Scientific name: Urtica dioica L. Common name: nettle, stinging nettle Conservation status: Not threatened. Habitat: Wasteland, hedgerows, fields and woods. Nettles do particularly well in soils with high levels of nitrogen and are continuously found growing around abandoned buildings. Key Uses: Food, medicine, textiles, plant feed, cosmetics. Known hazards: Nettle stings are irritating and poisonous but are very rarely serious Nettles have been used for centuries for a multitude of purposes, and continue to be harvested from the wild for food and medicine As of late. Nettles are eaten as a vegetable; cooking will destroy the stings. The tender, young shoots and leaves – the most palatable parts – are the primary ingredient in nettle soup, which has a reputation for ‘cleansing the blood’. Historically, puddings and beer were made with nettles. As of late, the mature leaves are used in the production of cheese (notably Cornish Yarg) and in pesto, cordials and herbal tea. Nettles have also been used to yield vegetable protein very similar to tofu constituted of soya (Glycine max). In some parts of Britain (eg Orkney) the leaves are traditionally fed to pigs to fatten them. Nettles have been used for a lot of medicinal purposes. A tonic prepared from the leaves is still among the most well liked plant remedies used As of late. One traditional treatment for rheumatism involves deliberately stinging the afflicted area with nettle leaves! At the same time as this may seem odd, research has shown that nettle stings have anti-inflammatory properties that disrupt the NF-κB pathway and inhibit other inflammatory responses.