One of the most popular of the medicinal herbs, loved by those who know it well and not so loved by those who stumble upon it, nettle is a special ally to have in the neighborhood.
Nettle is a multifaceted herb with many uses and works to harmonize and strengthen most major systems in the body such as our liver, kidneys, adrenals and nervous system. In addition to this, nettles have the convenience of working with all body types.
The more noticeable of its properties is its stimulating quality. Hence the name “stinging nettle” when brushing against this plant the wrong way it releases folic acid, the same acid ants release when they sting. There is a proper way to harvest where you lay the needles down. After cooked or dried they aren’t active.
Interestingly though nettles are used in cases where the tissues in the body had lost sensation, or there is a lack of circulation, stagnation or atrophy and even in more serious issues such as kidney failure. Nettle helps to stimulate tissue growth, nerve excitability and protein building bringing whole systems back to life. Issues like arthritis, gout, low blood pressure, and hypothyroidism can all benefit from supplementing nettle.
Specific for the liver, nettles build blood proteins and is an ally in first aid issues that relate to blood balance. Like in situations that cause hemorrhaging, bloody urine, bloody stools or nose, and any minor wounds. Old tribes would use the fresh juice on open wounds to speed up healing.
Nettles are packed with vital minerals such as potassium, selenium, zinc, copper and iron. As well as high amounts of calcium, magnesium and chlorophyll. This rich nutrient dense profile makes Nettle a great holistic treatment for weak hair and skin. Nettle is a true beautifying herb, tonifying the body from the inside out.
It is best to simply get to know this plant in the wild and cultivate into your garden instead of harvesting. The more the merrier! Apparently in this area specifically it seems to be decreasing in number in wild which is a sign to start spread seeds. Ecosystems rely on plants like they do animals to stay in balance. In this way by spreading seed you can be a caretaker of the land and increase the number of this powerful wild tonic herb.
The most favored and affective way of ingesting Nettle is through an infusion. Done by boiling down the dried herb into water to make a strong tea. Also great added into soups and sautes. Drink Nettle tea for internal use and as a restorative hair rinse when cooled.
This must be the true green superfood that gave Popeye all his strength 😉
Nettle Sesame Salt:
1 cup sesame seeds and 1/4 cup dried nettle.
Directions: Roast sesame seeds to liking mortar with salt and leaves. Ground finally.
Nettle Goat Cheese Casserole:
3 cups rice, 6 cups water, salt, 6 cups nettle tops, 2 cups water and 4 cups goat cheese
Directions: Cook rice in water. Then cook nettles in water until tender. Oil casserole dish. Layer rice, greens, cheese, rice, greens, cheese. Bake at 350 until cheese is melted, about 15-20 min.
The Practice of Traditional Western Herbalism by Matthew Wood
Recipes from Susun Weeds book: Healing Wise
Medicinal Plants of Texas by Nicole Telkes