Nettles

Nettles- Urtica dioica

I can’t say enough about this herb. It has been a food and medicine that has nourished our bodies since the beginning of time. Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Hugo, and Emerson wrote about nettles. Nettles have been a part of recordings of the natural world for thousands of years.

Nettle

Nettles have been in the herbalist’s materia medicas since they have been written. They have found homes in cookbooks, materia medicas, pharmacopeias because they are widespread and so useful.

Urtica dioica, often identified as common nettle, stinging nettle or nettle leaf, or just a nettles, is a herbaceous perennial plant in the family Urticaceae. Originally native to Europe, much of moderate Asia, and western North Africa. It can now be found all over to include New Zealand and North America.

FamilyUrticaceae (Nettle Family)

Botanical Description: Nettle can be 2 to 6 feet tall. Leggy or bushy. It has a square fibrous stem with deep grooves running along its length. The leaves are a rich green color; they are sharped grooved and ovate. They have a heart-shaped base and pointy tip.  The leaves are located in opposite pairs and become increasingly smaller near the top of the stem. The leaves and stems are coated with tiny, hollow hairs tipped with silica. This will sting and cause weals on some people. People, when getting stung, will have different reactions. Make sure you wear gloves when harvesting and using fresh nettle.

Nettles are rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K, riboflavin, thiamine, and minerals like calcium, chromium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, silica, iron, and zinc.

Preparation:
This herb can be made into a tincture or infusion. Infusion: In a quart jar use about 1/3 cup dried herb. Fill the jar with boiling water and allow it to steep for at least 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.

Nettles

You can also use the fresh herb as a vegetable. Saute them with butter and garlic for a wonderful green. You can also add to soups, and other hot savory dishes.

Actions:  Alterative, antiallergenic, anticatarrhal, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antirheumatic, antiscorbutic, antiseptic, astringent, blood tonic, carminative, cholagogue, circulatory stimulant, decongestant, depurative, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, galactagogue, hemostatic, hypoglycemic, kidney tonic, lithotriptic, mucolytic, nervine, nutritive, parturient, pectoral, styptic, uterine tonic, vermifuge.

Uses:

  • This herb is used for building and nourishing the body. Nettle is good for many of our body’s systems. Used for allergies and pollutants from our environment. It is good for the circulatory system promoting vein health, varicose veins, and venous insufficiency, helpful with Atherosclerosis. Wonderful addition internally and topic for skin health, good for helping to clear acne, boils, and nourishing our skin and hair. Wonderful for PMS, edema, cramps, pregnancy, and so much more, this herb is a dynamo.

Cautions:

  • Nettles are deemed safe, even over a prolonged period of time. At times some people have reported some stomach discomfort with overuse.

Sources: Heart of Herbs Herbal School Master Clinical Herbalist Manual 2020



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