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The common nettle, or stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a plant usually regarded as one to be wary of; most of us can remember the searing pain of a nettle sting, either in childhood or more recently, so it's not surprising they are viewed with caution. However, the multitude of health-giving benefits this formidable plant has to offer more than makes up for its outwardly hostile character. Nettles have been used over thousands of years for medicinal purposes, as well as being a food source, an ingredient for beer and wine-making, and nutritious nettle tea infusions. Fortunately, once nettles are soaked in water or cooked they will no longer sting, so can be handled and consumed without fear!