Herbs of the Holyland by Nissim Krispil

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Roman Nettle
Common name:

Roman Nettle

Synonym name:

Hebrew name:

סרפד הכדורים

Scientific name:

Urtica pilulifera



Arabic name:


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annual plant
0.2-0.7 m
Flowering color:
Flowering period:
Growing areas:
The plant grows best in nitrogen-rich lands and manure areas such as sheep and cattle places, gardens, yards, cow farms and near garbage places.
Roman Nettle is an annual herb that mostly grows near inhabitant areas. The stems grow upright; the leaves are opposite, egg- shaped and dentate. The Female blossoms bloom in ball shape and carried on long petioles. All parts of the plant strongly burn. So it advisable to touch the plant with gloves.
The plant is very common in the Israeli Arabs folk medicine, to cure: Bladder outlet obstruction, back pain and arthritis, nosebleeds, wounds and abscesses (boils), food poisoning, loss of hair, blood diseases, anemia, asthma, diarrhea, bleeding in the mouth, hemorrhage in the uterus and other women's diseases.
 brew 2 handfuls of leaves in a liter of hot water for 10 minutes. Drink 3 cups from the brew per day. 
It also recommended to prepare from nettle leaves a soup or to add it as a vegetable salad. Its taste is like lettuce, and there is nothing to fear because it stops to burn when the leaves are cut and cooked.
All the green parts of the plant are eatable including the seeds that tastes like sesame.
Nettle is mentioned in the Bible only once: "instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress, and instead of the Nettle shall come up the myrtle" (Isaiah 55, 13). 
 The Hebrew name of nettle is: 'sirpad' and it specifies the burning character of the plant. (seraph). 
According to tradition, the troops of Julius Caesar brought the nettle to Britain, knowing, that it will help them, in the English cold winter, to treat rheumatism and arthritis. 
The great Greek physician Dioscorides and the famous Roman physician Galen recommended the nettle as a cure for every disease and the seeds of it for stimulating sexual desire. Maimonides highly recommends nettle for the treatment of liver diseases and snake bites.