A while ago i fell on a cactus and got a hand full of small spines. It caused a mild but uncomfortable pain, so as an experiment i plunged my hand into a nettle patch (knowing it's used that way for arthritis). Once the nettle sting subsided the pain went away and i continued gardening, forgetting about the incident.
Again, recently i was stung by a mystery insect. The pain was similar in feeling to an ant bite and a red dot surrounded by white swelling showed up on my finger. So again i swiped my finger through the same nettle patch. After a while the pain was gone and all signs of the bite had disappeared.
After some research on the subject, i came across an anecdotal account by a rare seed saver who accidently touched a ferocious nettle (urtica dioicas deadly relative). It caused him the most intense pain hes ever felt in his life. The next day his bad shoulder had been cured and he was able to perform farm duties like he was young again.
Does anyone have a similar story? Do you think its just a case of natural fluctuations in pain perception, or is there something special about nettles?
There could be more to it, regarding the compunds introduced in the subcutaneous tissues by the nettle, but most likely it's the endorphins produced by the body, in reaction to the compunds effects on the body. Pain is relative to perception, so it's also relative to ones endocrine chemistry, which can alter pain perception. Different endorphins released or activated, from the endocrine system, can alter ones perception of pain. The questions are: is it the compounds in the nettle themselves, causing reduction in pain or inflammation, or is it inducing a response from the bodies endocrine system, to release anti-flamitory: and or pain relieving compounds? The imperical answer, I personally can't speak on.
Not a first hand experience but I've read multiple accounts of arthritics being stung by bees (I don't know what kind of bee) and the bee venom seemed to provide a very long lasting relief from pain and discomfort associated with their arthritis.
"Study books and observe nature; if they do not agree, throw away the books." ~ William A. Albrecht
Stinging nettles are a local favourite wild food/medicine where I live and we have an annual event dedicated to it. Stinging nettle was recommended for chronic pain like arthritis and one of the people attending the event volunteered for a demonstration on nettle stings and insisted that they sting her joints. I got the impression that she'd done it many times before because she was directing them to give some pretty good whacks. :P
If you want to get rid of the stings from nettles, coconut oil works pretty well. If you don't have coconut oil you can also go out and find a slug, which works but is a little gross. We tried it with a banana slug but I'm not sure if the type of slug matters.