Himalayan Nettle Fiber || Properties || Extraction || Applications

Himalayan Nettle Fiber:

Girardinia diversifolia, which is commonly known as Himalayan Nettle or Nilghiri nettle is a wild shrub available naturally in the foothills of Himalayas. It is found abundantly in river sides, forest land and parts like Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir , Nepal and also in parts of China. According to the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, Himalayan Nettle is the longest fiber and is considered finer, stronger, and more elastic than linen.The fiber is found in the steam and is smooth, strong and light. It grows naturally at elevations between 1,200 to 3,000 metres (3,900 to 9,800 feet). It is a shade tolerant, tall, stout and erect herb growing up to 3m height with perennial rootstock. Some researches shows that this fiber is more superior when compare to the other textile bast fiber. With all the advantages of sustainability this can prove helpful to create a livelihood for many local population in Himalayan region.

Properties of Himalayan Nettle:

  • Fibers are best suitable for the textile production.
  • It has good length and can be spun into the yarn.
  • The woven fabric  from the fiber’s yarn looks similar to linen but it is stronger that it and is suitable for structured garments.
  • The fiber are hollow , which creates natural insulation and thus it is really unique in nature.
  • The garment made from fabric of Himalayan Nettle are suitable for summer and winter.
  • According to some researches it shows great resistance to wrinkling as well as shows antimicrobial properties.

Plant & Fiber Content:

As per study of Indo-China in the 1940s,

  • Fiber content of the stem- 3.5-13.2%

Bark strip contains:

  • Moisture- 16%
  • Cellulose- 38%
  • Hemi cellulose-  8%
  • Lignin- 8%
  • Ash- 7%

After Degumming fiber contains

  • Moisture- 11%
  • Cellulose- 67%
  • Hemi cellulose- 8%
  • Lignin-4%
  • Ash-3%

Traditional Process of extraction of Himalayan nettle:

Fig- Extraction process of Nettle Fiber

  • Fibers are generally harvested in the month of August.
  • Cutting of stem is done near to the ground.
  • Stems are then kept to dry for a day.
  • The inner part of the stem is boiled, the same part contains fibers.
  • The outer layer is further removed with a wash.
  • After washing the part is rubbed in mud called as Kamedu Miiti, this separates the fibers.
  • After rubbing separated fiber are dried in sunlight and after drying the fibers are ready for spinning.

Application of Nettle:

The yarn from nettle fiber is 100% hand spun. The yarn is knitted, woven in variety of products like  clothing , bags, fishing nets etc. The woven fabric feels similar to linen and has got good strength also has soft feel. No chemical is used in process of manufacturing yarn.

Fig- Applications of Nettle Fiber

The fiber is blended with other fibers and hand knitted scarvs and shawls are also available. Pure nettle is also used for the same. Durable ropes and fishing nets are also manufatured from this fiber from long time. Muslin can also be manufactured with nettle. Bags, sacks, jackets, porters’ headbands and mats, vests, shawls and a range of other articles aimed at tourist and export markets.

In Nepal, the plant is a source of livestock feed, bedding material, fuel and a blue dye.


1- International Journal of Home Science 2018; 4(1): 281-285 Nettle fiber: Himalayan wonder with extraordinary textile properties by Nupur Srivastava and Dr. Deepali Rastogi

2- Girardiniadiversifolia: 


3- Clothing From Himalayan Nettle Fibre: 


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