Stinging nettle, Urtica dioica, or as my mom calls them “brennnessel” in German. In Germany after WWII her family was severely malnourished as there was not much food available, their bodies covered with open sores and they had lost most of their hair. My Oma would send my mom and her siblings out along the field ways with big baskets to pick the nettle. She recalls how much they hated picking them because all they had were knives and scissors,no gloves to protect their hands from the sting. My Oma would cook them like spinach and they swore it returned them to health, and to this day my mother still makes them in a delicious cream sauce and I can feel the nourishing, restorative energy almost immediately.
One of the first to appear in my garden the nettles start to emerge in late February or early March, it seems as soon as a bit of warmth hits them they are ready to go to work, wasting no time. This year after peeking out they were buried under about 12 inches of snow, as soon as it thawed they were still there, unnerved by it all. They show me their strength and offer me their resiliency.
Nettle is an extremely nutritive herb and steamed they provide daily amounts of vitamins and minerals that include iron, calcium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and more! It has the ability to restore depleted adrenals and bring more energy to the body. Making a strong nettle tea infusion is another way of getting the nutrition it has to offer but you may have to drink often and daily, which is not a problem for me, it has a mild peppery flavor that tastes delicious as a tea. Often I mix it with other herbs depending on my needs and you will find it in many of my herbal blends and is always available here at the studio.
Nettles are a beloved herb used almost universally by all herbalists for its ability to support the whole body. Herbalist David Hoffmann states that “nettle is one of the most widely applicable plants in the material medica, the herb strengthens and supports the whole body. Throughout Europe, nettle is used as a Spring tonic and general detoxifying remedy”
Nettles can be easily grown in your garden but you may want to keep them in an area where you don’t have to worry about brushing up against them as they will let you know they are there! The sting will cause a rash which will not last too long. If you have plantain leaves in the yard rubbing them on the sting will make it better. Mine are actually right in the middle of everything and I brush against them often, I’ve actually gotten quite used to the sting and it doesn’t bother me much anymore. There is actually an old technique called urtication where arthritic joints are lashed with nettle to increase mobility!
All over the world there are herbs that have the ability to support and strengthen the body, and some so widely sought after that we often overlook what is growing in our own back yards. Take the time to get to know and love nettle, you will be glad you did!
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.