Nettles grow abundantly in protein- rich soils all over the Northern hemisphere and has been used for food and medicine for countless generations. The fibers that can be harvested from nettle stalks have been a historically important source for ropes, nets and clothing.
The leaves and stems are covered in tiny spikes that, when brushed against, release formic acid, which causes a mild but annoying skin reaction. It is no suprise that this plant is also commonly referred to as ”stinging nettle”. Cooking and drying the plant removes these stinging hairs.
Nettle is effective for such a wide variety of ailments that herbalist recommend it for supporting general good health, it is full of nutrients that are important for healthy bones, teeth and hair. It offers a variety of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, polyphenols and pigments — many of which also act as antioxidants in your body.
Another common effect of drinking nettle tea/infusion regularly is a reduction in seasonal allergy symptoms. Reaserchers are not entirely sure of the mechanism behind this, but they surmise it may be due to the plants histamine content, which reduces an inflammatory response. For best results, start drinking nettle infusions daily at least a month before the allergy season starts.
Nettle also supports many detox organ systems, including the liver, lungs, and urinary tract. Nettle taken internaly also relives pain by easing muscle spasms and inflammation.
Wild fresh nettle can be carefully harvested in the spring when the leaves are lined with stinging hairs, they need to be cooked before being eaten.
Nettle is a nourishing herb and can be consumed in larger quantities like a food. The dried leaves and flowers can be steeped to make a delicious herbal tea, while its leaves, stem and roots can be cooked and added to soups, stews, smoothies and stir-fries. However, avoid eating fresh leaves, as their barbs can cause irritation.
In the age of exotic miracle herbs imported from all over the globe, stinging nettle remains an unsung champion for improving health in many powerful ways. The stinging nettle´s nutrient- dense qualities, make it a powerful ally for a variety of health challenges – Enjoy!