HEALTHY LIVING TIPS: wear gloves when you pull weeds!

I love my fingers. They type when I ask them to. They write, play games, deal cards and operate the remote. When they hurt, I hurt. When they are viciously attacked by a weed, I am not amused.

A WEED, you say? Well, not just any weed. STINGING NETTLE – a nasty, vicious, poky weed that caused the fingers on my right hand to burn, itch and swell.

Who knew? Not I, but, boy, did I learn. The hard way.

I’d been pulling weeds because all the rain we’ve been having has made it perfect weed-pulling weather. I thought I was approaching a regular weed, but, no! One pull and my hand was on fire. I took a photo of the offending weed and Googled it. Here’s what I learned.


According to Wikepedia:

“The species is divided into six subspecies, five of which have many hollow stinging hairs called trichomes on the leaves and stems, which act like hypodermic needles, injecting histamine and other chemicals that produce a stinging sensation upon contact.”


“In normal circumstances, stinging nettle rash should disappear within 24 hours.”

Well, I have news for you,, I can still feel it.

I also learned that stinging nettles has a medicinal use. The same site offered this praise for the vicious plant:

“Stinging nettle has been used for hundreds of years to treat painful muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia. Today, many people use it to treat urinary problems during the early stages of an enlarged prostate (called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH).”

Do I care? Not a whit.

Here’s something else I learned:

“Research has found some evidence that rubbing stinging nettle leaves on painful joints can provide pain relief. One small study also found that eating stewed nettle leaves was a helpful addition to the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac.”


My takeaway: don’t pull weed without wearing gloves–and don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. 😉


PS: We’re having a wild and wooly storm in our part of the West Coast. Perfect weather for reading! I finished a book during the Super Bowl (yawn). Must go write a review…now that my fingers are finally better. 😉




5 thoughts on “HEALTHY LIVING TIPS: wear gloves when you pull weeds!”

  1. My husband has a bad reaction to the juniper and some other greenery around our house. Couple of my boys react to the plants, too. Hope you’re feeling better soon. Try some benedryl to help.

    I remember when I was the non-medical facilitator for my (now disbanded) Crohn’s support group, one man was always into alternative meds–to a fault–and he would praise stinging nettle tea as a cure-all.

    • Now, maybe if someone else did the harvesting and distillation, nettles might provide a benefit, but you won’t me messing with them again–except with a hoe on a long pole. LOL.

      I forgot to mention that I took Benadryl and I had some cream from a different skin problem a year ago that helped. It’s amazing how good Nature can be and yet how toxic. Good lesson, though. The next time might be worse. 🙁

      Thanks for your good wishes. I am feeling well now. Fingers are back to normal.

  2. I feel for you, and your hands! Be very happy it was your hands though, it is much easier to put calamine lotion on the hands, than it is on ones “bum.” Yes, I said rear-end, derriere, caboose, and so forth. I spent my childhood in Washington state, more precisely, in the (then) very wooded area of Bremerton (not far from Illahee State park). We were children, what did we know about what type of plants one should and should not squat near? Needless to say, the boys had it worse than the girls, because girls knew to lean up against the tree bark! 🙂 We learned mighty quick the old rhyme about three (3) leaf plants (among other things) – Description of why at:

    “Leaves of Three, Leave Them Be,
    Longer Middle Stem, Don’t Touch Them,
    Hairy Vine, No Friend of Mine,
    Red in Spring, Dangerous Thing!”

    The page also discusses white berries, but that wasn’t part of the Rhyme I learned.

    • WOW, Jen. I remember this problem happening to my nephews once when they were boys. My poor son is with Search and Rescue and they tramp through dense brush filled with poison oak all the time. He’s found a couple of things that help, but avoidance is by far the best idea.

      Thanks for sharing the other rhymes, too. I’d never heard them, but I plan to share with my son! He’s an old hand at identification, but it might help one or two of his new recruits.

      You rock!



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