PLANT PORTRAIT NETTLE
Stinging nettle is a plant we all get to know usually quiet early in childhood, especially once we get burn by its hairy leaves in the outdoors. Nevertheless noone should be really scared by it.
An old legend tells the story of nettle looking completely ages ago and no stinging at all. Everyone (human& animals) was powerfully attracted to its beauty and its blessings: nettle was very shiny plant with the colour of gold! Because of over-harvesting, the plant asked Mother Nature for help, who gave it the stinging formic acid and other phyto-chemicals as protection. But the plant kept its amazing medicinal properties, which are just hidden under a simpler green robe and irritant stings. So nowadays only the ones with the eyes (and the knowledge) are able to see nettles true “heart of gold”. Such a magically beautiful explanation of its painful stinging, right?
Used for centuries as both food and medicine (and even for clothing), nettle is a real powerhouse for the human body. Fresh nettle leaves are high in vitamins A, C, D, E, K. They are also rich in calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium!
Nettle, also known as “urtica dioica”, can be used in several ways. Leaves are often put in a cup of tea, as a main soup ingredients, in a risotto or even as a pesto with some nuts. The roots are used for teas and tinctures, while the seeds are delicious as toppings on salad or in pan of sautéed vegetables. Herbalists often recommend taking nettle regularly to help increase energy levels, based on its high nutrient level.
“Nettle is almost a panacea”, says herbalist Robin Rose Bennett, “with healing benefits for nearly every major system: lymph, glandular, respiratory, skin, urinary and cardiovascular.” The list of the healing powers of nettles is pretty long and amazing, which ones did you know already?
- a) toning weak bones, teeth and hair
- b) decreasing seasonal allergies: start drinking nettle leaves tea few weeks before the allergy season starts
- c) stabilising blood sugar
- d) rejuvenating effects on the veins and arteries
- e) restoring kidneys functions
- f) re-energising depleted adrenal glands
- h) wonderful remedy when weak and exhausted: thanks to its highly assimilable iron and protein;
- g) support prostate health: use tea from nettle roots
- j) perfect for detoxing in spring
- i) supports immune health
- k) helps sharpen the mind and focus
- l) on soul-level supports self-respect;
- m) reducing musculoskeletal pain
Isnt this worth a huge wowww? Although its not a cure-all plant, nettle is a cures-much plant!
Use gloves when picking or go slowly and pick without gloves as the sting acid is said to be an amazing remedy for painful joints caused by arthritis. Researchers have shown beneficial results using fresh nettle stings for knee and thumb pain.
Drying removes the stinging of the leaves. Another quick way for getting rid of the stinging is by pouring hot water on top of them before cooking. My favourite recipe is spring nettle-risotto with walnuts. Simply simmer risotto rice for the cooking time of the risotto, add as much nettle you as you can forage. Add some olive oil, black pepper, sea salt and a handful of walnuts 5-10 minutes before the end. Even easier one is just to cook some nettle leaves with some garlic and olive oil as spinach and use as a side or main dish: your liver will thank you big times.
The DutchHealthStore has in its product array the essential oil of nettle, made by LivingLibations. A lot of other products contain this powerful plant too:
1) “Alchemy of herbs” from Rosalee de la Foret
2) “The gift of Healing Herbs” from Robin Rose Bennett