Nettles- A Green Treasure

Nettles, though they have a bad rep for their defensive sting, truly have a wide range of medicinal benefits for our health and wellbeing. It’s no wonder this mystical herb has been respectfully used for hundreds of years.

Disclaimer: I’m just beginning my herbal journey, so these weekly posts teach me just as much as they teach you! All info has been researched and resourced from well-respected herbal practitioners and trusted sources such as, Herbal Academy and Rosemary Gladstar amongst other sources. If you see anything that is amiss, please don’t hesitate to reach out and make suggestions!

Nettle (Urtica dioica)- Benefits

  • Calcium, Iron, protein, magnesium, zinc, potassium, beta-carotenes, Vitamin A,C, K, Flavonoids
  • Great remedy for allergies and hay fever
  • Liver tonic
  • Fortifies energy
  • Detoxifies the body
  • Relieves arthritic pain

Nettles are a great source of minerals that help fortify our bones, improves energy levels, supports the liver and reproductive system, alleviates allergies and relieves arthritic pain.

In this day and age, with soils that are mineral deficient, subsequently meaning we too are mineral deficient, ingesting nettles everyday may restore some mineral depletion and be the first stepping stone towards improving our overall health.

Ways To Use Nettle

Nettles can be used topically and they can also be ingested.

To ingest, you can add the dried/fresh herb to salads, stir-fries, smoothies, make tea infusions/decoctions or tinctures.

Each part offers different medicinal properties.

The “stinging” affect of nettle is removed when the leaves are exposed to heat, drying, or mashing.

Parts used: Primarily the leaf, but also the root (prostate tonic) and seed (stamina and energy).

Topically (source):

Adding it to your shampoo and other hair products: Nettle oil not only promotes healthy hair growth, but can also help scalp conditions like psoriasis and dandruff. Massage it onto your hair and wrap a towel around your head. Leave the oil on your scalp overnight and then rinse out the next day.

Mixing it with a safe carrier oil and massaging it on your skin: According to Stylecraze, topical application of nettle oil may help ease insect bites, eczema and chickenpox.

Other uses: (Sourced from Rosemary Gladstar’s “Medicinal Herbs”)

  • Been used for remedies of gout, rheumatism, anemia, exhaustion, menstrual pains, skin problems, hay fever (just to name a few)
  • Can be cooked and eaten, brewed as beer, infused as tea, tinctures.
  • Used in the manufacturing of cloth (considered to be finer than cotton or linen).

Historically, Ancient Greeks and Romans cultivated acres of nettles for food, medicine and clothing.

There is a practice called urtication, which arose out of Roman herbal practices, in which stalks of nettle were cut, tied together and used topically for arthritic or swollen joints. The resulting nettle rash was reported to improve circulation to the area, thereby relieving aches and pains.

-Rosemary Gladstar “Medicinal Herbs”

Alright, alright. Time to befriend nettle and DIY!

Nettle Juice Recipe

(Provided by Herbal Academy)

Ingredients:

  • Fresh young nettle aerial parts (enough to fill blender)
  • 1/2 apple, roughly chopped
  • Water

Directions:

  • With gloves, fill a blender with the nettle
  • Add chopped apple
  • Add 2 cups water and blend (you may need to add 1 or 2 more cups. Just use enough water to help the nettle and apple blend into a juicy pulp!)
  • Strain through a jelly bag (or get crafty) into a jar. Squeeze all the liquid out and enjoy all the amazing benefits of nettle in a tasty juice!

Tincture Recipe

Herbs can be extracted using a variety of solvents; hot or cold water, alcohol, glycerin, oil, honey, and vinegar are most commonly used in herbal preparations (where they are also called menstruums or menstrua). The choice of solvent depends on the nature of the herb and the constituents that you wish to extract.

Herbal Academy

For this particular recipe, we will be using unfiltered apple cider vinegar because we are wishing to focus on mineral extraction and “vinegar is ideal for extracting minerals from mineral-rich plants.” -Herbal Academy

  • Find a clean, sanitized glass jar.
  • Natural wax paper.
  • Fill jar half way with dried herb.
  • The other half with apple cider vinegar, making sure the herbs are fully covered by the menstruum to avoid oxidization and molding of the herb.
    Label. Store in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks. Shake daily with intention and love.
    After 4-6 weeks, strain herbs (compost if possible), pour liquid into tincture bottle and thank the mother for the medicine!

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