The stinging nettle Urtica dioica plant grows plentifully in wide patches during the springtime, mostly in undeveloped wild areas. Not only does it have a variety of medicinal uses, it can also be eaten as a food.
Stinging nettle displays a unique set of heart-shaped, dark green leaves coated with tiny stinging hairs on the stems and underneath the leaves. During the middle of summer, some nettle plants can grow up to six feet tall.
Found in big clusters, they can be seen dancing in the breeze on windy days, giving the appearance of “waving.”
Leaves of the nettle plant are quite large at the base and reduce in size, as they get closer to the top. Learning to recognize the leaves will prevent painful stings that can occur to hands when accidentally touched – pain that can last over an hour.
If You Are Stung
Depending on the amount and length of contact with the plant most individuals will experience moderate to severe pain if stung by a nettle.
Often found growing near a cluster of nettles, Yellow dock can provide instant relief from the burning sensation of a nettle sting. Gather and crush a handful of Yellow dock leaves and rub them directly on the area that was stung.
How to Take
Dark green nettle leaves taste similar to milk; for children, drinking nettle provides a vitamin and mineral packed alternative to sugary juices and processed milk.
Drinking nettle tea daily can help nursing mothers maintain lactation.
Seeds and leaves of fresh nettle can be used to make tinctures and medicinal oils.
Use for culinary purposes; pick new, fresh tops of the herb during spring, and steam as you would fresh spinach.
After harvesting and drying the plant leaves, careful not to get stung, hang them in dry and dark place, like a small shed.
Medicinal uses of the nettle herb include:
- Reducing inflammation due to allergic reactions
- Arthritis pain
- Uterine problems
- Pregnancy and lactation tonic
- Seasonal allergy symptoms
Components of nettle also have direct effects on certain conditions:
- Consumed in tea form for several weeks, the high iron, Vitamin C and chlorophyll provides a natural treatment for Anemia.
- Nettle nourishes the whole body, especially the kidneys and adrenal glands.
- The rich mineral and chlorophyll composition of nettle is beneficial to the hormonal system.
- Root extracts of nettle activate the manufacturing of T-cells, which assist in regulating the immune system as well as decrease symptoms of season allergies such as itchy, watery eyes and sinus congestion.
Stinging nettle has a variety of medicinal applications, culinary uses and, because of its pleasant taste, can provide adults and children with a nutritious drink.