Spring Cleaning: Nettles

Grip the nettle firmly and it will become a stick with which to beat your enemy.

Isaac Asimov

The new medicines I’m on cause me to puff up like a manatee with water and it’s totally uncomfortable. I was sitting here minding my own business, when my legs started hurting from all the extra fluid that they didn’t want, need or ask for.

Pffffffff…it’s like being a water balloon.

I’m stuck in the hospital, away from my herbal workshop and apothecary. What can I do about this really irritating problem? I thought drinking more water would help, though a good idea always, this just compounded the problem.

Luckily, I’m allowed out for a couple of hours every day. This way I can go to the town and get supplies. So, I immediately headed to the local tea shop and bought a bag of stinging nettle.

Stinging Nettle has powerful diuretic properties, it really helps to draw excess fluid from tissues. I drank three cups of it the first day and two the next. I think it was overkill due to desperation as I was sooooo thirsty afterward, but it helped a ton!

I have given nettles to clients who need to detox their liver, who need an energy boost, need added minerals and nutrients, have blood issues, UTI issues and water retention.

When the nettle is young, the leaves make excellent greens; when it grows old it has filaments and fibers like hemp and flax. Cloth made from the nettle is as good as that made from hemp. Chopped up, the nettle is good for poultry; pounded, it is good for horned cattle. The seed of the nettle mixed with the fodder of animals gives a luster to their skin; the root, mixed with salt, produces a beautiful yellow dye. It makes, however, excellent hay, as it can be cut twice in a season. And what does the nettle need? very little soil, no care, no culture; except that the seeds fall as fast as they ripen, and it is difficult to gather them; that is all. If we would take a little pains, the nettle would be useful; we neglect it, and it becomes harmful. Then we kill it. How much men are like the nettle! My friends, remember this, that there are no weeds, and no worthless men, there are only bad farmers.

― Victor Hugo

Introducing Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle

Latin Name: Urtica dioica

Pharmacopeial Name: Urticae herba, stinging nettle herb; Urticae folium, stinging nettle leaf

Other Names: common nettle or great stinging nettle

Botany: Nettle is a common perennial herb to 8 feet found on moist forest edges, meadows and disturbed sites with rich soil. Hollow hairs on the leaves and stems inject folic acid into the skin. Both male and female flowers appear on a single plant.

Parts Used: All aerial parts, seeds, root

Collecting: Collect in early to late spring in areas with snow. Collect beginning in late Winter in temperate climates. Harvest with gloves or with your bare hand and a firm grip.


Stinging Nettle Monograph

Medicinal Actions of Stinging Nettles

Leaf tea brewed to treat anemia, gout, rheumatism, enlarged spleen, internal bleeding, diarrhea, and dysentery. Leaves have diuretic qualities. Folk medicine states an occasional sting alleviates arthritis.

Stinging Nettle affects the white blood cells and aids in coagulation and formation of hemoglobin. Leaves are iron rich.

Studies suggest stinging nettle decreases the effects of adrenaline.

Germany recently approved the use of roots for prostate cancer, rheumatism, and kidney infection. Russia approved use of leaves in alcohol as treatment for cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder) and hepatitis. 


Nettles to the Rescue

Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica) are in their first growth right now (their second growth is in early fall). Catch them before their catkin-like flowers start to dangle. I harvest the top 10-15 cm of the plant and dry them in batches in my dehydrator. I absolutely love them fresh as well. Normally (who remembers normal?), during this change in season and the stress of last term of school, we make nettle tea each evening in order to have a strong brew ready in the morning. I fill our two large French presses 1/2 full of fresh nettles (or 1/3 full of dried), cover them with water that has just boiled and leave them overnight. In the morning, I press them and pour them into glass bottles to be drunk throughout the day. A great tonic, energizer, full of minerals and nutrients and an overall detoxifier!

Pick the nettles before their catkin-like flowers start to dangle.

Stinging Nettle Video

Nettle Juice and Nettle Tea Video

Spring Cleaning Detox Tea

The Detox Tea is an amazing support for the body’s natural toxin-clearing systems. Supporting over ten systems within the body, it is powerful and should be titrated up according to your body’s reaction. It is drying, so be mindful of your own energetic constitution. Many of my clients use it to boost liver function, clear acne, improve the immune system’s functionality and relieve sluggishness.

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