Sunday, June 8, 2014

Nettles - Today's favorite herb

      My favorite herb changes almost daily.  There are too many to pick just one but today it is nettle (Uritca dioica). For weeks now she has been my companion and I am breathing easier because of it. She is known as stinging nettle and she is a fierce ally. She offers herself for nutrition, medicine and beauty. I was gifted several plants this spring and am hoping they form a nettles patch so I can experience her gifts more frequently.
     In the spring her young shoots can be cut and eaten as a vegetable.  The greens are great in soup or made into a pesto.  They are high in vitamins, minerals and protein.  Nature's multi-vitamin as I sometimes call her.  She can restore overall energy and vitality because of this.
     Her leaf and seeds is an excellent tonic to the kidneys.  She increases urine production and the elimination of metabolic waste and uric acid.
     Her leaf is safe for pregnant and nursing mothers. She stimulates milk production.  Her astringent and nutritive qualities are helpful for women with heavy menstrual flow or who feel tired, lethargic and stressed.
     Nettle tea can be used as a hair rinse for humans and dogs.  It is helpful for dogs that have red, irritated hot spots.  For your own hair nettle leaf tea or vinegar can improve hair color and texture and remove dandruff. It can be used as a rinse for healing sunburns and insect bites. Nettle leaf tea taken orally can be useful in chronic skin problems such as eczema, boils, abscesses and hives.
     Research by the US, Germany and Japan have all found that nettle root has value as a medicine for benign prostate hypertrophy (enlargement).
    And all of these things are wonderful but what really excites me is that I was able to spend a weekend at my girlfriend's farm without so much as a sniffle.  I have spent years with her at the barn - tissue in one hand, eyes red and watery, stuffy and unable to breath.  I'm not sure if it is the horses, the hay, the dust or a combination but it does a number on me.  Not this time.  I didn't stand at the barn doors in the refreshing wind that keeps the sneezing at bay.  No, this time I was able to spend time in the barn.  And for that I must credit Nettle.
     In the winter months I switched from coffee to Tulsi and as spring approached a little voice said add nettles to your morning brew.  I have finally started listening to that voice.  Nettle is a great spring tonic after all.  She reawakens the life force that has hibernated all winter.  And that she did.  But, what I had forgotten is her aid in treating allergies including hay fever, especially when started a month before allergy season.
     Nettle is considered safe to add to most diets.  Those taking insulin, anticoagulants, antihypertensive or diuretic medications should consult their health care provider as they could potentiate their action.

1 comment:

  1. Gotta love the nettle!

    Mine is flowering and seeding now. I plan to harvest some seed for tincture-making ~ just as soon as it dried up a bit!


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