Natural first aid if you get stung by stinging nettle is needed.  The treatment is to ease the symptom and the burn sensation.  There are many local wisdoms of natural remedies from local peoples.  They know exactly the dangers of the stinging nettle.  From generation to generation, they learn how to handle and minimize the risk while in the forest.

From all the stinging nettle in Indonesia, Pulus (Dendrocnide stimulans) is one of the most dangerous ones.  The sting effect will remain, usually for two weeks before completely disappear.  The symptom is very painful.  It’s a combination between a burn sensation and an itchy rash.  And the most dangerous is when the sting occurs during the rainy season.

During my personal exploration, I had many experiences of being stung by Pulus.  Of course, by accidentally touching the nettle leaves while walking in the forest.   I have tried several treatments to reduce the pain.  Some local peoples believe that using mud/soil from the forest base layer is effective to reduce the pain.  I also tried the treatment with painkillers medicine. But it was not effective.  The pain is still there.

natural first aid

Pacing as one of the best natural first aid for the nettle sting

Finally, some years ago, I got information from other local people in different regions of west java.  When they get stung by Pulus, they use Pacing (Coctus speciosus) to reduce pain.  The way is very simple.  They squeeze the pacing leaves and then rub them on the area affected by the Pulus sting.  The potion based on personal experience gives a good result than other potions.  The symptom is not directly disappearing, but the effect is relieving the pain much better. 

In the Indonesian rain forest, Pacing is usually easily growing near the Pulus plants. So that when we get stung by Pulus, we only need to walk around to explore the surrounding area.  Then we will find the natural first aid.

The Description of Pacing (Coctus speciosus)

Pacing (Coctus speciosus) is one of the Indonesian native species.  We can easily find Pacing in the Indonesian forest. Especially in Sumatra, Java, and Kalimantan.  Usually, they grow wild in the humid area near the water source.  One of Costaceae’s family members.  Pacing does not grow in large groups in their habitat but only a few trees in small groups in some places.

Pacing plants have a height of 0.5 m – 3 m. Grows upright and likes damp and shady places. Easily found in humid forests, up to an altitude of 1,200 m above sea level. The soft stem is brownish red, strong, smooth, segmented, covered with leaf midrib, purplish-green.

The leaves are green, single-leaf, short stalks, and elongated strands. Leaf base blunt, with flat edges. Shiny color, the underside of the leaves is soft. Leaf length between 11-28 cm, with a width of 8-11 cm.

The flowers are compound, grain-shaped. The crown is tubular, with a length of ±1 cm and a diameter of ±5 mm. Stamens measuring ± 6 cm, pointed green. The pistil protrudes above the anther, white. The shape of the fruit is oval and red. The seeds are black, small, and hard with a diameter of ± 2 mm.

The Local names of Pacing

Pacing (Coctus speciosus) have several local names, such as Kelancing (Bangka), Galoba Hutan (Melayu), Sitawar, tawa-tawa (West Sumatra), Tabar tabar (North Sumatra), Pacing tawar, tepung tawar (west java), Puncang Pancing (central java), Binto (Madura), Lingkuas (Minahasa), Tampung Tawara (Makassar), Muri-Muri (Ternate), Tubu-Tubu (Ambon)

The chemical compound of Pacing

The rhizome and seeds of the pacing plant contain Diosgenin. steroid compounds in plants as steroidal saponin compounds called Dioscin. Human naturally synthesizes Diosgenin. Diosgenin is a precursor of the progesterone hormone. Diosgenin compound is a natural ingredient that acts as a contraceptive.

The chemical content of the Pacing has a sour, spicy, cool taste. Several chemicals compounds in pacing besides Diosgenin, namely Tigogenin, Dioscin, Gacillin, and Flavonoids.

Flavonoids are secondary metabolites of polyphenols, which are the main content in some plants. Flavonoids have several bioactive effects such as antiviral, anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective, antidiabetic, anticancer, anti-aging, antioxidant, and others.

The benefit of Pacing besides as natural first aid against Pulus

Pacing is one of the useful tropical plants. One of the benefits is as a medicinal plant.  For a long time, Indonesians have used pacing as traditional medicine. And because they almost distribute everywhere, this plant is widely known in various regions in Indonesia to treat several diseases.


People have long used the rhizome of pacing as a contraception, anthelmintic, stomachache, liver disorders, hepatitis, gallbladder pain, diuretic, and indigestion. Another use of the rhizome is as an external medicine for snakebite wounds, eczema, and eye inflammation. While the rhizome extract is useful as a tonic and to reduce burning, constipation, leprosy, asthma, bronchitis, anemia.

Leaves as medicine and natural first aid

People use young Pacing leaves to treat hair. Its benefits are to nourish hair and improve hair growth. The leaves are also known to have anti-diabetic compounds, lower blood glucose, as well as to smooth the skin. Last but not least, Pacing leaves is useful for natural first aid to reduce the pain from the Pulus.

Muryanto Paiman

always love to learn from nature.  Passionate on studying plants in some aspects: the DNA, Identification, propagation, and their uses