Inadvertent exposure to the ubiquitous weed, Urtica dioica, called "stinging nettles" produces an immediate stinging and burning sensation on the skin. This investigation evaluates the structural effect that stinging nettle spicules may have on the clinical manifestation of these symptoms. This hypothesis was investigated by exposing murine skin to stinging nettles and then evaluating the skin using electron microscopy. It was hypothesized that the mechanism of action of stinging nettles is both biochemical and mechanical, which may have clinical significance regarding treatment for acute exposure.
Salicylates are derivatives of salicylic acid that occur naturally in plants and serve as a natural immune hormone and preservative , protecting the plants against diseases , insects , fungi , and harmful bacteria . [ citation needed ] Salicylates can also be found in many medications , perfumes and preservatives. [ citation needed ] Both natural and synthetic salicylates can cause health problems in anyone when consumed in large doses, [ citation needed ] but for those who exhibit salicylate sensitivity (also known as salicylate intolerance ), even small doses of salicylate can cause adverse reactions.