Organic Emily

Medicinal Herb – Nettles

nettles nettles 2

Medicinal Herb Post #7 written June 6, 2018

Nettle – Urtica dioica, U. urens

Nettles are a wonderful herb when they aren’t stinging you with the little hairs on their stems and leaves containing formic acid, the same chemical found in bee stings and ant bites. Just wear gloves when harvesting and you’ll be fine. Once the plant is cooked, dried or smashed, the acid is destroyed and no sting occurs. Nettles are a perennial and grow wild all over Utah. They really likes water and dappled sunlight. You can just about always find it along the bank of a creek or river in the mountains. If you want to grow your own just mimic those conditions in a place where you’re not going to accidentally brush up against them. Pick the young green tops before they go to seed in the spring. The seeds are a known adaptogen and kidney restorative. The root is used for clearing congestion in the prostate gland for men.

Nettles have so many health benefits, the leaves are deeply nourishing. They are high in minerals and bio-available iron. It can be used as a tonic for 2-3 months to increase iron and other mineral levels in the body. It is a safe herb to take long term. They can help with anemia, exhaustion, and menstrual difficulties. It is suggested to be used for 1 month before allergy season. Nettles strengthens the cell walls, builds blood and energy. When a person is exposed to pathogens from the environment they are less likely to have histamine reactions. It also has anti-histamine properties and are supportive to the liver resulting in clearing skin issues, allergies/hay fever, and rheumatism (people still flog arthritic joints with fresh nettles to relieve pain, a practice they used in Rome hundreds of years ago). The roots have been known to support and protect the prostate gland, specifically in cases of hyperplasia. And the seeds have an excellent effect on chronically weak or damaged kidneys.

I love using it as a multi vitamin supplement along with yellow dock, alfalfa (omit if there is a sensitivity), burdock and dandelion. 1-2 tsp 2x a day.

It’s also fabulous for pregnancy and could be taken with raspberry leaf, spearmint, rose petals, lemon balm(avoid with hypothyroid issues) and milky oats tops.1-2 tsp 2x a day.

I just found a creamy potato nettle soup recipe I might try…
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion chopped
4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 quarts veg or chicken broth
2-3 handfuls of fresh nettle leaves chopped(can be wilted)
Grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and pepper to taste.
Saute onions with the oil in a large Dutch oven pot. Add the potatoes and broth. Simmer until potatoes are soft. Add the nettles. Turn off heat and let the nettles steam for 15-20 minutes. Puree the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender. Add cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

If you get stung by nettle crush the leaves of either plantain, yellow dock or chickweed to help soothe the sting.  Nettle should not be used in people with hemochromatosis.

Emily Saddler

Emily is first a wife to her best friend Ryan, homeschool mom of 7 awesome kids, Holistic Health Practitioner in the state of Utah and Traditional Naturopath outside of the state of Utah, master gardener, yoga/pilates instructor, certified clinical and master herbalist, licensed massage therapist, and doula. She is a very passionate advocate of all things Mother Nature! Emily maintains a blog called “The Organic Farm Girl” where she shares gardening advice, delicious recipes made with fresh, organic ingredients, herbal and natural home care product recipes and loves teaching classes on gardening, plant identification and herbal remedy workshops. Check out the events and classes page for more info.

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