The Charm of Nine Herbs (4) Nettle
Nettle this is called * powerful against sickness.
It drives out pain * it is powerful against sickness.
This is the herb * that fought with the serpent,
It has might against poison, * might against infection,
might against the evil one * who wanders the land.
No controversy about this one – everyone agrees that ‘stiÞe’ is nettle, and all the herbal traditions agree that it is powerful against fevers and inflammation – notoriously used against rheumatism by Roman soldiers – good for the kidneys, and a very useful antihistamine. In many countries the fibres from nettles were used to make a thread that could be woven like linen, ropes, or fishing nets. I have not found any reference to a herb that ‘fought with the serpent’ anywhere, so I can’t account for that, but Grieve says that nettles planted around beehives will deter frogs. I can’t say I ever thought frogs might be a problem, but there you go.