NETTLE (0. Eng. netele, cf. Ger. Nessel) , the
See also:equivalent of
See also:Lat . Urtica, a genus of
See also:plants which gives its name to the natural
See also:order Urticaceae . It contains about
See also:species in the temperate parts of both east and west hemispheres . They are herbs covered with stinging hairs; and with unisexual
See also:flowers on the same or on different plants . The male flowers consist of a perianth of four greenish segments enclosing as many stamens, which latter, when freed from the restraint exercised upon them by the perianth-segments while still in the bud, suddenly uncoil themselves, and in so doing liberate the pollen . The
See also:female perianth is similar, but encloses only a single seed-vessel with a solitary seed . The stinging hairs consist of a bulbous
See also:reservoir filled with. acrid fluid, prolonged into a long slender
See also:tube, the extremity of which is finely pointed . By this point the hair penetrates the skin and discharges its irritant contents beneath the
See also:surface . Nettle tops, or the very
See also:young shoots of the nettle, may be used as a
See also:vegetable like
See also:spinach; but from the abundance of crystals (cystoliths) they contain they are
See also:apt to be gritty, though esteemed for their antiscorbutic properties, which they do not possess in any exceptional degree . The fibre furnished by the stems of several species is used for cordage or paper-making . Three species of nettle are
See also:wild in the
See also:British Isles: Urtica dioica, the
See also:common stinging nettle, which is a hairy perennial with staminate and pistillate flowers in distinct plants; U. urens, which is
See also:annual and, except for the stinging hairs, glabrous, and has staminate and pistillate flowers in the same panicle; and U. pilulifera (
See also:Roman nettle), an annual with the pistillate flowers in rounded heads, which occurs in waste places in the east of England, chiefly near the sea—the more virulent of the British species . From their general presence in the neighbourhood of houses, or in spots where
See also:house refuse is deposited, it has been suggested that the nettles are not really natives, a supposition that to some extent receives countenance from the circumstance that the young shoots are very sensitive to
See also:frost .
In anycase they follow man in his migrations, and by their presence usually indicate a
See also:rich in nitrogen . The trailing subterranean
See also:root-stock renders the common nettle somewhat difficult of extirpation .
See also:NEPI'LERASH, or URTICARIA, a disorder of the skin characterized by an eruption resembling the effect produced by the sting of a nettle, namely, raised red or red and
See also:white patches occurring in parts or over the whole of the surface of the
See also:body and attended with
See also:great irritation . It may be acute or chronic . In the former variety the attack often comes on after indulgence in certain articles of
See also:diet, particularly various kinds of fruit,
See also:cheese, pastry, &c., also occasionally from the use of certain drugs, such as
See also:henbane, copaiba,
See also:turpentine, &c . There is at first considerable f everishness and constitutional disturbance, together with sickness and faintness, which either precede or accompany the appearance of the rash . The eruption may appear on any
See also:part of the body, but is most common on the
See also:face and trunk . The attack may pass off in a few
See also:hours, or may last for several days, the eruption continuing to come out in successive patches . The chronic variety lasts with interruptions for a length of
See also:time often extending to months or years . This
See also:form of the disease occurs independently of errors in diet, and is not attended with the feverish symptoms characterizing the acute attack . As regards treatment, the acute variety generally yields quickly to a purgative and the use of some antacid, such as
See also:magnesia or liquor potassae . The
See also:local irritation is allayed by sponging with a warm alkaline solution (soda, potash or
See also:ammonia), or a solution of acetate of lead, and a lotion of ichthyol has been found useful .
Chronic cases have been known to benefit from theadministration of
See also:creosote or salol .
GASPAR NETSCHER (1639-1684)
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