Nettle Urtica dioica Full Plant
The Herb Life

Nettle – It’s History, Folklore, Mysticism, and Magic

This is just part one in our herbal knowledge series on Nettle to read part two and head over to these blog posts:

Nettle – Identification, Growing, Harvesting and What Parts to Use

Nettle – A Nourishing Plant and Its Therapeutic Possibilities

How I Came Across Stinging Nettle Urtica dioica

Nettle (Urtica dioica) is another plant that I recently have gotten to know better somewhat by accident. I had nettle unbeknownst to me growing in one of my gardens and I kept pulling it out because with a lack of knowledge I just assumed it was a nuance weed. Well, one day I pulled some out without gloves and got a not-so-lovely surprise. At first, I thought poison ivy but knew it didn’t look like poison ivy so I started to investigate and found out I actually had a very useful plant growing everywhere in my backyard.

A Brief History of Stinging Nettle

First let’s take a look at its Latin name: Urtica dioica. Uro in meaning “to burn or sting” and dioica meaning “of two houses”- referring to Nettle’s ability to grow both male and female flowers.


Nettle has been traced back to usage in Europe over 2,000 years ago. The Greeks and Romans were noted for cultivating Nettle more than any other crop, it was used in their food, as medicine, and even for clothing. To extract the fibers needed for clothing they would first dry the plant material and then beat the stalks, the producing fibers were then used to create cloth.

There is one practice that was favored by the Romans and is still used today and that is urtication. This refers to the deliberate stinging on one’s skin with the Nettle plant by way of flogging. Now, why you say? Well, it has been shown to help in areas where one is experiencing arthritis or swollen joints. The rash or area where the stinging occurs helps to improve circulation and the end result relieving any pain or aches in that area (Gladstar, 2012). There are even rumblings that nettle was used in the era of Julius Caesar, the troops would sting themselves during battle as a way to keep themselves awake and alert during the nighttime hours (Herbs, 2020).

Nettle also has a strong history of use in indigenous North America. Nettle was woven into garments, used to create fishing nets as well as a source of food, medicine and it had its place in ceremonial practices – possibly as an offering. Many tribes used nettle to purify the blood and liver, either by using the fresh leaves or creating a tonic. It also helped to combat excessive bleeding during birth and to alleviate labor pains. Nettle was also thought to aid in powerful dreams

Folklore and Magic of Stinging Nettle

Statue of Thor Located in Stockholm

Now for the fun stuff! Nettle is considered a masculine plant linked to the plant mars and the element of fire, which makes so much sense since it hurts like a mother when it stings, and the astrological sign of Aries. If you’re into deities nettle is thought to be one of the plants of the Norse god Thor – God of thunder (get the reference to one of the avenger movies 😊), the sky, and agriculture (LibGuides: Thor: Hero of the Gods, n.d.). So, if you are looking to seal a business deal, need agriculture abundance, or seek protection in travel an offering of nettle to Thor is a great option (Mark, 2022). In indigenous folklore, nettle is connected to coyotes which not only represents cleverness but also trickery. Nettle is also great for clearing spaces of anger and abuse.

Metaphysical Properties of Stinging Nettle

If your looking to use nettle in some magical workings or energy work it is great for protection, both for your energetic self or your physical environment such as your home. It also is thought to have healing properties and has been advised to place freshly picked nettle under the bed of someone who is ill to aid in the recovery (Cunningham, 1985). It is also listed to have magical properties in the area of exorcisms and even lust, oh la la! Since Nettle is also good for the physical aspects of pain in the body it can also be used to release spiritual or emotional pain as well.

Where Can You Find Stinging Nettle

Nettle is native to the biomes of the Grasslands but can be found in a multitude of places. In the U.S it can be found in every state but Hawaii. Nettle also likes to grow in moist shady areas, along streams and riverbanks, and flood plains. It is not uncommon to find this medicinally powerful plant growing across the globe. Another abundant area nettle can be found is in many areas of Europe (Biomes, n.d.). You can also very easily obtain seeds for you to grow anywhere in your garden but be aware that unless contained and managed Nettle will spread quite easily.

Nettle Plant Urtica dioica

Herbal Books I recommend

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs

Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use

Wishing you love, light and inner peace babes ✌🌈✨💜

Want to learn about another plant? Here’s one post on Calendula


LibGuides: Thor: Hero of the Gods. (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2022, from,%2C%20the%20sky%2C%20and%20agriculture.

Cunningham, S. (1985, October 1). Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs (Llewellyn’s Sourcebook Series) (Cunningham’s Encyclopedia Series, 1) (1st ed.). Llewellyn Publications.

Biomes, B. P. (n.d.). Blue Planet Biomes – Stinging Nettle. Retrieved September 15, 2022, from

Gladstar, R. (2012, April 10). Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use (Illustrated). Storey Publishing, LLC.

Herbs, G. (2020, July 30). An Essential Guide to Nettle: History, Benefits & Uses. Gaia Herbs. Retrieved September 23, 2022, from,and%20alert%20during%20the%20night.

Mark, J. J. (2022, September 23). Thor. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 23, 2022, from

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *