Updated: May 15, 2020
What is Stinging Nettle?
Stinging nettle is a perennial that spreads by rhizome and seed. It is an infamous native of the Pacific Northwest. It gets its name from the myriad of spines that cover foliage and stems. These small hollow spines pierce human skin and inject small amounts of formic acid. Always use gloves to harvest, they are so prickly!
Did you know that stinging nettles are a nutrient dense superfood and a perfect remedy for allergy sufferers during hay fever season? Nettle causes a histamine blocking response thanks to high levels of quercetin, which reduces stagnation and inflammation in the body, and this is profound against allergies of all sorts.
Nettles can also help with joint problems such as arthritis, strengthen the immune system, and eradicate skin issues like acne or eczema.
- Contain minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. Can help rebuild bones, ligaments and tendons.
- Rich in fatty acids like linoleic acid, linolenic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and oleic acid.
- building blocks for proteins which are the essential amino acids
- Contain polyphenols like kaempferol, quercetin, caffeic acid, coumarins and other flavonoids.(Polyphenols are plant-based micro nutrients that have wide ranging health benefits).
- Nettles are rich in pigments like beta-carotene, lutein, luteoxanthin and other carotenoids. (Many of these nutrients provide much needed antioxidant activity inside your body).
- Helpful for nail and hair growth.
- High levels of Quercetin -assists in allergic reactions
HOW TO USE NETTLE
I like to dry and make a fine powder to throw in smoothies, make tea, make a salt blend etc.
I prefer to use nettle tincture to rebuild tendons, joints, ligaments.
To use in food: You can combine with basil to make pesto or mix with spinach to make spanokopita.
Nettle can be also be used in soups, stews, and pasta.
WHERE TO FIND NETTLE
Nettles will begin popping up in early spring, and can be found all across North America. Its proper habitat is in sunny places where there is rich, moist soil. You'll find them growing along rivers, streams, lakes, ditches, fencerows, and on the edges of cultivated farm fields
HOW TO HARVEST NETTLES
Yes stinging nettle does sting, The stinging hairs contain histamines & formic acid causing a sting. But even this is a kind of blood increasing therapy called urtication which is perhaps the origin of the art of acupuncture.
So use thick gardening gloves or rubber gloves.
Simply pick the leaves off the plant and place into a container. It’s best to choose a patch of nettles away from roadsides. Pick the top fresh leaves. Best time to harvest is in the spring before the nettles flower and they turn woody. Pick the young green leaves and tips.
Have you tried this valuable medicinal herb? How to you use Nettle?