Stinging Nettle, A Highly Valued Tonic

The Stinging Nettle plant (Urtica dioica) is one that has a way of dramatically getting our attention. This unassuming green herb has a tendency to reach out and grab ya when you’re not looking! That was my first introduction to Stinging Nettle as I walked through a waist tall patch in a pair of shorts one late spring. My herbal teacher calmly informed me that Nettle had introduced herself to me. Boy did she ever! And she’s been a treasured friend and ally ever since.

Historically Nettle was highly valued in Native American culture for many things such as a its robust vitamin and mineral content, most especially for women. Nettle was taken during pregnancy to strengthen the growing child and increase the nutritional content of breastmilk. Valued as a topical remedy for the relief from arthritic pain, and as a hair rinse to keep hair shiny and healthy.

Nettle is an important tonic for the adrenals and is an important friend to the overstressed, overworked, and those lacking in good nutrition. Nettle is strengthening to the urinary system aiding in reducing water retention and aiding in the passage of kidney stones and crystals. An aid to the respiratory system, Nettle helps our bodies to heal from bronchitis, coughs, colds, and the dreaded seasonal allergies. With the warming temperatures and recent high pollen counts, many people are already experiencing “Spring Allergies”! One of my favorite answers to this dilemma is Stinging Nettle infusions. A simple cup or two a day can help to ease the sneezing and discomfort brought on by sinus distress. In addition, Stinging Nettle is SO high in vitamins and minerals, including Iron, Potassium, Manganese, and vitamins A & C it’s a great herb for anyone to make a regular part of their health regime!

To use Stinging Nettle either cook the plant as a potherb or dry it by hanging the plant in a dark, dry, airy place. Once dried the stems and leaves will lose their characteristic “sting” and can be made into herbal infusions or teas.

This is just some of the Magic that is Nettle.

To learn more about the healing plants growing all around us, sign up for the Green Girl newsletter or take an upcoming herbalism class with the Green Girl.

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