However, let's try to make the best of it. The lower side of the leafs do not have stinging hairs; picking the plants here does not result in itchiness (it asks a little care to master this though). Also, nettles form a perfect nursery for caterpillars. Even though they are not that preferred in a vegetable garden, they grow up as pretty and pollinating butterflies. Economical uses of stinging nettles are the ability to produce yarn, cloth, rope and paper from the fibers. Furthermore, nettles can be found as colorant or vegetarian rennet in our food, and it can be made into a natural insecticide and soil improver.
The most positive and practical part of nettles to me is their nutrient value and, yes, their edibility. After cooking, the leaves are not spiky anymore, and - while saving expenses at the supermarket - you are weeding some nettles from your garden at the same time! The herb contains several vitamins, of which mainly vitamin C, and it is a rich source of iron, calcium and fibers. A traditional important use of nettles is their depurating and detoxifying quality. In medieval times it was therefore used especially for (vernal) fatigues and in spring cures. So now is exactly the time to try this plant out for ourselves!