Stinging nettle is one of my favorite foods, 9 months of the year.  Bring it into your yard.  It tolerates some shade.  Contain it, wall it in.  Superior genetics, very invasive.  Cut top whorl of leaves all spring, summer and fall: steam, saute, in soups, stir fry. (More)
My nettle patch being encroached by Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis Meerb.).  Eat the nettles and Jewelweed.  Use Jewelweed to relieve nettle stings and treat poison ivy. 

More as an edible wild plant

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Stinging nettle is said to be helpful on arthritic joints as a counterirritant.  Mexican truck drivers use the plant to relieve sciatica.  They also drink copious amounts of tequila.  I recommend if you use the nettle arthritis remedy, have the tequila ready...Sure, the one with the worm.  Scarification is another way that Native Americans treated arthritis.  See the videos Native American Medicine and Little Medicine at www.herbvideos.com .
Late season nettle plants may be simmered for mineral and nutrient content.  A flavorful vegetable bullion.
Right:  Spring nettles in our garden, April.

My wife Jill uses nettle tea, nettle soup, and stir fried nettles to ease her asthmatic condition.  Hot water is poured over the leaves of fresh nettle.  The cup is covered.  Let cool and drink.  Lick the essential oils off the bottom of the cover.

Miso soup found in paste or dry form in Oriental markets can be used for a nettle soup base.  Bring water to a boil, drop in niso, then nettle leaves---about a handful to two cups of soup plus or minus.  Very good.  Try it with watercress leaves, lovage leaves, wild leek leaves.  

SPANISH MEDICINE:  Urtica urens.  In Spanish: ortiga menor; Catalan: ortiga menuda.  Leaves are prepared in infusion as a diuretic, mineral replenisher, hemostat, and to purge toxins from the body (purgative).  The root is believed to reduce the size of kidney stones.  A decoction of the seeds is believed to prevent involuntary urination in children.

It is used in infusion, tincture and juice.

Spanish boil the new leaves (top whorls) then cool them and use them in salads, cooked vegetable dishes, tapas.

This particular species U. urens is very high in chlorophyll.

It is eaten by domestic animals and wild foraging animals of the Pyrenees.

                         Vertiginous drop lined with nettle
and dock, Andorra.