Nettle or Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica
aerial parts, roots, and seeds
chlorophyll, indoles-histamine and serotonin, acetylcholine-flavonal glycosides, quercetin, tannins, vitamin C, protein, fiber, iron, silica, calcium, potassium, manganese, sulphur, vitamins A, formic acid in the hairs causes the stinging sensation
astringent, diuretic, tonic, hypotensive, nutritive, hypoglycemic, galactagogue, styptic
Fresh nettle has hairs that sting and cause a painful rash and welts upon contact with the skin. You can avoid the sting by harvesting carefully with gloves and drying the herb. Nettles can also be cooked similar to spinach to remove the sting. This herb may possibly reduce effectiveness of anticoagulants.
Nettle is a nutritive herb used as a tonic and blood builder. It is useful in anemia, as well as being strengthening and detoxifying. It’s high vitamin C content makes it useful in scurvy and allergies. Many herbalists use nettles during and prior to allergy season to help lower hay fever symptoms. It is commonly used in freeze dried form for that purpose. It is also beneficial for gout, eczema, hemorrhage relief, excess menstruation, lowering blood sugar, and asthma.
Topically the plant has been used for flagellation to sting the joints in arthritis, causing a relief of pain once the inflammation subsides. A strong infusion can be made to use topically to stimulate hair growth, control dandruff, condition, and darken hair.
Root: Though not as commonly used as the aerial portions the root is beneficial in the treatment of early benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It reduces urine flow and frequency, and lowers residual urine volume.
Seed: The least commonly used portion of the plant, the seed is said to be protective and restorative to the kidneys.
Usual Preparation and Dosage:
Nettle is such a rich and nourishing nutrient herb making it an food. When dried it can be made into a strong infusion and taken instead of synthetic vitamins.
Tincture: 2.5-5 ml 1:5 (40%) 3 times a day.
Infusion: 1-3 teaspoons in 1 cup water (steep 10-15 minutes) 3 times a day.
BHC (British Herbal Compendium) recommends 5-10 ml fresh juice 3 times a day.
BHP (British Herbal Pharmacopoeia recommends 2-4 g dried herb 3 times a day.
German Commission E recommends 8-12 g of herb or 4-6 g of root a day.
Carefully Harvesting Nettle:
Nettle is an herb of the Bible and has most likely been harvested since biblical times. It was used as food, medicine, and to make cloth and paper. The biblical nettle is a similar plant identified as Urtica Pilulifera.
Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) is the common nettle used in herbalism. This plant grows throughout the United States and usually comes up in the same spot each year. It can be found near rivers, trails, and woodlands. Stinging nettle has a ribbed hollow stem and grows to be 2-4 ft high. The leaves are opposite, dark green 1-2 inches in length and have a rough texture and teeth along the edge. It is a long heart shaped leaf with a pointed tip.
Remember to wear thick gloves and long sleeves when gathering to prevent stinging. You can cook the leaves and young stems steamed or in recipes like lasagna. It can also be dried in a dehydrator or the sun depending on the climate where you live. Dry until the stems snap.
Iron Tonic Wine
This recipe is adapted from Vintage Amanda’s Wild Weeds Iron Tonic. I can not even describe how absolutely delicious this iron tonic is, so you are just going to have to make it for yourself and find out.
1/2-1 cup dried nettle leaves
1/2 cup dried un-sulfured apricots, chopped
Dried or fresh peel of 1 medium orange (zest), chopped
1 bottle sweet red wine
Put the nettles, apricots, and orange zest in a quart jar. Pour wine over it covering the herbs completely. Seal tightly with a lid and label your creation. Allow to sit for 2 weeks. Strain, completely squeezing the herbs through a cloth or press and place in a pretty jar with a label.