Stinging nettle – Stinging nettle (harvesting and storage)

Stinging nettle – Urtica dioica L.


Nettle family – Urticaceae.

The leaves are used for medicinal purposes.

Found throughout Ukraine. An ordinary plant in the middle lane, less common in the northern and even more rare in the southern regions of the republic. It grows like a weed on rich soils in villages, in courtyards, under building walls, fences, on the outskirts of gardens, parks, garbage places, often in forests and among shrubs, near villages. Due to vegetative propagation, small thickets often form from one plant.

Stocks of raw materials are large, tens of tons of leaves can be harvested annually, but with the improvement of the sanitary condition of settlements, they are decreasing. The main harvesting can be carried out in the forest-steppe and in the south of the forest regions.

The average annual harvesting of nettle leaves in the republic for three years (1974-1976) amounted to 18.8 tons.

Stinging nettle is a perennial herbaceous plant with a creeping, branched, cord-like rhizome and thin roots at the nodes. Stems are tetrahedral, 50-150 cm high, sometimes branched in the upper part. Leaves with membranous stipules, opposite, long-petiolate, dark green. The stems and leaves are covered with short simple and longer burning hairs (after touching the skin causes burning pain). The flowers are greenish, unisexual, small, collected in bunches in the upper part of the stem in branched spike-shaped inflorescences emerging from the axils of the upper leaves. The fruits are elongated nuts. Blooms in June-July. The fruits ripen in August-September. With early mowing, the plants grow back and bloom again in August – September. It is not allowed to harvest other types of nettles and plants from the labiate family – white lamb Lamium album L. and I. smooth – L. laevigatum L., black callowskin – Ballota nigra L., popularly called deaf nettle (leaves are similar to those of nettle dioica, but without burning hairs). Lamiaceae are easily distinguished from nettles by their larger two-lipped colored corollas.

Leaves are harvested in spring and early summer (June-July), tearing them off with gloved hands, and more often mowing the plants with braids and cutting off the leaves after wilting, when they stop stinging.

The raw materials are dried in attics under an iron roof or under sheds with good ventilation, spreading a thin layer (3-5 cm) on paper or cloth. Do not dry in the sun as the leaves will discolour. When overdried, they are easily crushed.

Drying is completed when the central veins and petioles begin to break. The yield of dry raw materials is 22-23%.

According to the Global Fund – IX Art. 208, GOST 12529-67, the raw material consists of brittle dark green leaves up to 17 cm long and up to 7 wide with petioles. The smell is peculiar. The taste is bitter-herbaceous. Humidity is not higher than 14%. In raw materials, no more than crushed parts (passing through a sieve with a hole diameter of 3 mm) – 10%, other parts of nettle (stems, etc.) – 5, organic impurities – 2, mineral – 1% are allowed.

Dry leaves, pressing, are packed into bales of 50 kg, and cut into bags of 20 kg. Store in dry, well-ventilated areas on pallets or racks without direct sunlight. Storage period up to 2 years. Raw materials are not subject to re-control.

The leaves contain carotene, vitamin C, K, B 2 , pantothenic acid, urticin glycoside, chlorophyll, acids (formic and silicic). Apply infusion, liquid and thick extract as a hemostatic agent for pulmonary, renal, uterine and intestinal bleeding. Used to obtain chlorophyll used in the pharmaceutical and food industries.

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