The present writer may be accused of nearing the knuckle (a British idiom meaning verging on the indecent), since urtication — flogging with nettles — has been advocated for erotic stimulation in various cultures. But it’s known best as a method of provoking inflammation, a folk remedy for several ailments.
Have you urticated yourself today? People have been doing it for a couple of thousand years to relieve arthritis pain, hives, rashes and even sciatica. To perform urtication, all you need is a nettle plant and a glove. Put on the glove, pick up the plant, and smack yourself repeatedly. ... Urtication is not recommended.
The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook, by James A Duke, 2000.
The word can be traced back to Roman times. Latin urtica is the stinging-nettle, a name in turn taken from the verb urere, to burn. The medical term urticaria refers to a condition of the skin that’s also called nettle rash and hives.
Romans are said to have performed the nettle-flogging technique with other aims in mind than easing arthritis:
Dreading the English climate, [Romans] brought nettles to plant around their first camp in Kent, intending to use them as food, animal fodder and, more bizarrely, as a quick heating system. A flogging with nettle stems was, they had discovered, just the thing for warming chilly limbs. Enthusiasts might like to know that it’s called urtication.
Independent, 22 Sep. 2001.
Search World Wide Words
Support this website!
Donate via PayPal. Select your currency from the list and click Donate.