Fleurya aestuans (L.) Gaudich.
Fleurya caraoellana (Schrank) Wedd.
Fleurya caravellana (Schrank) Wedd.
Fleurya cordata Gaudich.
Fleurya corylifolia Gaudich.
Fleurya glandulosa Wedd.
Fleurya ingrate Miq.
Fleurya lurida Blume
Fleurya perrieri Leandri
Fleurya petiolata Decne.
Fleurya racemosa Gaudich.
Fleuryopsis petiolata (Decne.) Opiz
Laportea bathiei Leandri
Laportea glandulosa (Wedd.) V.C.Lima
Urera gaudichaudiana Hensl.
Urtica aestuans L.
Urtica caravellana Schrank
Urtica cordata (Gaudich.) Steud.
Urtica corylifolia Juss. ex Poir
Urtica divergens G. Mey.
Urtica latifolia Rich.
Urtica nemorosa Kunth
Urtica petiolata (Decne.) Steud.
Urtica racemosa Burm. ex Wedd.
Urtica schimperiana Hochst. ex Steud.
Urtica tuberculata Andersson
Common Name: West Indian Nettle
West Indian nettle is a little-branched, annual plant usually growing up to 1 metre tall, occasionally to 3 metres. The stem is fleshy, becoming slightly woody at the base, and the whole plant is densely covered with stinging hairs up to 1mm long[
A popular medicinal herb within its range, the plant also provides a useful fibre and edible leaves. It is harvested from the wild for local use.
The leaves contain irritant calcium oxalate crystals which can cause urticaria[
]. This is likely to be very similar to the common nettle (Urtica urens) where the crystals are most prevalent in older leaves, especially once the plant has started flowering - the young leaves are a very wholesome food to eat[
Contact of the skin with the stinging hairs causes pain and blisters, but this effect is lost when plant parts are dried[
S. America - Peru, Ecuador, the Guyanas; C. America - Panama to Mexico; Caribbean; Tropical Africa; Tropical Asia to New Guinea.
Farmland, along roads and in other disturbed locations in forest or woodland areas, always in partial shade, sometimes in rock crevices at elevations from sea level to 1,300 metres[
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Usually found in partially shaded positions in the wild[
A very common plant in Africa, where it is often considered a weed[
The slightly mucilaginous leaves are often eaten as a vegetable and in soups[
]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity[
The plant is widely used in African traditional medicine, though little research has been carried out into its medicinal properties[
A methanol extract, before and after filtering through charcoal, and various fractions were assayed against 12 species of pathogenic bacteria and fungi. Extracts were active against 7 of them, especially Staphylococcus aureus. In subsequent phytochemical screenings, reactions were positive for steroids, but negative for alkaloids, flavonoids and anthraquinones[
The pulped whole plant is eaten or the plant sap is drunk as an anthelmintic and for the treatment of hernias[
Applied externally, the pulp is rubbed on the body in the treatment of fevers in children, oedema and ulcers[
]. Dried and powdered, the plant is rubbed into scarifications as a treatment for headaches and syphilitic yaws[
The leaves are diuretic and laxative[
]. They are often eaten as a vegetable or in a soup to treat digestive disorders including stomach aches, indigestion and constipation[
]. An infusion of the leaf is taken for the treatment of urine retention, bed wetting, haemorrhages, filariasis, rheumatism and menopausal disorders[
]. The leaf is roasted then ground in water and the liquid drunk as a treatment for gonorrhoea; leucorrhoea is treated in the same way but without roasting the leaf first[
The boiled leaves, pounded with clay and water, are applied in enemas as a treatment against dysentery[
The leaves are used externally to treat a range of conditions, As a sap, often mixed with palm oil or kaolin, they are applied to abscesses and wounds; on the head of children to close the fontanel; on the abdomen to ease childbirth; and on the gums to relieve toothache[
]. A maceration of the fresh leaf is used to massage the body for the treatment of intercostal pain and stitches in the side. Slightly scorched or smoked, the leaves are applied to burns and used against migraine[
]. A leaf decoction is applied on swellings; instilled in the eye to treat minor eye infections; and used as an embrocation to strengthen rachitic children and to relieve fever[
A decoction of the leaf and root is drunk as an antidote to any case of poisoning[
The inflorescence, combined with the seed of Aframomum melegueta, is eaten as a treatment for sore throat and hoarseness[
In Costa Rica and Martinique, this species has been shown to be a host for root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.), which are pests in banana plantations. It is also a host of African cassava mosaic virus (ACMV)[
A fibre obtained from the stem is used for making thread, string and rope[
]. The bark yields 45% fibre, which is irregularly distributed in the bark, it is white and does not contain any lignin; tensile strength is low; degumming is moderately easy[
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