They are probably one of my favorite herbs growing wild all over our farm.
Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) is often times considered an irritating wild growing perennial “weed”. However, this herb is a vitamin-rich food source that has been used for 100’s of years for natural remedies and used to aid in various medical conditions.
We use gloves when harvesting our nettles, and sometimes even with gloves we still get stung a time for two. Slow and steady when harvesting this amazing herb is key.
There are so many herbs given to us for food, and sometimes they are right under our noses, and we have long forgotten their God-giving benefits for our health.
The Nettle Plant
Nettle plants have sharp hairs that cover the entire plant and tiny fuzzy white flowers that break easily when the plant is touched, leaving skin irritation in its path. The sharp hairs contain formic acid, which is responsible for the painful sting. This acid is neutralized by heating, drying, or mashing. Nettles generally grow in the same location every year. Nettles thrive in rich soil, moist woodlands, thickets, disturbed areas, and along partially shaded trails and riversides.
Interesting Fact: If you ever run into a Nettle plant – remember this! Rubbing nettle stings, WITH its own root, also known as Jewelweed, can be used to suppress the itch and burning sensation!
The Edible Parts
The leaves, stems, and roots are all edible! Young leaves are most preferred and resemble a spinach-like taste. No matter how far into the growing season, be sure to remember that until Nettles are dried or cooked, nettle will have those stinging hairs – we do not recommend eating your nettles raw! You’ll find many of our Eden Ridge herbal teas have our wild harvested dried nettles because they are packed full of amazing stuff and aids in natural health.
Benefits of Nettle
Known as an overall nourishing and strengthener to the body. Stinging nettle leaf is chock full of vitamins and minerals most notably magnesium, calcium, iron, and protein that can be easily assimilated (Wood, Matthew 1997 & Weed, Susun 1989).
Nettle Leaf has been used to support healthy function of the kidneys, liver, digestive tract, and overall metabolism. Nettles have also been used to help flush wastes, ridding the body of acid, easing gout, eczema, skin rashes, and removing gravel in kidneys” (Wood, Matthew 1997, p. 483). Nettle has also been used to assist in “nourishing the mucus membranes of the digestive tract” easing constipation and diarrhea (Weed, Susan 1989, p. 174). Nettle is a nourishing herb, helping the entire body while increasing overall health. According to herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, “nettle is one of the highest sources of digestible iron in plant form” (1993, p. 29).
Nettle Leaf is an Astringent: used to tighten mucous membranes and capillaries in the body that are lax. Helps in situations where there is ample discharge such as with seasonal allergies, diarrhea, heavy menstrual bleeding, and recurrent nosebleeds.
Nettle is a woman’s best friend: Often recommended for menstrual issues such as PMS, excessive bleeding, anemia, fatigue, night sweats, and edema (Gladstar, Rosmary 1993; Weed, Susan 1989). It has been used to relieve fatigue caused by iron deficiency anemia (Wood, Susan 1997; Gladstar, Rosmary 1993). High amounts of iron in nettle can help to replenish iron stores and the astringent action assists in curbing excess menstrual bleeding.
Also enjoyed during pregnancy helps to provide nourishment to mother and baby while assisting in preventing fatigue (Gladstar, Rosmary 1993). Containing high amounts of vitamin K, which is important for proper blood clotting, may help to prevent hemorrhage during childbirth (Weed, Susun 1989). Drinking nettle as a tea also has been known to help enrich and increase breast milk!
Excellent source of:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K
REFERENCES: Gladstar, Rosemary. (1993). Herbal Healing for Women New York, NY: Fireside. Weed, Susun. (1989). Healing Wise Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Publishing. Wood, Matthew. (1997). The Book of Herbal Wisdom Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
IMPORTANT NOTE: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications. This is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.