Botanical Name: Urtica dioica
Energetics: Cooling, drying
Major Properties: Nutritive, kidney & adrenal support, diuretic, astringent, hemostatic
Examples of Uses: Great source of minerals, especially as a nourishing herbal infusion, popularized by Susun Weed (http://nourishingherbalinfusions.com), seasonal allergies, eczema, arthritis, weak hair/teeth/bones, fatigue, and much much more
Parts Used: leaves prior to plant blooming
Pesto - make extra and freeze for winter use
Dry (for tea or to add to soups, etc.)
I find it to be too drying for me, but helps many people with seasonal allergies due to its drying effects. Historically, persons used to hit arthritic areas with nettle leaves/stems to relieve pain, due to blood rushing to the area. I have felt relief with arthritic pain in finger joints after gathering nettles (I seldom wear gloves to gather to get this benefit). I try to drink a nettle nourishing herbal infusion at least once/week. The taste needs to grow on you, but you can just feel the minerals entering your cells! It's a great, very inexpensive alternative to spirulina or seaweed powders. I have heard several herbalists suggest that if you don't know which herb to use for a particular issue, just use nettle.
This brief overview merely highlights my observations. There is, of course, a great deal of information that you can find on the Internet or in books. Or better yet - get together with other herbalists and share your experiences!
Please add your own experiences so that together we can create a more comprehensive overview.
As always, if you have a chronic ailment that is not resolving itself or an acute issue, seek the attention of your physician.