock leaf acts merely as a placebo or not – more research needed!]. The skin surrounding the hives may be red. The D. moroides is nicknamed after the town Gympie in Queensland where it was discovered in 1860. A number of chemicals have been proposed as the toxins that are introduced through nettle stings when in contact with human skin, such as acetylcholine, histamine and serotonin, with formic acid being the most common nettle toxin. It is found throughout the world, most often growing on waste ground, in hedgerows, along roadsides, field edges and grassy places. The nettle has sharp hairs on its leaves. Consider supporting Compound Interest on Patreon, and get previews of upcoming posts & more! One researcher compared it to ‘being burnt with hot acid and electrocuted at the same time.’. Stinging Nettle. But yeah, can’t really see any basis for that working either. The Gympie-Gympie stinging tree is covered in tiny hairs that look inviting, but stick into the skin and inject a toxin that causes agonizing pain, A child stung by a giant Australian stinging tree. Apparently a weed, the nettle family urtica, with about 60 species worldwide, nevertheless inflicts high demands on the soil. Stinging nettle rash presents as raised bumps or hives that are often light in color and up to a centimeter in diameter. Vetter says the enduring pain may be caused by the gympietides permanently changing the sodium channels in a victim’s sensory neurons, not due to the fine hairs getting stuck in the skin. As nettles act as a diuretic and are high in … The wood nettle (Laportea canadensis) is a relative of the stinging nettle that often grows in woodlands.Like the stinging nettle, the wood nettle leaves are covered with spines that sting when they come into contact with skin. It’s certainly not a neutralisation reaction that’s soothing the sting. Vinegar comes packed with detoxifying effects where, it effectively combats the toxin. Hadn’t come across that one! Whilst we still haven’t identified every single compound in the mixture, we have some idea. But until now researchers haven’t been able to identify the neurotoxin the plant, also known as the Gympie-Gympie tree, secretes – until now. Rubbing with the hand doesn’t work, but I do wonder if the dock leaves are sufficiently abrasive to remove the “stingers” mechanically. Each stinging hair contains toxin at the base. Other chemicals contained in the stinging nettle venom, and the ones we now think are primarily responsible for the pain it induces, are histamine, acetylcholine, and serotonin. See the site’s content usage guidelines. Anecdotally, it certainly seems to be, but actually there’s little in the way of scientific evidence. But, even better, maybe have some antihistamine cream pre-packed as well! 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One remedy that will alleviate the pain of the sting somewhat is the use of antihistamine or corticosteroid creams. It can kill animals with severe allergic reactions and causing excruciating pain that last weeks in humans. But when they make contact with skin they’re more like tiny hypodermics, breaking off and injecting a painful toxin. It has been used as an herbal remedy for thousands of years. Stinging nettle is often recommended for pre-menstrual syndrome because of its toxin-ridding activity. Stinging nettles are covered with countless tiny hollow hairs called trichomes. […] The Chemistry of Stinging Nettles. Thankfully I haven’t ran across it again. Further to that, a commonly espoused remedy for the stings, in the UK at least, is to rub dock leaves on them – but does this actually work, or is it just a widespread myth? Ah, brilliant, good work on tracking that down!

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stinging nettle toxin

Touching a nettle plant with bare skin will produce a stinging or burning sensation. Dr. Marina Hurley, who did her PhD work in stinging trees, said a brush with the plant, nicknamed the ‘suicide tree,’ is ‘like being burnt with hot acid and electrocuted at the same time.’, ‘Not only do you feel pain from where you are stung, if it is a really bad sting, within about 20 minutes your lymph nodes under your arms swell and throb painfully,’ Hurley wrote on The Conversation. Reportedly, nettle tea leaves have been a part of ancient medieval medicine for treating and curing a range of diseases including hay fever, bone-related issues, and allergies among others. Overview Information Stinging nettle is a plant. (Of course, if anyone can provide evidence to the contrary, it’d be great to see!). I have also always wondered this. So, you’re out and about, and get stung by a stinging nettle – what do you do? I’m heading out right now, so don’t have time to give it a proper read, but I’ll take a look later on. When the hairs touch skin, the end breaks off and the shaft of the hair sticks into the skin, injecting a toxin in the same way as a hypodermic needle. Other, stranger methods of treating stings have also been suggested. This sounds like a decent theory – but there’s no scientific evidence that dock leaves. Calamine is usually a mixture of zinc oxide and a small amount of iron (III) oxide, and is unsurprisingly the main ingredient in calamine lotion. It never worked for me. In the forests of eastern Australia there are a handful of nettle trees so noxious that signs are commonly placed where humans trample through their habitat. Enjoyed this post & graphic? Urtica dioica, often known as common nettle, stinging nettle (although not all plants of this species sting) or nettle leaf, or just a nettle or stinger, is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant in the family Urticaceae. In the venom, histamine causes inflammation and pain. [Edit: 20/05/2016: Since writing this article, a paper which shows that dock leaf extract can have some effect on serotonin in the nettle sting has been brought to my attention. If you get stung, take a few leaves, crush them into a paste, and put it on the stung area. If you’d like to know more about the plants chemistry check out this cool chart. Available at: http://www.compoundchem.com/2015/06/04/nettles/ (accessed […], […] Side Note: Yes I’m barehanded but it’s likely you should wear gloves, as it does sting and most don’t care for it. Toxin in Australia's 'stinging tree' is comparable to spider venom. Growing up in the US I had only encountered them once and had never heard of them before. The species is divided into six subspecies, five of which have many hollow stinging hairs called trichomes on the leaves and stems, which act like hypodermic needles Notorious stinging trees from Australia cause agonizing pain that can linger for weeks and even months. Whilst formic acid is certainly capable of causing a stinging sensation, and it is present in stinging nettles, it’s now thought that it’s present in too low a concentration to account for the extended pain of a stinging nettle sting. This small, carnivorous stinging nettle commonly grows in mires. The tree’s scientific name is Dendrocnide which literally means ‘stinging tree’ and is a member of the nettle family which can be found in Australia from the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, through to Gympie, Queensland and all the way to the tip of the Cape York Peninsula. The tree’s scientific name is Dendrocnide which literally means ‘stinging tree’—a member of the nettle family which can be found in Australia from the Northern Rivers region of NSW, through Gympie QLD and all the way to the tip of the Cape York Peninsula.. Found all over eastern Australia, the dendrocnide plant is among the most toxic flora on Earth and stings can kill dogs or horses and cause excruciating pain in humans that last weeks, even months. Stinging Nettle Rash. The ‘dock leaves contain antihistamines’ claim is a widespread one – a quick google will show as much – but in all cases it is unsubstantiated, and the trail of breadcrumbs always leads back to the same study which seems to be erroneously referencing a finding that doesn’t exist. It preys mostly on amphibians, fish, and small mammals, though they have been known to attack and kill much larger prey, especially when hunting in groups. We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. It contributes to the detoxification of the urinary tract, and it also contains histamine that may help with seasonal allergies—a condition many … It’s an anti-pruritic (anti-itching) agent, which is commonly applied to insect stings (which we’ve also looked at previously) to ease itching. This graphic sorts the nettle sting remedy fact from the fiction. Stinging nettle is used for diabetes and osteoarthritis. Explorations of everyday chemical compounds. By R. T. BRITTAIN and H. 0. The plant juices relieve the itch almost immediately like magic. However, the toxin in stinging nettle is much stronger than those two plants. In some countries, your immediate reaction would probably be to hunt for a dock leaf to rub on the affected area. The stinging nettle plant can grow well over 10 feet tall and is commonly found in uncultivated areas of moist soil such as pastures, wasteland, and alongside streams. The plant is considered an herbaceous perennial, meaning that it has herbal properties and grows back in the same areas year after year. It’s an anti-pruritic (anti-itching) agent, which is commonly applied to insect stings (. 6. Calamine is usually a mixture of zinc oxide and a small amount of iron (III) oxide, and is unsurprisingly the main ingredient in calamine lotion. The toxin produced by a dangerous ‘stinging tree’ is comparable to a scorpion or spider’s bite, according to a new study. Because the trees’ toxins target a nerve-cell molecule that’s fundamental to our pain response, researching them may also help unlock how to block pain receptors. A stinging hair consists of one stinging cell and surrounding pedestal cells. The Gympie-Gympie tree is the world's most painful stinging nettle Stinging nettle contains its own antidote. The root and above ground parts are used as medicine. I’ve yet to try it myself! Plantain leaves, much like dock leaves, are also a common remedy in some countries, though again, there’s currently no scientific evidence that they have any particular chemical effect. The team discovered the culprit is a new class of toxic miniproteins that has been named ‘gympietides,’ in honor of the Indigenous name for the stinging tree. It is almost 60 years old and it’s only in conference proceedings, but it looks sound and I’ve seen it referenced as true somewhere much more recent, with nothing to contradict it. The nettle species, Urtica dioica, actually encompasses six different subspecies, all but one of which have stinging hairs. Despite it being so widespread, however, there’s still a lot we don’t know about stings from stinging nettles. It is more common in areas with moist soil – which explains its ubiquity in the UK! Hurley said the only way she’d handle the free is wearing a dust mask and thick, padded welding gloves. The ‘dock leaves contain antihistamines’ claim is a widespread one – a quick google will show as much – but in all cases it is unsubstantiated, and the trail of breadcrumbs always leads back to the same study which seems to be erroneously referencing a finding that doesn’t exist. It is covered with tiny little hairs that act as needles that release a toxin when penetrating the skin. Independently, they don’t explain why the effect of a nettle sting is so prolonged. I was prompted to do some research of my own by someone telling me (possibly having heard it from you) that the dock leaf is just a placebo, which I found hard to believe. This is one I’d heard previously too, but again, there’s nothing I’ve come across that suggests any previous scientific investigations into this. There’s no real cure – the hairs are so fine that wax hair removal strips are sometimes used to yank them off. Its efficacy has also been debated at times, and it won’t completely nullify the pain of the nettle sting, but it may help take the edge off. Acetylcholine is another neurotransmitter that can accomplish a similar effect, and you might remember histamine from previous discussions of allergies, Another suggestion is that dock leafs contain a natural antihistamine, which prevent histamine in the venom from producing inflammation and pain. The fine hairs remain potent for decades – dried-up specimens from a century ago can still sting. The Gympie-Gympie’s leaves, stems and raspberry-like fruit are densely covered in hair-like protuberances called trichomes, which are less than a fifth of an inch long. Nevertheless, I don’t understand how even if the sting goes away naturally, it will burn again even after hours, if you apply water! The toxin produced by a dangerous ‘stinging tree’ is comparable to a scorpion or spider’s bite, according to a new study. What’s in this mix of different chemicals that causes the sting? However, the leaves are shorter and more oval shaped that the stinging nettle, and they lack the tapered tip that is characteristic for the stinging nettle. I managed to find a research paper on the subject! When something brushes against these hairs, their very fragile silica tips break off, and the remainder of the hair can then act like a needle. Proceedings of the physiological society 1957, p. 58P-59P http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/jphysiol.1957.sp005739/pdf, I have written a short blog post about this, making use of your infographic and linking back here. Another oft-suggested remedy is applying calamine lotion to the skin. It pierces the skin, and releases a cocktail of various chemicals from the base of the hair, and it’s these that cause the sting. Aids Detoxification . The stinging nettle is a plant found practically all over the world. However, further studies could reveal that there are still gaps in our current understanding. The Dendrocnide moroides plant, also known as the Gympie-Gympie stinging tree, is the world’s most painful stinging nettle. The Dendrocnide plant, also known as the Gympie-Gympie Stinging Tree. However, the paper being referenced doesn’t actually contain any mention of this at all. Dermatólogo, The Defence of a Stinging Nettle – My Forest School Blog, Understanding the Chemistry of Stinging Nettles | The Homestead Survival, The Health Benefits Of Stinging Nettle – Brandon Goji, Stinging plants share needle designs « Botany One. After a lot of hunting, the only paper I could find naming a specific compound references another paper that supposedly shows dock leaf to have high levels of chlorphenamine. Additionally, tartaric acid and oxalic acid are two compounds, isolated in a different species of stinging nettle, which were implicated in the drawn-out effect. Other, stranger methods of treating stings have also been suggested. http://growingthingsandmakingthings.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/in-case-you-were-wondering-how-dock.html. ... Pica-Pica Wood Nettle Ortiga Brava Stinging Nettle Stinging Nettle spp. Other chemicals contained in the stinging nettle venom, and the ones we now think are primarily responsible for the pain it induces, are histamine, acetylcholine, and serotonin. Whilst all of the above contribute to the painful experience of a nettle sting, it’s still not the full story. Serotonin, in particular, might sound familiar – it’s produced in our bodies, and sometimes referred to as the ‘happy hormone’, though it’s actually responsible for a number of other roles too. When the liver is sluggish, it processes estrogen slowly, contributing to the high levels that cause or aggravate PMS. A magnified view of the tree’s trichomes. Urinating on them is one that crops up more often than you might expect, but it’s likely to have little or no effect – and whilst we’re on the subject, there’s little point in urinating on a jellyfish sting either. The hairs can remain in the skin for months, and with stings recurring if the skin is pressed hard or washed with hot or cold water. This sounds like a decent theory – but there’s no scientific evidence that dock leaves do contain an antihistamine. The pain is caused by tiny hairs which cover the leaves, stem and fruits of the plants, which can grow up to 10 feet tall with 20-inch-wide leaves. We need scientific research to compare: do nothing vs dock leaves vs sandpaper (or emery-board) vs a soft leaf vs another tough leaf vs rubbing with a hand. Originally native to Europe, much of temperate Asia and western North Africa, it is now found worldwide, including New Zealand and North America. It’s still not clear why the Gympie-Gympie evolved this off-putting defense. While it’s toxic to humans and other animals, their leaves and fruit are a prized meal for beetles, birds and pademelons, an Australian marsupial related to the wallaby. Nettle (Latin Urtica dioica) is a perennial herb known as common nettle, stinging nettle, nettle worth, big string nettle, devil's leaf.. Some people get very sick if they come into contact with stinging nettle rash. When your priority is to cure stinging nettles rash caused by the plant (stinging nettle), vinegar is a remedy that you must not miss! The itching and burning feeling from stinging nettle rash is similar to that of poison ivy or poison oak. As I result, I’m not convinced it isn’t just a total fabrication. Those hairs make the leaves look inviting, Gilding told The New York Times, ‘like it’s a furry, friendly green plant that you’d want to rub.’. Whilst, of course, it doesn’t do much to some of the other chemical components of the venom, preventing histamine’s action does at least help to reduce inflammation and some of the pain. Thanks for the post. found Stinging Nettle Root Extract to be effective. As I result, I’m not convinced it isn’t just a total fabrication. In the venom, histamine causes inflammation and pain. […]. Il “Risotto con l’ortica” (rice with Stinging Nettles) is a gourmet choice! We used to think that the main component was formic acid, the same compound contained in ant venom. The stinging trees. As reported in the journal Science Advances, Kalani Gilding, Irina Vetter and a team of researchers at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience discovered the culprit was a completely new class of toxic miniproteins. Even if this is the case, however, we’ve already pointed out that it’s not just the acidic compounds in nettle venom that are problematic. Doubtless the majority of people reading this will, at some point in their life, have had the unpleasant experience of being stung by stinging nettles. In one historical account from the 1940s, a soldier said the pain was so bad he had to be tied to his hospital bed for three weeks. The best 2 plants that rubbed on the affected area worked immediately were plantain (plantago) and pellitory (parietaria), dock didn’t seem to do much at all ! How do people not know this? The Gympie-Gympie, known scientifically as Dendrocnide moroides, can grow to 10 feet tall with leaves 20 inches long. The painful toxins wielded by a giant Australian stinging tree are surprisingly similar to the venom found in spiders and cone snails, University of Queensland researchers have found. Toxin accumulation in the body can severely damage vital organs and systems, causing chronic illness. Ortiga, el nombre de la cosa - Dr. Valentín De Benito Rica. Sadly, no evidence is provided to back it up! Who’s up to do it? : removing them from your garden). If you do get stung, crush and rub a Plantain Weed leaf or a Curly Dock Stalk on the area. When injected by the stinging nettle, however, it functions as an irritant, leading to pain. It’s also abundant in Asia, North America, much of Europe, and even some Northern African countries. What we do know well is how they occur. Stinging nettle grows everywhere in the moderate climate zones, especially near human habitation in areas where scrap metal has been discarded, such as behind barns and in dumps. To many, this is almost second nature, but is it actually in any way effective? Acetylcholine is another neurotransmitter that can accomplish a similar effect, and you might remember histamine from previous discussions of allergies, particularly hayfever. Acetylcholine is another neurotransmitter that can accomplish a similar effect, and you might remember histamine from previous discussions of allergies, particularly hayfever. Stinging nettle is a plant that grows in North America, Europe, and Africa. Many of the sites that mention it use the same turn of phrase (“The juice of nettle is also the antidote for its own sting”) which makes me think it may well be from a single original source. Another oft-suggested remedy is applying calamine lotion to the skin. The graphic in this article is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, Major persistent toxins in the hairs of stinging nettles, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/jphysiol.1957.sp005739/pdf, http://growingthingsandmakingthings.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/in-case-you-were-wondering-how-dock.html, http://www.compoundchem.com/2015/06/04/nettles/, http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74146.html, http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-nettle.html. Dr. Marina Hurley studied the huge toxic plants for her PhD and had to wear a dust mask and cover her arms and legs when she was working. Some have claimed that the dock leaf’s sap is alkaline, which neutralises the acidic compounds in the nettle sting. But what chemicals do stinging nettles contain that elicit this effect? Standing near one unprotected for 20 minutes is enough to cause violent sneezing, nose bleeds and even breathing problems. Antagonism of 5-hydroxytryptamine by dock leaf extracts. […], […] http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74146.html http://www.compoundchem.com/2015/06/04/nettles/ http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-nettle.html http://www.nettlesforhealth.com/ […], […] Interest (2015) The Chemistry of Stinging Nettles. The Dendrocnide moroides plant is thought to be the most potent and deadly stinging nettle in the world. […] mecanismo defensivo de las ortigas puede considerase altamente sofisticado: los tricomas microscópicos son unos micro-tubos llenos substancias, y al tocarlos se fracturan y […], […] http://www.compoundchem.com/2015/06/04/nettles/ […], About the dock leaves.. its not a chemical that helps though it wouldn’t surprise me if it had one, its the rubbing as it disperses the sings, so if no dock leaves around you can always use your hand or some other material. The trichomes remain potent for decades, Hurley said, and dead, dried-up specimens from a century ago can still sting. Additionally, dock leaf sap actually isn’t alkaline, so the whole argument falls apart. Mechanical injury, sometimes called toxin-mediated urticaria, is generally induced by plants with obvious physical characteristics that directly injure the skin, such as the barbs of aloe or the trichomes of stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) (Table 5). Another anecdotal one is to hold your breath as you touch it, if you really need (e.g. ‘By understanding how this toxin works, we hope to provide better treatment to those who have been stung by the plant, to ease or eliminate the pain,’ she said. It will stop stinging within about a minute. So, next time you’re out walking and get stung by a nettle, there’s nothing wrong with hunting for the distraction or placebo effect of a dock leaf. Dogs, humans, and other animals who come into contact with the stinging nettle will experience unpleasant symptoms that can intensify with repeated exposure. Thanks for this excellent article; you put across very well just how limited the research is on this topic, while at the same time explaining what is known. 3)Detoxify the Body The wide range of beneficial nutrients found in Stinging Nettle Root Extract make it an ideal detoxifier for the body&it has been known to gently cleanse the body of toxins.As a diuretic substance,stinging nettle can also ensure Do you know that in Italy we eat them as well? Stinging nettle, or Urtica dioica, is a common plant that grows in the United States, Canada, and Europe.It primarily grows in damp, fertile soil. J. COLLIER. But you don’t even have to touch it to feel its wrath – standing near one unprotected for 20 minutes is enough to cause violent sneezing, nose bleeds and even breathing problems. When you brush against the plant, the tip of the hair breaks off. Another suggestion is that dock leafs contain a natural antihistamine, which prevent histamine in the venom from producing inflammation and pain. They found that dock leaf extract will block the effect of serotonin, making that the likely mechanism for dock leaves to ease the pain of a nettle sting. The toxin produced by a dangerous ‘stinging tree’ is comparable to a scorpion or spider’s bite, according to a new study. Found all over eastern Australia, the dendrocnide plant is among the most toxic flora on Earth and stings can kill dogs or horses and cause excruciating pain in humans that last weeks, even months. It’s possible that there are synergistic effects between them and other chemicals in the venom mixture. Stinging nettle (or should I say Urtica dioica) is an herbaceous flowering plant that can be found in Europe, Asia, Africa and Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. When injected by the stinging nettle, however, it functions as an irritant, leading to pain. Until now, scientists haven’t been able to identify the neurotoxin the plant secretes. The stinging trees In the forests of eastern Australia there are a handful of nettle trees so noxious that signs are commonly placed where humans trample through their habitat. "Stinging nettle scientifically known as Urtica dioica has a long medicinal history. Currently, this is the only remedy for nettle stings for which there is concrete scientific evidence. Both of these prevent the action of histamine. ‘[They] feel like they are being slammed between two blocks of wood.’. But […] While it’s far from conclusive, being around 60 years old and only mentioned in conference proceedings, it does at least hint at the possibility of there being a chemical basis to dock leaves’ effects. Toxin in Australia's 'stinging tree' is comparable to spider or scorpion venom and can cause excruciating pain that lasts weeks. The toxin is harmless but burns at first and causes a nasty itch afterwards. The graphic in this article is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Although fresh nettle is primarily known for its stinging quality, dried nettle has some incredible detoxifying properties. Dermatólogo | Dr. Valentín De Benito Rica. I had no idea why my arm suddenly felt on fire, but I was terrified. When injected by the stinging nettle, however, it functions as an irritant, leading to pain. Urinating on them is one that crops up more often than you might expect, but it’s likely to have little or no effect – and whilst we’re on the subject, there’s little point in urinating on a jellyfish sting either, The Chemistry of the Smell of Toilets & Human Waste, This Week in Chemistry – Cats & Bitter Compounds, & Recovering Indium, Urticaria crónica. Stinging nettles are very effective at removing these toxins. a few days ago I stung myself on purpose to see what effects the plants that grow where nettles grow have on the sting. Although they come from a plant, the gympietides target the same pain receptors as the venom found in arachnids and cone snails, the researchers say, making the Gympie-Gympie a truly ‘venomous’ plant. (Of course, if anyone can provide evidence to the contrary, it’d be great to see!). Mire nettles are infamous for their hollow, needlelike thorns, which contain a natural toxin that causes extreme pain. These trees are called gympie-gympie in the language of the Indigenous Gubbi Gubbi people, and Dendrocnide in botanical Latin (meaning "tree stinger"). Toxin in Australia’s ‘stinging tree’ is comparable to spider or scorpion venom and can cause excruciating pain that lasts weeks The Gympie-Gympie tree is the world’s most painful stinging nettle Stings can kill dogs and even being near a plant can cause symptoms in humans Scientists found the tree secretes a new class of toxin similar to […] • Drink stinging nettle tea 2-3 times a day. Consider supporting Compound Interest on Patreon, and get previews of upcoming posts & more! Serotonin, in particular, might sound familiar – it’s produced in our bodies, and sometimes referred to as the ‘happy hormone’, though it’s actually responsible for a number of other roles too. Without any further or more recent research to back it up, the jury’s still out as to whether dock leaf acts merely as a placebo or not – more research needed!]. The skin surrounding the hives may be red. The D. moroides is nicknamed after the town Gympie in Queensland where it was discovered in 1860. A number of chemicals have been proposed as the toxins that are introduced through nettle stings when in contact with human skin, such as acetylcholine, histamine and serotonin, with formic acid being the most common nettle toxin. It is found throughout the world, most often growing on waste ground, in hedgerows, along roadsides, field edges and grassy places. The nettle has sharp hairs on its leaves. Consider supporting Compound Interest on Patreon, and get previews of upcoming posts & more! One researcher compared it to ‘being burnt with hot acid and electrocuted at the same time.’. Stinging Nettle. But yeah, can’t really see any basis for that working either. The Gympie-Gympie stinging tree is covered in tiny hairs that look inviting, but stick into the skin and inject a toxin that causes agonizing pain, A child stung by a giant Australian stinging tree. Apparently a weed, the nettle family urtica, with about 60 species worldwide, nevertheless inflicts high demands on the soil. Stinging nettle rash presents as raised bumps or hives that are often light in color and up to a centimeter in diameter. Vetter says the enduring pain may be caused by the gympietides permanently changing the sodium channels in a victim’s sensory neurons, not due to the fine hairs getting stuck in the skin. As nettles act as a diuretic and are high in … The wood nettle (Laportea canadensis) is a relative of the stinging nettle that often grows in woodlands.Like the stinging nettle, the wood nettle leaves are covered with spines that sting when they come into contact with skin. It’s certainly not a neutralisation reaction that’s soothing the sting. Vinegar comes packed with detoxifying effects where, it effectively combats the toxin. Hadn’t come across that one! Whilst we still haven’t identified every single compound in the mixture, we have some idea. But until now researchers haven’t been able to identify the neurotoxin the plant, also known as the Gympie-Gympie tree, secretes – until now. Rubbing with the hand doesn’t work, but I do wonder if the dock leaves are sufficiently abrasive to remove the “stingers” mechanically. Each stinging hair contains toxin at the base. Other chemicals contained in the stinging nettle venom, and the ones we now think are primarily responsible for the pain it induces, are histamine, acetylcholine, and serotonin. See the site’s content usage guidelines. Anecdotally, it certainly seems to be, but actually there’s little in the way of scientific evidence. But, even better, maybe have some antihistamine cream pre-packed as well! 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One remedy that will alleviate the pain of the sting somewhat is the use of antihistamine or corticosteroid creams. It can kill animals with severe allergic reactions and causing excruciating pain that last weeks in humans. But when they make contact with skin they’re more like tiny hypodermics, breaking off and injecting a painful toxin. It has been used as an herbal remedy for thousands of years. Stinging nettle is often recommended for pre-menstrual syndrome because of its toxin-ridding activity. Stinging nettles are covered with countless tiny hollow hairs called trichomes. […] The Chemistry of Stinging Nettles. Thankfully I haven’t ran across it again. Further to that, a commonly espoused remedy for the stings, in the UK at least, is to rub dock leaves on them – but does this actually work, or is it just a widespread myth? Ah, brilliant, good work on tracking that down! 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