Stinging Nettle (Urtica Dioica)
Many of you may have already met her without a formal introduction.  Have you ever felt like you were stung while walking off path down on the canal or in the woods?  That was probably her saying hello.    She has many hollow stinging hairs on her leaves and stem that when brought in contact with the skin will inject histamines, causing a stinging or burning sensation.  The sensation will come and go over several hours.  I would describe it as the feeling you have if you touch a small cactus and have some of those tiny hairs stuck in your skin.  You may even get small welts that disappear quickly. 

I was first introduced to her in the backyard of an herbalist 4 years ago.  After hearing about the sting and being told to always wear gloves when working with her, I decided to keep my distance!  It wasn’t until 2 years later that I became curious again – allowing myself to be stung, transplanting a few in my yard to start my own nettle patch, and sautéing a large bunch of the leaves with sesame oil and garlic for dinner.  And boy am I glad I did!!

Nettle is an all over body tonic.  She has a long history of medicinal uses and is one of the most valuable herbal remedy.  Here are some of her main healing qualities:

  • Unlike caffeine which provides a short burst of activity, nettle slowly builds long term energy – combating anemia and fatigue
  • Strengthens the adrenals, thereby reducing anxiety
  • A complete tonic to restore healthy functioning of the kidneys
  • Nettle’s iron helps to restores youthful flexibility to blood vessels and is an excellent blood builder
  • Helps prevent or possibly even reverse osteoporosis.  A cup of nettle infusion contains 500 milligrams of calcium plus generous amounts of bone-building magnesium, potassium, silicon, boron, and zinc
  • Excellent source of vitamins A, D, E, and K
  • Her histamines actually act as an anti-histamine in the body, helping to  alleviate seasonal allergies and reduce inflammation in the body
  •  In some studies it has been shown to help as an aid in weight loss
  • Nettle leaf is effective at reducing symptoms of the digestive tract ranging from acid reflux, excess gas, nausea, colitis and Celiac disease
  •  For flexible bones, a healthy heart, thick hair, beautiful skin, and lots of energy, make friends with stinging nettle.

Here is what one webs site has to say:
It may be a brash statement to say that one prickly green herb is the panacea for almost everything that ails you; but, in the case of stinging nettles, it's mostly true. If there's one plant to have on hand at all times that provides a cure for arthritis, an herbal treatment for allergies, relieves hair loss, treats Celiac disease, bleeding, bladder infections, skin complaints, neurological disorders and a long list of other conditions -- it's nettle leaf.

So what does she taste like?
Earthy.   When I first started drinking her infusion I was a little challenged to drink  a full ½ quart in  a day.  But I gave it time and now I crave her.   You can just feel health seeping in with each swig.  The taste is toward that of a darker green tea.

How often should I drink it? 
That is really a personal decision.  I drink 2 quarts a week.  I make a quart and drink over two days, then drink 2 days of another herb, and then back to two days of stinging nettle.

Do I drink it cold or room temperature? 
It tastes best to me over ice.  If you don’t find the taste appealing at first, you can add a little salt or lemon or milk.  I drink my plain over a lot of ice.    I use my water bottle so she can just go with me!

And if you have some left over after two days, she is even a wonderful hair rinse!

Glad to have my relationship with Stinging Nettles,