Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) well known as “Omwenyango” in Luganda has been used for various purposes for along time. The wonderful crop can make you a millionaire in a short time as one can earn a gross profit of Shs6m every three months from an acre of stinging nettle.
Discorides and Gallen, the great Greek Philosophers used them to treat a number of ailments as well.
There are two types of this plant, the woody one which is common in wilderness and the herbal one, which is leafy in nature.
Our interest will be on the leafy herbal stinging Nettle, although having same properties as Tragia (Kamyu). Stinging Nettle doesn’t need support to grow since it’s not a creeping plant as Tragia.
The stinging nature is caused by its histamine properties which cause allergic reactions to the body to bring about stinging and irritation sensation.
Flowering Stinging Nettle
If taken it cures allergic reactions in the body like cough, running nose and itching body among others. It posseses the natural histamine which counteracts with the body histamine thereby canceling out each other.
The Germans for example use it as a herbal remedy for quite a number of diseases including allergies. Its potential is in helping the body with iron to treat anemia, asthma, inflammation, dental breeding, high fever, side stitch (akabengo) which is rampant among sportsmen and women, high blood pressure and it is also rich in calcium for bones.
The Europeans and Israelite use it as an indicator for soil acidity I.e it dries up if planted in acidic soils. It is used by Chicken farmers to boost the natural yellow yolk and a good natural insecticide.
The crop takes a short period of 3 months to start harvesting and can survive up to 10 years. The leaves are harvested every after three months.
The procedure of growing stinging nettle
Julius Nyanzi, the CEO at Prof Bioresearch, says the crop requires a fine cultivated land for seedlings to grow well. The seedlings are planted in straight lines at a spacing of two meters by two meters (2m*2m).
He says an acre requires 1,000 seedlings and each is sold at Shs1,000 at Prof Bioresearch. Small farmers with small space can also grow this crop. The crop requires fertile soil and enough rainfall or water.
“The crop requires a sizeable amount of water to flourish, so it works well in swampy and water logged areas. It can also thrive under irrigation,” Nyanzi says, adding that there’s no need to use fertilizers and pesticides on the crop.
Nyanzi says it doesn’t require regular weeding because the ground is usually covered by the crop.
After three months, the leaves are harvested wearing safety clothes like overalls, gloves, gum boots and safety glasses.
“The leaves are dried using a drier because direct sunlight will kill the active ingredients / compound of the leaves,” Nyanzi says, adding that the driers are sold at Prof Bioresearch but one can also be trained to make them. The dried leaves can be sold sold at Prof Bioresearch stores in Masanafu at Shs20,000 per kilogram. He says an acre gives about 300kg of dried leaves making. This means a farmer can earn a gross profit of Shs6m every three months from an acre of stinging nettle.
For more information contact, Prof Bioresearch via Tel: 0702 061652 / 0779 519652
Email: prof[email protected]
Money Grows on Trees Series by Omukenkufu Nyanzi Julius