Why do stinging nettles hurt so much and what do they do to you?


I know they obviously sting for some reason – not sure why though.

I’ve always had a really bad reaction to them and I was wondering why or what their exact effect was on skin

In: Biology

They don’t actually sting really, you can pick them up pretty easily. The reason this happens is the tips of the leaf is covered in a chemical that causes irritation to your skin, the main purpose being to stop insects and other animals trying to eat it

The leaves themselves have small almost invisible “spikes” or stings on the surface of them. These are coated in methanoic (formic) acid which is what actually hurts. The acid itself is actually extremely similar to vinegar so you should get a similar feeling pouring vinegar into dot sized cut 😀

if you grasp the nettle firmly you wont gets stung. If you brush against it you will get stung.