Plants from the genera Urtica, often better known as the stinging nettle, can be distinguished by their stinging hairs, and in some species, their serrated leaf edges. Historical records of the various uses of Urtica date back to at least the Bronze Age (3000-2000 BC). Nettles have traditionally been used as a nutritious food source particularly in rural areas of the United Kingdom and Canada. Since ancient times Urtica species have also been used in herbal remedies as an expectorant or diuretic, or for the treatment of eczema, rheumatism, haemorrhoids and ulcers, and the nettle continues to be an important medicinal plant up to the present day.
This volume explores the historical and modern uses of the Urtica genus. An account of the botanical aspects of the genus is followed by a comprehensive review of the recent research into its biologically active constituents. With further coverage of the therapeutic uses and its nutritional value, this book presents an absorbing and all-encompassing account of the medicinal potential of Urtica which will be of considerable interest to herbalists, health scientists and botanists as well as researchers in the pharmaceutical industry.