What Happens If You Get Stung By A Nettle? here you can find an illustration of what happens when peoples stung by Pulus (Dendrocnide stimulans), the most dangerous stinging nettle in Indonesia. There is no complete information available. Since knowing Pulus More than ten years ago. I have often been stung by Pulus. And I also witnessed the peoples who were stung by Pulus. The symptoms we experienced were different. Ranging from mild to the most severe.

How long have you been in pain?

Generally, for those who were stung by Pulus who grew in the forest on the north side of Mount Burangrang, the pain suffered would slowly disappear after 2 weeks. The longest I have felt is 2 months before all the itching completely disappeared. The longest record I know is 2 years. When a participant in a wildlife activity chooses the wrong leaves to clean herself after peeing. He suffered for 2 years. Luckily to this day he is fine and can testify to how dangerous this Pulus is

The Most Dangerous Parts From Pulus?

We call it by the common name, a stinging nettle. On the surface of the leaf and stem of Pulus, there are fine hairs called trichomes. These hairs spread throughout above and below the leaves and stems. The most dangerous part of Pulus is the trichomes. The trichomes are tapered with fragile ends and are formed from silica and calcite. These trichomes are sharp and able to penetrate the skin easily.

What Happens If You Get Stung By A Nettle?
An Illustration of Pulus (Dendrocnide stimulans)

Structure and contents of the Pulus trichome

Actually, when you look closely, these trichomes are tubes that contain chemicals that are composed of 2 groups. The first group is neurotransmitters. This compound is a compound that functions as a “messenger” from the taste buds in the epidermis of the skin to the brain. The second group of compounds is acidic compounds.

Chemicals in stinging nettle
The chemicals content in the Pulus (Dendrocnide stimulans) trichomes

The neurotransmitters contained in the pulus and responsible for pain are Histamine, Acetylcholine, and Serotonis. We naturally have these three compounds because of their central role in maintaining the balance of the body’s sensor system. However, when the body gets a jump in numbers that far exceeds its normal amount, the body will experience several things. This feeling ranges from pain, itching, burning sensation, fever, nausea, to fainting.

Only 2 acid compounds in trichomes are responsible for pain. These compounds are formic acid and Oxalic acid. When the body is exposed to this spike in the concentration of these two acids, the sensation that is most easily imagined is like being bitten by a fire ant. But with a large number and the pain that happened continuously.

What Happens If You Get Stung By A Nettle?

How many trichomes exposing you? It depends on how intensely the body parts are in contact. The number can be tens or even hundreds. The sharp structure of the trichomes penetrates the skin and automatically releases the concentrated chemical compounds contained in it. In biology, this is called the osmosis process.

What Happens If You Get Stung By A Nettle?
Osmotic process of chemical in the Pulus Trichomes to the skin epidermic tissue

The very rapid transfer of trichomes into the epidermal layer of the skin. These chemical compounds are in direct contact with the nerves that are many in the epidermis layer. What happens then this pain signal is sent directly to the brain through the nerve network through the spinal cord and directly to the brain.

A continuous process of pain

This process takes place continuously all the time. Day and night, days until all these chemical compounds dissolve and disappear from the epidermic tissue of the skin. This process can then take place sooner or later. The victim will feel different impacts depending on the level of immunity and fitness of his body at that time.

Illustration when stung by Dendrocnide stimulants
The pain signal continuously send the pain and burn sensation to the brain

In addition, the location where Pulus grows is also a factor in how quickly or how long the impact lasts. All the examples that I have presented above are the impacts that occurred when you were stung in the forest on the north side of Mount Burangrang. He had been stung in several other forests, but the impact was not as long as in Burangrang.

When will the pain end?

In general, for species that are on the northern side of Burangrang, it will take 2 weeks to recover. Gradually these chemical compounds dissolve and eventually disappear. But what happens every day, the pain will increase again when the exposed skin is exposed to water.

What Happens If You Get Stung By A Nettle?
The pain scale from day 1 to day 15 related to the concentration of the chemicals

Because this compound dissolves in water, the logic is that when water enters the pores, the compound will dissolve and spread so that it touches the nerves that feel pain. And the nerves send it back to the brain. Slowly this process disappears as the presence of these compounds is depleted in the cells of the epidermal tissue of the skin.

Is Pulus Also Danger To Dogs?

What happens when a dog also stung by a nettle? From the story of the local people, there was once a hunting dog that was hit by Pulus. The dog rubs and chews every day for the affected part of his body until the fur finally falls out in that area.

From the many experiences and interactions with Pulus, I finally tried to learn from Pulus. I have also conducted various experiments on victims who were stung. The aim is increasingly to understand and get to know in more detail about what actually happened and how to deal with the victim.

From these results, it seems like it will be more useful if I make this in writing and share it with everyone. This paper is the result of field studies and is accompanied by a literature study from various reliable scientific sources.


Those are the few things about pulus that I learned from observation and then supplemented them with illustrations so that they were easy to understand. Hopefully this article is useful and we will be more careful when in the forest. If there are things that need to be corrected, please leave a message in the comments column.

Muryanto Paiman

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


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